DOD Will Spend $25K on Census of the Spineless

August 27, 2013 - 11:24 AM

Fairy shrimp

Fairy shrimp (USGS)

( --The Department of Defense plans to spend $25,883 to count giant fairy shrimp, butterflies, Argus land snails and other invertebrates at its airborne weapons testing and training facility in China Lake, California, located in the northeast Mojave Desert.

The Naval Facilities Engineering Command is soliciting grant applicants to conduct a survey of  “giant fairy shrimp, butterflies, Argus land snail, Jerusalem cricket, dune cockroach, Darwin Tiemann’s beetle, scarab beetle, and weevils”  on the 1.1 million acre weapons testing site.

The survey will also include a census of endangered plants, including the Lane Mountain milk-vetch ...[that] grows up through other shrubs and may be found in the Superior Valley portion of the Mojave B south test complex.”

“These surveys are necessary to identify Lane Mountain milk-vetch habitat so that it can be protected from impacts due to military activities,” according to the grant’s “scope of work” document. (See China Lake grant.pdf)

Lane Mountain milk vetch

Lane Mountain milk vetch

However, potential grantees are warned that besides their expertise in invertebrate biology and botany, they may be required to get additional training.

“Due to the fact that the installation is an active military range, all personnel requiring Installation access may be required to take an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) training prior to working on the installation…

“Unexploded ordnance may be encountered while conducting fieldwork. The Recipient shall not touch or attempt to pick-up any suspected ordnance. If necessary, the Recipient should flag off and avoid any areas where metal objects are discovered and field work must continue in the area.”

Grantees must also agree to not smoke on the testing range, restrict any photography to the invertebrate/plant census, and use a “hands free’ device while driving and talking on a cell phone on the testing range.

The invertebrate species survey will be conducted “at or adjacent to springs and seeps throughout the North and South Range test complexes,” the grant  notice says, “by direct observation, netting, can trapping, light trapping and other standard methods.”

“Milk-vetch surveys will be confined to the area south of the Eagle Crags Mountains, primarily within the Superior Valley portion of the Mojave B South (South Range) test complex.”

Applications are due Sept. 16th.and the grant award will be announced on Sept. 30th.