JBLM Lark Monitoring Final Report 2015

The majority of Streaked Horned Larks remaining in South Puget Sound occur at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), making the tracking and enhancement of this important population and the improvement of habitat at occupied and unoccupied sites critical to its persistence in the region. Previous modeling indicated larks may be declining by up to 40% per year and that actions to increase all three vital rates (fecundity, adult and juvenile survival) are necessary to stabilize the population (Camfield et al. 2011). Since 2011, The Center for Natural Lands Management (CNLM) has partnered with JBLM to assist in lark conservation. In 2015, we continued several actions to support Streaked Horned Lark populations including occupied site monitoring (abundance and nest monitoring), communication with site managers, population enhancement (genetic rescue), habitat management, and research to understand juvenile and adult survivorship.

The goal of our work is to conduct conservation actions on JBLM aimed at stabilizing or reversing the observed decline in Streaked Horned Lark populations. We conducted work at five occupied sites on JBLM in the Puget Lowlands of Washington State. The objectives of our work were seven-fold:
1) Contribute data to assist Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in estimating abundance and trends through time at five occupied sites (13th Division Prairie, Gray Army Airfield, McChord Airfield, Range 76 and Range 50);
2) Conduct occupancy surveys at several sites that support potentially suitable lark habitat but where lark status is unknown (Close-In Training Area F, McChord Airfield South, Range 57, Johnson Prairie, Weir Prairie, and Training Areas 6, 13, 14, and 15);
3) Collect spatial information to better understand adult lark home range;
4) Collect information on breeding status and reproduction at three sites (13th Division Prairie, Gray Army Airfield,
McChord Airfield);
5) Continue to implement and monitor results of the genetic rescue study;
6) Continue research to understand survivorship at multiple life stages;
7) Implement habitat enhancement activities to improve lark foraging and nesting habitat.