Joint Base Lewis-McChord
The Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) Fish and Wildlife Program has set goals to maintain training mission requirements and also preserve the habitat conditions necessary to support viable self-sustaining populations of flora and fauna. Preserving and restoring healthy ecosystems supports military training by making more training areas available—healthy habitats are resilient and can accommodate or even benefit from occasional disturbance. Of course, preserving and restoring healthy ecosystems benefits native biodiversity. JBLM retains a mosaic of habitats including late-successional forest, wetlands, and rare Puget lowland prairies. This mosaic supports a large number of plants and animals, including several rare, threatened, and endangered species.
JBLM is a vital participant in SPP’s three most successful conservation programs. They are a member of the Oregon spotted frog (OSF) recovery group in partnership with SPP, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Zoo, Woodland Park Zoo and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. From 2008 to 2012 nearly 5000 OSF were raised in captivity; these were released onto JBLM’s wetlands where no known population had previously existed. Field surveys in 2013 revealed many OSF egg masses, proving that reproduction is successfully occurring and the site is capable of sustaining a stable population of this endangered species.
JBLM is also working to protect the federally endangered species Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly. This butterfly was historically abundant throughout the Willamette Valley-Puget Trough-Georgia Basin ecoregion, but has now been reduced to only a few scattered populations throughout its range. Of these populations, most have less than fifty individuals. The only remaining population considered robust enough to serve as a source of animals for captive breeding is on the artillery impact area at JBLM.
A substantial portion of the funding for SPP’s Conservation Nursery programs comes from JBLM, either directly or as a sub-contract through the Army Compatible Use Buffer program and the Center for Natural Lands Management. JBLM employs skilled biologists who have identified and cataloged the flora and fauna on base for decades, and have made vital contributions to the knowledge and practice of ecological restoration in the region.