Report Abstract

Title:

Columbia Basin Western Skink Inventory & Assessment 2005 Results

Authors:

Jakob Dulisse

Year:

2006

Abstract:

This report summarises an inventory and habitat assessment for the blue-listed western skink (Eumeces skiltonianus) in the south-western portion of the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (CBFWCP) project area in the summers of 2004 and 2005. Western skinks were located at 41 out of 91 sites surveyed. In addition to these surveyed locations, data compiled from other sources confirmed skinks at another 86 locations to make a total of approximately 127 known occupied sites within the CBFWCP program area. The easternmost records were for the Creston valley and skinks were confirmed at many locations northward along Kootenay Lake as far north as Pilot Bay and Ainsworth. Vallican remains the northernmost confirmed western skink location in the Slocan valley but the species may occur at New Denver and Rosebery. Western skinks are relatively common from Syringa Provincal Park, south along the Columbia River valley to the U.S. border and throughout the Pend d’Oreille River valley. At occupied sites, western skinks were the most commonly encountered reptile and they often co-occurred with northern alligator lizards (Elgaria coerulia) and rubber boas (Charina botae). Skinks were located I primarily in low elevation dry forest and mixed grassland habitat. Important habitat components included sites with warm aspects, loose soil substrates, and an abundance of cover objects, such as rocks with nearby grass, shrubs or woody debris. The conservation of skink habitat is especially important considering the patchiness of suitable sites in many areas and the species’ apparent lack of ability to move between habitats. Loss of habitat through development activities and forest ingrowth are probably the two main threats facing the western skink in the study area.



 

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