For a moment there I thought the monsoon season was over. August here in southwest Utah was defined by bright, hot days and evening thunderstorms that produced more lightening than rain. Now it is September, the beginning of fall, but it certainly does not feel like fall. It feels like spring. Every day there are steady rainstorms, occasionally heavy rain that will fill normally dry washes. Being from the east coast, I am enjoying this refreshing rain. It has cooled off the hot desert and revived the dry, fire-prone sagebrush habitats.
We have started to do some browse assessments, examining key species along a transect to determine how much vegetation is available for animals like mule deer, elk, wild horses and cattle. This involves measuring the leaders on the key species, which is often Wyoming sagebrush. With all this recent rain, all the vegetation has experienced a lot of new growth, like the sagebrush below.
Grasses that were brown and desiccated a few weeks ago are now bright green and alive. Valleys are full of yellow and purple flowers. Lupine, globemallow, sunflowers and thistles are reappearing. The entire region looks more vibrant and alive than it did in May, when I first began work with the Cedar City, BLM office.
September is going to be a month full of work and wrapping up reports as my internship is coming to a close in a few weeks. For those experiencing a lot of rain, be safe out there. Flash floods are a real threat you got to be aware of. I know a lot of interns are also preparing to finish up in different offices, so be sure to enjoy your final weeks!