For three days in early June, 93 volunteers and agency and organization representatives fanned out across eastern Nevada’s 704,000-acre monument to observe and record the plants, small mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians using the iNaturalist application. So far, 1,728 observations and 406 species have been recorded.
The monument’s first BioBlitz was a collaboration between the Bureau of Land Management and other federal and state agencies, educational and scientific institutions, and non-profit organizations.
One partner agency, the U.S. Geological Survey is creating habitat models for several wildlife species identified in the proclamation through an Interagency Agreement with BLM.
“We’re in partnership with the BLM to map the distribution of reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals – sagebrush and side-blotched lizards, for example – to determine where each lives. Knowing the distribution of individual species helps managers make more informed decisions based on the best available science,” said Todd Esque, USGS Desert Research Ecologist.
Other partners were the National Park Service, Nevada Department of Wildlife, Nevada Division of Natural Heritage, University of Nevada, Reno; Desert Research Institute, Southern Nevada Water Authority, Great Basin Institute, Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition, Conservation Lands Foundation, and Friends of Basin and Range.
“Future planning actions within the Basin and Range National Monument will benefit from data collected in last month’s plant and animal BioBlitz,” Monument Manager Alicia Styles said. “It will help to focus inventory and monitoring efforts, refine habitat models, and ensure proper care and management of plant and animal species listed in the 2015 proclamation.”