Whited’s milk-vetch (Astragalus sinuatus) is endemic to the Wenatchee area. There are only eight known populations, scattered across two drainages. In 2013, Rare Care started working with the Bureau of Land management to install permanent transects at one of the largest populations. Data were collected on the number and life stage of plants in the transects, and these measurements will be repeated over the course of many years to establish long-term trends for this species. This will enable us to evaluate mortality and recruitment in response to disturbances such as wildfire and encroachment by invasive species.Since we use a methodology developed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources at the other large population of this species, we can compare data from both sites to track the overall health of the species and to identify species-wide responses to changes in climatic conditions.
Rare Care also initiated an effort in 2013 to conduct experimental outplantings of A. sinuatus. The experimental outplantings serve two objectives: 1) to restore the A. sinuatus population to an area where plants were destroyed by pipeline construction in 2008, and 2) to develop outplanting protocols for the species. Rare Care collected seed from plants in the pipeline right-of-way in 2007 to provide material for ex situ conservation and to allow for future planting in the construction area. An initial outplanting of 100 plants occurred in mid-March 2014, with additional trials planned for the fall of 2014. Survivorship will be monitored several times in the first year and yearly thereafter to evaluate treatments and methods.
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