Deployment Area Selection and Land Withdrawal/Acquisition. M-X/MPS (M-X/Multiple Protective Shelter) Environmental Technical Report. Volume 1. Protected Species.
Preliminary final environmental impact statement.
HENNINGSON DURHAM AND RICHARDSON SANTA BARBARA CA
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Numerous protected aquatic species occur in the NevadaUtah study area. These are primarily fish that had once been widespread in vast freshwater lakes formed during Pleistocene pluvial periods, but are now confined to isolated valley spring-led or mountain stream habitats. In the thousands of years since the lakes began drying, populations of these fish have evolved in isolation and have adapted to the peculiar set of environmental conditions within the habitats in which they became isolated. As a result, from valley to valley, fish from the same ancestral shock differ from each other in appearance and physiological adaptation. Similarly, numerous rare plant species, candidates for state and federal protection, occur in the NevadaUtah study area. Many of these are restricted to high mountaintops which form evolutionary islands in much the same way as the springs in the valleys. Rare plants occurring in the valleys commonly are found only in limited, discrete habitat types, such as a patch of unusual soil, where they may be abundant. Only a few wildlife species are rare in this area. In contrast, the landscape in the TexasNew Mexico study area is a homogeneous portion of a large, continuous are called the Great Plains. As a result of this uniform habitat, there are fewer rare species than in Nevada and Utah. There is one federal candidate rare plant species in the study area the only protected fish species occur in river or spring habitats peripheral to the study area. The federally protected black-footed ferret may still survive in or near the project area, and three federally protected birds, including the bald eagle, migrate through or winter in the area.