Wearing Out Our Waders

I’m not writing this entry from my usual spot in the intern cubicle, surrounded by herbarium specimens, dichotomous keys, and my 5 team-members. Instead, this entry comes to you from the Reno International Airport, my portal to Memorial Day adventures.

We just finished up another unusual and wonderful week in Carson. The entire Carson City botany team took a week-long training in Multiple Indicator Monitoring (MIM) of stream banks and streamside vegetation. MIM is a procedure for monitoring riparian systems specially designed for small streams impacted by grazing. We had classes at the University of Reno Nevada and practiced monitoring at three different streams around the area. I had a great time learning a brand new monitoring technique and getting my feet wet (literally). We also had the chance to meet professionals and students from all over the west hoping to use this technique in the future. If the diversity of the students in our class is any indicator, MIM is a widely usefully technique.

On our last day of field training we set up a designated monitoring area and took measurements from a stream in Balls Canyon. In the shade of Gayer’s and Lemmon’s willows we measured everything from stream bank stability to bank vegetation to pool depth. I was the only member of my group with non-leaky rubber boots so I volunteered to take the pool depth measurements. However, pretty quickly the boots were discarded and I was waist deep in silt and chilly stream water. By the end of the day I was soaked, grinning, and we had a very detailed description of a hundred meters of mountain stream. This morning our instructor told us that you can’t monitor streams affectively without wearing out some waders. Well I think I found a (admittedly chilly) way. A perfect conclusion to a fun and educational week.



Carson City, NV

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