In the past couple weeks field season has been getting going and we have completed monitoring on several species. Traveled to the Delta, CO area to complete Sclerocactus sp. monitoring and check historic locations of Sclerocactus to try and find new populations of the species. Got the chance to hike back into some of the BLM wilderness areas looking for Sclerocactus and see some of the area that BLM has set aside and how they manage those areas as well. With this particular species the controversy around the federal listing status is always a topic of conversation and always a way I get to learn about new ideas researchers are proposing and how the BLM is going about to understand the whole Sclerocactus dynamic in an effort to insure that the species are being managed correctly on BLM lands.
Data entry followed the week of monitoring and analysis of that data as well. The following week another monitoring trip was imminent, so preparations for the trip were made. Past years data had to be examined to insure that the proper sample size was being used and new data sheet were created as a slight adjustment to the data collection method was made, minor tweaks were made it past sample size calculations but no additional transect were needed as a result for the tweaks. With everything prepped for the Astragalus monitoring Carol invited Phil and I to sit in on a meeting/ collaboration with CNHP up at Fort Collins where certain aspects of management were discussed in relation to climate change. The meeting was a preliminary event to test the water of how much BLM could get done with the help of CNHP on the monitoring of the species on the BLM sensitive species list state wide and how much has been done on each of the species on the list. Later in the year there will be a larger meeting with BLM biologists/specilalist and CNHP personnel to hash out the finer details of the future monitoring schemes that will be implemented to achieve the goals set.
The following days we traveled to the area around Silt, CO to complete the monitoring of the Astragalus species with personnel for the Colorado River Valley Field Office and from the Grand Junction Field Office. The monitoring went well with some of the sites being strangely sparse of plants relative to previous years while other locations showed an explosion of recruitment with seedlings being the dominant age class within the transects. The analysis has not been done on the data yet, so the degree of recruitment is not yet known, but what was seen at certain sites was a very welcomed site for this species of Astragalus.
BLM Colorado State Office