Things have been busy in the district, but luckily it has been clear blue skies lately. After making nearly 30 Seeds of Success collections, we are transitioning to a variety of other botany projects before fall collections pick up again. We even got the opportunity to go out with the Wildlife crew to go caving! We explored a few known lava tube caves looking for bats – unfortunately there were no bats to be found. The crew lead speculated people digging for new entrances to the caves had likely altered the airflow in the cave which rendered the habitat unsuitable for winter shelter. On day two of caving, we were on the hunt for new caves! We found three new “caves”… classified as such because we could fit a body inside (not quite as impressive as the lava tubes from the day before). Spicata’s Web was my favorite with spider webs and Pseudoroegneria spicata surrounding the entrance.
We recently made an amazing collection of seed for Chamaebatiaria millefolium (Desert Sweet/Fern Bush) in this same lava field, and I was constantly on the lookout for new caves – I kept needing to remind myself that I was there for the seed and not for the caves. I am pretty bummed that we will not be heading back to this area again – definitely one of my favorites of the season. (My boots will be happy about not trecking through the lava flows though)
The Devil’s Garden is fascinating for all of the geologic, historic, and biological factors… lava tube caves, cattle rustling, and Wilderness Study Areas… I could go on for days. There is always something new to learn in the Lakeview District!
Chamaebatiaria millefolium (Desert Sweet//Fern Bush)
The Devil’s Garden – lava flows
This past week I had the opportunity to work with my mentor as well as crew leads from the Range and Fisheries departments to conduct riparian monitoring using the Multiple Indicator Monitoring protocol. It was fun to see three departments coming together to focus on one project – stream health! The protocol was very detailed and we had to check in with the book multiple times throughout the process.
Multiple Inidcator Monitoring (MIMs) with Botany, Fisheries, and Range Crews!
I’m excited to see where my last month in Lakeview leads me, but for now it’s time to head back to stalking job boards.
BLM – Lakeview Resource Area
Tall Man welcomes you to Lakeview!
My first month of my CLM internship with the Lakeview BLM has been a whirlwind of experiences. It has been a bit of a culture shock moving from the bustling city of Minneapolis to the quiet cattle town of Lakeview within a week of graduating from college. I’m getting the hang of the “Western Wave”” and getting used to the never ending jokes about my Wisconsin accent (no, I will not say “bag” again for you).
From my experiences so far, I think the desert is the perfect place to begin my endeavors into the wonderful world of botany. The plant communities are diverse, but what you see is what is there. Other than the few forbs hiding in the sagebrush, most plants present themselves obviously to you. This is contrasting the overgrowth seen in many midwestern forest and prairie communities where you have to dig through all the green to find the plants you are searching for.
The last few weeks have been all about training. This past weekend my internship partner and I had the opportunity to travel to Bend, OR for a grass identification workshop put on by the Carex Working Group. It was an invaluable experience working alongside fellow interns from Burns as well as other colleagues from around Eastern Oregon with varying levels of knowledge and experience. We worked together to identify the characteristics of different groups of grasses and practiced keying out several specimens to species. Who knew such simple plants could have such intricate structures and specialized modifications. After all our training, all I can say is – bring on the Poas.
Fun fact for the day: Poa in Swahili means cool. Grasses ARE cool.
Keying out grasses at the workshop
Field identification of grasses at the workshop
With the commencement of Safety Week here in Lakeview, I can now confidently say I am certified in CPR and I can change a spare tire, so that is pretty neat.
I’m excited to continue on with the Seeds of Success program and hopefully make successful collections of the Eriogonum heracleoides, Astragalus lentiginosus, Salvia dorii, and all the other fun plant populations that we have scouted out so far.
All the best,