Frasera speciosa (Elkweed)
Hello To All,
I’ve enjoyed a busy month out here on Colorado’s western slope.
We just wrapped up our field data collection for HAF / Gunnison Sage-grouse; now it’s time for analysis!
HAF Green Mountain, Crawford, CO
We also had the opportunity to work with BLM State Botanist, Carol Dawson, and CLM veterans Nathan and Colleen, collecting data on the threatened Sclerocactus glaucus and BLM ‘sensitive species’ Astragalus naturitensis.
Sclerocactus glaucus (Colorado Hookless Cactus)
Establishing long term monitoring plot for Astragalus naturitensis
A. naturitensis fruit
In addition to all our floral adventures, the past month has been fantastic for wildlife viewing – Big horn sheep, elk, antelope, bull snake, scorpion, and many a raptor !
Hope you all are enjoying your CLM adventures !!!
After arriving in Colorado, less than a week ago, I was welcomed by my mentor Ken Holsinger, Biologist at the BLM Uncompahgre Field Office. After general orientation, Ken introduced me to the endangered Eriogonum pelinophilum, (clay-loving buckwheat).
E. pelinophilum is endemic to the adobe hills in the salt-desert shrub ecosystem of the Uncompahgre Basin, within Montrose and Delta counties. The vegetation is sparse in these delicate soils, which are highly erodible and saline. The rolling hills and flats create unique scenic formations, with vegetation unlike any I have seen before.
- Salt-Desert Shrub Ecosystem ACEC
On Tuesday we began training and data collection for the Gunnison Sage-grouse habitat assessment, Crawford population, Black Ridge, Delta County.
Data collection with Ken and Julie
We collected data using protocol as outlined in the Sage-grouse Habitat Assessment Framework (HAF). More specifically we used several different vegetation sampling methods along 50m transects including: 1) Point-intercept sampling method to collect vegetation type and height data for all graminoid, forb and shrub species; 2) Line-intercept sampling method to collect canopy cover data for sage-brush species; 3) Belt transect method to collect relative abundance data for preferred forbs.
Overall, I have to say, this CLM/BLM internship is off to a fantastic start. The scenery is absolutely beautiful, the wealth of knowledge which surrounds me is impressive, and the diverse array of new floral species to learn is more than intriguing.
Hope you all are enjoying your many adventures,