Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Gunnison Basin Bioblitz!

by Hannah Bower, CNHP intern

Only those dedicated to the conservation of the rare skiff milkvetch (Astragalus microcymbus) would spend many warm windy hours hunkering over the prickly cacti and sagebrush of the Gunnison Basin to find just one individual.

Astragulus microcymbus (skiff milkvetch)

From June 4th through June 6th, ten to twelve eager explorers set out on a time-intensive BioBlitz (led by Bernadette Kuhn, botanist at CNHP) in hopes to track down more of this rare species of milkvetch. Since many of the plants were only a few centimeters tall, the search was a difficult task and some botanists came out unlucky. However, no search is for naught, and by the end of the excursion, around 115 Astragalus microcymbus individuals were identified and many new areas were explored for this field season’s search on the skiff milkvetch.

Searching, searching, searching!
Russ Japuntich (BLM), Gay Austin (BLM) and Hannah Bower  (CNHP intern)

Skiff milkvetch is a Candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act. It is threatened by habitat fragmentation and degradation. The monitoring and surveys performed by the Bioblitz team will help us better understand the geographic extent, population numbers, and population trends of skiff milkvetch.

Just another day on the job...

Astragulus microcymbus thanks you all for your support in its species’ protection!

A big thanks to the BioBlitz trip members:
Bernadette Kuhn (CNHP Botanist)
Peggy Lyon (CNHP Botanist)
Hunter Gleason(CNHP and Mountain Studies Institute Intern)
Gay Austin (BLM Natural Resources Specialist)
Russ Japuntich (BLM Wildlife Biologist)
Gina Glenne (USFWS Botanist)
Alicia Langton (USFWS Term Botanist)
Mary Price (RMBL)
Larry Allison (volunteer)
Lynn Lewis (volunteer)
Michelle DePrenger-Levin (DBG Research Associate)
Emily Wilson (DBG intern)
Nick Waser (RMBL)