Minimizing conflict between airfield operations and lark conservation: a grass conversion demonstration project at Joint Base Lewis-McChord military base

In 2017, CNLM, with funding from USFWS, initiated a grass conversion demonstration project on Joint Base Lewis-McChord airfields. The goal was to replace the tall, exotic pasture grasses with native bunchgrasses at Gray Army and McChord Airfield on two 5-acre experimental plots. The project evaluated the feasibility of converting vegetation and investigate whether grass conversion might lead to reduced BASH risk and less frequent mowing. Overall, there was a decline of exotic grasses and good fescue establishment at MAFB, less so at GAAF. Additionally, at both GAAF and MAFB we observed establishment and growth of two native seeded forbes; Lupines lepidus and Eriophyllum lanatum. Although at neither of the airfields did we achieve our goal of 60% vegetation cover by the seeded species, we consider this demonstration project a qualified success.