The Fort Irwin Expansion Plan Threatens Lane Mountain Milkvetch
RESOURCES THREATENED BY THE FORT IRWIN EXPANSION
- The Lane Mountain Milkvetch (Astragalus jaegerianus) is a highly localized and rare plant that was listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1997.
- The bulk of the entire 13 square-mile range of the Lane Mountain Milkvetch lies within the area of the proposed southwestern expansion of Fort Irwin. (map)
- In 1999 and 2000, only 840 plants were found in 3 locations (yellow areas on map). Over 80% of these plants were located within the expansion area or in adjacent areas already on Fort Irwin.
- Plants occur on granitic soils that are shallow, rocky and coarse sands that often has a whitish-gray color and found on very low ridges on bajadas, so this species is very dependent upon local, specific soil conditions.
- With such a small range and population, the Lane Mountain milkvetch is especially vulnerable to habitat modification and chance extinction. The plant's habitat (low ridges on bajadas) would be severely impacted if used for tank maneuvers, staging or bivouac areas.
- Little is known about its ability to withstand drought, pollination needs, seed production and dispersal mechanisms, seed viability and longevity, seed germination, seedling establishment and survival or key genetic attributes. Without this knowledge, appropriate management prescriptions cannot be developed.
- July 7, 2002: Federal judge orders FWS to designate critical habitat for the endangered Lane Mountain Milkvetch.
- Lane Mountain Milkvetch is a spring flowering perennial in the pea family. It is a slender plant that nearly always grows up through and entangled in low shrubs.