River Adventures

It gets a bit hot during the summer in the eastern Utah desert. I am lucky to be able to somewhat escape every once in a while by heading to BLM land further north on the Green River. The riparian environment of the Green River is just that – green. And lush, at least for a few meters on either side of the bank.

Every once in a while, when I am caught up with other SOS and monitoring projects, I have the oppertunity to head up to John Jarvie Ranch/Historic Site, to deal with invasive riparian species. Along the way I get to meet and hang out with other seasonals and folks from my department that I would otherwise not get the chance to work with.

Circling osprey are everywhere. Great blue herons give us dirty looks as we creep up on them during their fishing expeditions. Numerous merganser duck families drift past. My all-time favorite though, are the occasional river otter family sightings as I paddle my way to work.

A spiny invasive known as teasel (introduced to make crafts, the dried heads look like little mice if you use your imagination and squint a bit) is what the crews have been after. 8-foot tall willow and saltcedar thickets must be combed through and the teasel cut down with the seedheads pulled off.

Did I mention that there is a Class III whitewater rapid on one of the river stretches that we are working on? I also keep an eye out for new populations of the water-loving, threatened Ute Lady Tress orchid.

This is oddly satisfying work. If the job keeps going, this invasive can potentially be banished from the Upper Green. Seeing proper land management in action, achieving results, is amazing, and I am stoked to be a part of the process, even if just for a few days.

Peace,

Katie Frey, Vernal, Utah

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