Mammalian biodiversity survey and population dynamics at naval air station Lemoore

The goal of this study was to evaluate the population dynamics of small nocturnal mammals and the occurrence of medium to large mammals at Naval Air Station Lemoore in Lemoore, CA and a proposed conservation easement along the Kings River nearby. To assess small mammal activity, trapping grids were placed at three sites from June 2011 to May 2012, and mark-recapture methods were used to estimate populations. Baited camera traps were placed in those sites and at two additional sites, and digital images were used to assess medium to large mammal occurrence. Deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) were the most common small mammals captured. Western harvest mice (Reithrodontomys megalotis) and California voles (Microtus californicus) were also captured, but in numbers too small to make population estimates. Populations of deer mice were abundant at the beginning of the study, most likely due to the season and the previous year�s higher than average rainfall. They also experienced a significant decline during the colder months (Oct-Jan), which could be explained by the high metabolic cost of maintaining their core body temperatures. The camera traps were largely unproductive and captured a total of two target species (coyotes [Canis latrans] and red foxes [Vulpes vulpes]) in 1,665 h of trapping. It is recommended that further studies be done to assess the many complex conservation and management issues that still remain unevaluated.