The Virginia Outdoors Foundation partnered with the Bull Run Mountains Conservancy and the Clifton Institute on April 28 to host our inaugural BioBlitz at the Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve. The event involved surveying flora and fauna in the Jackson Hollow section of the preserve to better document the biodiversity of this ecological gem, which is located just 35 miles west of Washington, D.C.
Unlike the southern section of the preserve, Jackson Hollow does not have regular public access. Instead, because of its rich biodiversity, this section is utilized for scientific research, stream restoration work, brook trout reintroduction at Catharpin Creek, and the BioBlitz.
Assisting with the BioBlitz were volunteer experts from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, Virginia Native Plant Society, Prince William County, the Mycological Association of Washington, and National Geographic Explorers. Even the mayor of Warrenton, a fungi enthusiast, joined in. These experts led participants in six different surveys:
- Bird survey
- Amphibian and reptile survey
- Arthropod survey
- Fungi survey
- Plant survey
- Moth and nocturnal species survey
Participants observed 281 different organisms, of which 226 were identified down to the species level. A full list of all organisms observed can be found here.
“This was quite the accomplishment for our first ever BioBlitz,” says preserve manager Joe Villari. “Amazingly, it is only a snapshot of the biodiversity that the preserve protects. Discovering and identifying the species within the preserve is crucial to conducting informed management decisions and protecting this delicate ecosystem.”
VOF and its partners will conduct the BioBlitz again in 2020 with the hope of expanding our species list. To learn more about this and other programs at the preserve, visit http://www.bullrunmountains.org/.