Greetings from Needles, Ca—The Heart of the Mojave! (At least, that’s what all the signs say.)
My main project for the next five months is monitoring rare and sensitive plant species throughout the 3.2 million acres of desert within the NFO. The idea is to identify areas where endangered species (or species that are rare in California but common elsewhere) are present so they can be protected. This mainly involves identifying favorable habitats, scouting for current populations, adding GIS plot points when a positive ID is made, and some pretty epic views.
A few of the rare California species we’ve found so far include hairy blazingstar (Mentzelia hirsutissima), Coves’s cassia (Senna cassia), and saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea).
Sometimes we get the opportunity to assist others with their projects. Earlier this week, we met up with some Northwestern University/Chicago Botanical Gardens graduate students near Prim, NV where they were searching for Walker’s sun cup (Chylismia walkeri tortilis), a member of the Onagraceae family and…
We found it!
It was a lot of fun to meet up with other members of the Chicago Botanic Garden clan! I’m looking forward to more collections and collaborations in the coming field season.
Needles BLM Field Office