Habitat Enhancement in Benefit of the Quino Checkerspot Butterfly at Camp Michael Monsoor
To enhance suitable Quino checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha quino) habitat on selected enhancement areas through vegetation management and augmentation according to the methods outlined in the Camp Michael Monsoor (CMM) 2007 Biological Opinion and the 2011 Quino Checkerspot Butterfly Enhancement Plan.
The Quino checkerspot butterfly habitat was enhanced by removing weeds, thatch, and patches of chamise as well as installing mountain California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum) seedlings propagated from seed collected on, sowing of buckwheat seed, and seeding of Quino checkerspot butterfly host species (Chinese houses [Collinsia heterophylla] and Coulter’s snapdragon [Sairocarpus coulterianus]), also collected on CMM. Seed was collected in 2015–2016 and was broadcast and pressed into the soil in open areas.
Weed establishment was monitored regularly, and invasive weeds were treated on an as-needed basis. Treatments occurred primarily during winter and spring months. The cover of dense chamise chaparral habitat in certain areas was reduced by removing chamise individuals from dense areas to create open areas ranging from 24.5 to 100 square feet.
According to buckwheat survivorship surveys conducted in October 2017, the site had 769 live buckwheat individuals, which exceeded the project’s success criteria of survival of at least 210 buckwheat plants. Weed control and chamise removal efforts greatly enhanced the capacity of buckwheat to colonize the relatively open areas of Camp Michael Monsoor to enhance and benefit Quino checkerspot butterfly habitat.