Rod Gilbert - Cross Base comments - November 7, 2003

Subject: Fw: xbase mitigation?


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? 3.1.5.3 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 immediate vicinity.

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 wetland)

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 water's edge.

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.
 

 

 
 
             
 

one of oak woodlands to be bulldozed- different shot

     

one of oak woodlands to be bulldozed- different shot

 
             
     

black bear

     
             
 

one of oak woodlands to be bulldozed- different shot

     

one of oak woodlands to be bulldozed- different shot

 
             
 
 

Photos courtesy of Rod Gilbert

 

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