The Bold, the Beautiful and the Ugly

The San Juan River at Simon Canyon, NM


        Seed collecting is wrapped up in Farmington, NM, and the seeds themselves are wrapped up in packages waiting to be opened by the Bend Seed Extractory personnel. We unloaded the pickup of our gear, trash, sand, and seeds in preparation for its complete purging at the auto shop. I think fall cleaning takes more energy for field workers than spring cleaning.  Finishing up the SOS collections has allowed us to help other natural resource folks in the office.


Living in the desert has instilled a deep fondness for cottonwood trees




The last collection- Chenopodium graveolens







 We went out with the Threatened and Endangered Species Specialist to look for the Mesa Verde fishhook cactus (Sclerocactus mesae-verdae) in areas where a powerline will be installed. We encountered a couple of oil wells that were not actively pumping, but leaking oil. The San Juan basin has over 18,000 active oil and gas wells in urban and remote areas. I will be seeing how the process works to report an oil leak and hopefully more attention will be paid to some of the remote sites that can easily slip under the radar.

Mesa Verde fishhook cacti


An oil well leaking oil in the San Juan Basin

Old car grazing the San Juan river


The right fork of the San Juan river is shallow this time of the year


The rock in the horizon down river is Shiprock, a sacred site of the Navajo that can be seen for miles around the four corners area



Yesterday we finished canoeing a section of the San Juan River to assess its proper functioning condition- a national criteria to evaluate riparian health and potential. There were numerous areas of illegal dumping- the weirdest being a large metal framed boat and an old car. Even so, it was an absolutely gorgeous day as we spent what I believe is the last day of summer-fall. Winter fall is not far behind.

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