Hello again from Vernal!
The summer is already winding down, and we are well on our way to collecting 30 species, our end goal. Currently, we have five more plant species to go! I thought I’d dedicate this blog post to talking a bit about one of my favorite seed collections we have done so far, and our seed collecting process.
Lepidium alyssoides var. eastwoodiae (mesa pepperwort)
Before going out and collecting seed, it is important to key the plant, in order to make sure you are collecting the correct species. For example, last week we had the opportunity to collect Lepidium alyssoides, a native mustard that looks very similar to Lepidium latifolium, which is invasive in this area. However, by keying the plant using a plant identification book, we were able to discern several key differences between the two Brassicaceaes. Lepidium alyssoides is described as having some leaves which are deeply lobed to pinnatifid, whereas Lepidium latifolium has leaves which are either entire or serrate. In addition, L. alyssoides plants are mostly 60-120 cm tall, whereas L. latifolium plants are greater than 35 cm tall.
This was clearly a GREAT year for Lepidium alyssoides
At the beginning of my internship I was skeptical about being able to collect 20,000 seeds of each plant population, but for the majority of the mustards this collection goal has been easy to obtain. Lepidium alyssoides was our fastest collection to date, and we were able to complete the entire collection in about an hour.
After a long day of collecting seeds, Ashley demonstrates her superior technique for staying hydrated!
The cherry on top of the seed collection trip was discovering my FIRST antler shed! All in all, it was a great day. I am looking forward to collecting our remaining seeds and seeing the late-summer plants begin to bloom!
Selfie with a super cool antler shed!
Vernal, Utah BLM
Time is flying by here in Idaho. I just entered by fifth and last full month of my internship at the BLM’s Jarbidge Field Office in Twin Falls. While the first few months were mostly consumed by plant identification while doing upland trend monitoring, the last month or so our crew has been able to do a variety of things such as conduct wetland inventories, monitor thermographs, help with riparian assessments, and conduct cattle compliance assessments. We even got the opportunity to put on hip boots and do some spotted frog monitoring.
Using a GPS to record qualitative information regarding the wetland.
Often times in order to reach a wetland site or a thermograph there is quite a bit of hiking involved. Last week I had the opportunity to travel to the farthest Southwestern portion of our field office to do wetland inventories, which required us to camp overnight. The hiking was strenuous for a flat-lander (Wisconsinite) like me but the views at the top of the canyons were absolutely worth it.
There’s me looking rather sheepish and exhausted after a long day of hiking the canyons behind me.
Our awesome view at dusk over Deep Creek Canyon.
My supervisor and I came across the skeletal remains of an elk. She carried it all the way out of the canyon on her shoulders!
The information and skills that I have learned throughout my internship so far have been invaluable. Even though there were days that I tested my physical limits, I can still say that I have truly enjoyed this internship and that the days that felt like “work” were few and far between. I am so appreciative for this opportunity and for the connections I have made here at the BLM.