Know Your System

“Know your system”
These wise words were the first and most powerful lesson I have learned from my boss Leslie DeFalco. Oftentimes researchers will specialize in techniques, and new technologies but, especially these days with most government positions being contract, very few researcher have had the opportunity to study the same system for long periods of time.
Recently I have been spending most of my time at the Grand Canyon- Parashant National Monument. Slowly I have been learning and observing a lot, however there is so much more to learn.
The Parashant National Monument, located in Mohave Country AZ, is larger than Rhode Island and is found at the overlapping of three different physio-geographical provinces. It is an extremely diverse habitat where the Colorado Plateau, Mojave Desert and the Great Basin meet up, the result is an awe inspiring landscape.
It was established through the Presidential Proclamation in 2007, though it was acquired in 2000. It is currently under joint management between the BLM and the NPS.
Since the introduction of non native Bromus Madritensis into this area, wildfires have become more frequent (Just a reminder, this landscape is not evolved for fire), devastating the habitat of the endangered desert tortoise. The endangered desert tortoises meet their food and moisture requirements from their diet, which consists of the plants that are found in areas like the Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument. This is it where we come in.
Can we figure out a way to re-seed the burned area before it is too late?! Stay tuned next week, when I will delve into the details of research conducted by the USGS to determine optimal re-vegetating methods for these critical regions.

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