Evaluation of the Need for Genetic Enhancement of Puget Lowland Streaked Horned Lark Populations

Puget Lowland populations of streaked horned lark appear to be negatively affected by inbreeding depression which has resulted in reduced fecundity and is contributing to an overall and rapid population decline. Of particular concern is the very low hatchability of streaked horned lark eggs which is likely caused by inbreeding. The potential for the 13th Division Prairie (one of only two native prairie populations) to blink out seems likely given what we know about population demographics. An effort to augment or enhance genetic diversity on the 13th Division Prairie seems to be a prudent and urgent action to prevent extirpation due to inbreeding depression.