Jan. 27 lecture, Endangered and Rare Species, Ft. Bragg, Camp McCall


On January 27, Save Our Sandhills will host Beth Evans, a Certified Wildlife Biologist, to speak about Fort Bragg and Camp Mackall’s commitment to endangered species. Both military installations are located within the rare longleaf pine-wiregrass ecosystem. Less than 3% of the original 92 million acres of this ecosystem still exist. This ecosystem, dependent on fire maintenance, supports a wealth of flora and fauna populations, many of which are endangered or rare.
Fort Bragg and Camp Mackall contain 23 vegetative community types with over 1,200 plant species, approximately 200 bird species, 51 reptiles, 44 amphibians, 41 mammal species, and over 50 known aquatic species. Among these species, 5 are federally endangered; namely, the Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Saint Francis Satyr Butterfly, American Chaffseed, Rough-leaved Loosestrife, and Michaux Sumac. Overall, 48 species are considered rare. A few rare species of flora, such as the Sandhills Lily and Sandhills Pixie Moss are on the Army’s Species at Risk list, and could potentially impact military training if they become federally listed. Some rare fauna species, such as the Gopher frog, Eastern Salamander, Northern Pine Snake, Southeastern Bat, and Rafinesque Big-eared Bat are also being studied for their survival and management requirements.
Of the 5 federally endangered species, the Red-cockaded Woodpecker (RCW), listed in 1970, was declining through loss of habitat by fire suppression, forest management practices, and urban development. In 1990 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a Jeopardy Biological Opinion and recommended specific military training restrictions, monitoring, surveys, and habitat restoration in order to stem the decline. In 1992 Fort Bragg biologists began monitoring the RCW population, provided cavity enhancement, worked on habitat restoration, and placed protective measures around cavity trees. And in 2005, Fort Bragg succeeded in reaching its goal of 350 breeding pairs with assistance from the Sandhills Conservation Partnership and was able to reduce training restrictions by 50%. The Saint Francis Satyr Butterfly, listed in 1995, was thought to be extinct. It has been rediscovered, however, and is being studied by Fort Bragg biologists and university researchers in order to understand its survival requirements and to manage its habitat. The 3 federally listed plants, American Chaffseed (listed in 1992), Rough-leaved Loosestrife (listed in 1987), and Michaux’s Sumac (listed in 1989), are found in open uplands and in wetland ecotones. The areas in which these plants are found are monitored and managed by midstory removal and frequent fire.
Beth Evans will identify these 5 federally endangered species, and will discuss their life histories and their management requirements. She will also highlight a few other rare species in our globally rare longleaf pine ecosystem of the Sandhills. Evans received a B.S. in Wildlife Management from the University of Vermont in 1990. Subsequently, she served as a Research Assistant at Eglin Air Force Base in northwest Florida, surveying RCW cavity trees and becoming a member of one of the first teams to initiate banding of these endangered birds. Evans has been with the Fort Bragg Military Installation since 1993, working her way up from Biological Science Technician to Certified Wildlife Biologist. She monitors and surveys Fort Bragg’s endangered and rare flora and fauna species, and is involved with all aspects of protection and habitat restoration. Nevertheless, the majority of her work pertains to the RCW. Evans also participates in the NC Sandhills Conservation Partnership and the NC Chapter of the Wildlife Society, and conducts educational presentations to military personnel and the general public.

Join us for an informative and interesting evening; refreshments will be served Thursday, January 27 at 7 PM in the Southern Pines Civic Club, corner of Ashe and Pennsylvania.

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