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Old 02-17-2011, 12:59 PM
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JohnH0802 JohnH0802 is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Beaufort, SC
Posts: 454

Let me tell you about the Fairy Shrimp in Southern CA. This small shrimp is in vernal pools, (low spots that can hold water from infrequent spring rains). These shrimp hatch, develope, and breed in as little as a week or two. On Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton there were several Artillery Firing Areas that were off limits to firing due to fairy shrimp habitat.

We could drive through these areas, train there, but could not do any digging. You are not allowed to fire a howitzer without digging in the spades, and thus we could not use these artillery firing areas to fire artillery. I happened to be doing a recon of a particular artillery firing area on the top of a ridge on the north end of the base. This artillery firing area could not be used because of fairy shrimp, and vernal pools. As luck would have it I was there right after an infrequent spring rain. I looked around and there were two low spots or depressions that had collected water on the reverse slope of the ridge. When I looked closer I realized that these low spots were old fox holes. The shape of the depressions and the C-rat debris and spent M-1 spring clips showed me that they were pretty old fox holes.

As it happened, one of the base naturalist stopped by while I was there. I showed him the two depressions that had collected water and discussed with him the fact that it was digging in the first place that had made these depressions and that just maybe, allowing us to dig in our howitzers would actually increase the number of vernal pools in the area, seeing has how the only two present were old fox holes. He did not have much to say.

Later on that day I got a call from my Battalion Commander, who had gotten a call from the Regimental Commander about some Captain interfering a base naturalist and causing him to have to stop working for the day. I explained myself to the Regimental Commander. Apparently me just having a normal conversation with the naturalist caused him to take the rest of the day off.

Also in Southern CA, landowners that own land bordering Mexico have sued the Border Patrol for driving over their land. When the border patrol drives over thier land, it leaves depressions, and when it rains, these depressions turn into vernal pools, and then the landowner looses the use of his land. These lawsuits forced the Border Patrol to disc thier tire tracks so that the landowners did not loose the use of thier land.

One other note on this. I had a conversation with another naturalist on Camp Pendleton at another AFA. It was the middle of the day, and as we were talking and looking over the area we saw no less than 4 coyotes within 100 yards of us. I made the comment to the naturalist that it was not our activity that was having an impact on the population of kangaroo rats, but the overpopulation of coyotes. He laughed, but the live fire range in the same area stayed closed to training due to kangaroo rats.

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