Vertebrate Inventory, MCAGCC Twentynine Palms

To expand on a baseline wildlife diversity study conducted in 1999 and complete the 2007-2011 Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan year specific projects, museum biologists surveyed for small mammals and reptiles across 20 undeveloped Range Training Areas (RTAs), representing nearly the entire 600,000-acre Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC).

Over a two-year study period, the biologists used standardized live trapping, remote detection, and visual encounter surveys to quantify the diversity of small mammals and reptiles within the RTAs; they recorded a total of 23 non-volant mammal, 6 bat, and 23 reptile species.

Diversity measures of species richness, heterogeneity, and evenness were calculated to better understand the distribution and abundance of those species across MCAGCC and evaluate whether ground and/or vegetation disturbance related to operational activities had an effect on diversity.

Based on the study results, the team provided species-specific management recommendations for individual RTAs and MCAGCC as a whole. In a broader context, these results may also serve as a starting point to evaluate long-term trends and gauge changes in diversity both spatially and temporally.