Catcus and Cathodes

May 28, 2013

Hello! And greetings from Montrose, CO.

I’d love to entertain you all with the amazing, interesting, and varied work I’ve been doing lately, but to be perfectly honest I’ve mostly been conducting surveys for Colorado Hookless Cactus, and little else, since I last wrote.

For those of you who work in the Uinta Basin you’re already (kinda) familiar with this cactus, as at one point Sclerocactus wetlandicus and Sclerocactus glaucus were considered one and the same.

Colorado Hookless Cactus

Here’s a picture of the little guy, might look familiar to some of you.

Because this cactus is a federally listed threatened species I do a lot of clearance surveys to ensure that it isn’t growing in an area where certain projects are planned to take place. Additionally, we’ve been doing general surveys for the cactus with the hope of adding more known individuals with the ultimate goal of getting this cactus de-listed.

Survey near Powerline

There’s a list of five criteria that must be considered in order to get a species de-listed. They are as follows (taken directly from a Fish and Wildlife Service factsheet):

■ Is there a present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of the species’ habitat or range?
■ Is the species subject to overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes?
■ Is disease or predation a factor?
■ Are there inadequate existing regulatory mechanisms in place outside the ESA (taking into account the efforts by the States and other organizations to protect the species or habitat)?
■ Are other natural or man-made factors affecting its continued existence?

According to my boss, we have strong evidence to suggest we meet all the above criteria, and my job lately has been to go out and fill in the missing gaps between known cactus populations.

Today, however, I’m in the office working on a TES Wildlife and Plants Report (for the cathodic protection system survey, pictured above, actually) and struggling to learn GIS, while my boss is giving a presentation that has something to do with the impending fire season ahead.

Well, I’ll sign off with a few more pictures.

Flower on Flattop – Buckwheat Survey

Crew I work with caught some Horny Toads.

Largest Horny Toad I’ve ever seen was caught by Arri (on the right) and Zach (on left) found one too.

Another beautiful day in the field.

Brandee Wills
Uncompahgre Field Office BLM
Montrose, CO

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About Brandee

Hello! My name is Brandee and I was born in St. Louis, MO, grew up in the beautiful New River Valley in south-western Virginia, and have spent the past five years going to school and bumming around the western slope of Colorado. Recently, I decided to quit my day job as a telemarketer/ski bum and start doing work related to my Biology major (hence this CLM internship).

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