Rod Gilbert - Cross Base comments - November 7, 2003
Sorry for the delay in talking points...its been a busy
week. I went back on Wed and snapped a couple more
photos of the oak woodland and ran in to this little guy
about 300m from that small patch of prairie we went to.
Bummer I only had my wide angle as I was only 25m away.
[several photos are at the bottom
of this page - LF]
Ecological talking points would include:
Lake Mondress is a water Howellia (HOAQ) (federally
listed as Threatened) wetland, even though it may not be
there. Was it surveyed? How many times? 188.8.131.52 in the
wetland section says that a small section in the middle
contained Nuphar polsepalum which is an indicator of
HOAQ in these wetlands. Was that surveyed? Same section
says that the only other herbaceous plant was Carex
obnupta. We saw Sium suave on our trip in Nov!! How
accurate were the surveys?? Which wetlands were
surveyed? HOAQ can be very tough find in these wetlands.
We've surveyed some known wetlands for it and not seen
it for years and then one year we will find it again. It
was obviously always there, just never detected.
Mondress is listed as a potential recovery site for the
Fort for HOAQ. Most of the HOAQ in WA occurs at FL. Some
of the most productive wetlands occur within the
Mondress should be ranked as a higher category wetland
(should be Cat. 1) requiring a greater buffer because it
does contain irreplaceable ecological functions. (HOAQ
HOAQ wetlands are extremely sensitive to hydrological
fluctuations as they are not spring fed. Surface water
runoff or / capture and released elsewhere would alter
hydrology of area that will have some impact. HOAQ
wetlands need to slowly dry out through the summer.
Irregular summer precipitation could fill wetlands
preventing HOAQ from germinating (it's an
annual) Too much water in the spring might prevent HOAQ
from establishing. it's a delicate balance. too little
recharge will increase the spread of reed canarygrass.
Too much will kill other native plants growing closet to
The Bentsen series of wetlands (just east of the ammo
supply point) are HOAQ wetlands. Bentsen is one of the
highest quality wetlands on Fort Lewis and has a large
HOAQ population. The road goes through just north of it.
(I'll try and find my photos for the HOAQ wetlands
including Bentsen and post them soon at the same site).
Obviously it is a major wildlife area (esp. around
wetlands) I've seen bear, or evidence many times in the
general area. It's especially good as the military
rarely train throughout the whole distance of the
proposed route. Obviously nor does McChord.
No loss of prairie or prairie soil. Though poor quality
prairie, (except the little patch we saw) it still
maintains functioning habitat for other prairie related
species. It can be restored (with enough money and
resources). Potential reintroducutory site for other
listed or candidate species: white topped aster (Aster
curtus) golden paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta) whulge
checkerspot, valley silverspot, puget blue, mardon
skipper, horned lark, vesper sparrow, western bluebird,
western meadowlark, pocket gopher. TA 7N now represents
the most northern extant of remnant prairie of the 5%
remaining . Everything north is already concrete.
It has cultural and historical value.
Why was there no complete plant species list / appendix?
Obviously no loss of oak woodland / western gray
squirrel habitat. Potential reintroduction location.
Most of the oaks were cut with pioneers and have since
coppiced. Appear to be only 150 years old, but could be
1000 years or more. Breeding bird diversity is higher in
oak woodlands that is surrounding D fir.
Need to protect all oaks due to 'sudden oak death'.
Should consider all "mixed oak / conifer" in the EIS as
oak habitat.....thinning or removing D fir (with
interplanting of oak) would establish a very large and
mature oak woodland in TA 7N. The oak woodlands are high
quality and with mostly native understory.
The area around Spanaway Marsh contains many mature DFir
and is considered potential spotted owl habitat.
There were pocket gopher mounds at the little patch of
prairie we saw.
The habitat on Mchord is just as sweet I'm guessing,
including the large savannah oak woodland that it
bisects, and a couple of mixed oak.
The mitigation sites are poorer quality, adjacent to
residential areas and
everything they can bring (weeds, disturbance, noise,
illegal access). No
net increase in Oakwoodlands...robbing Peter
to give to Paul.
If I think of more reasons this w/e I'll forward them. e
or call if you have questions.