A day in the life

This internship has picked up pace very quickly. Field work season is in full swing for us at the Colorado State BLM office. Our first week was spent looking for Astragalus debequaeus, a rare milkvetch of the western slope. We visited three long term monitoring plots to gather data to track population growth over time.

A. debequaeus

A. debequaeus

A. debequaeus

A. debequaeus

The highlight of the internship so far has been monitoring Sclerocactus glaucus, the Colorado Hookless Cactus. We spent a week in the field looking for new populations of this cactus with the goal of being able to put together multiple years of data and trying to get it removed from the FWS threatened species listing. To get to the cactus habitat we rafted down the Gunnison River, a beautiful NCA that the BLM manages. We saw so many interesting plants and animals during our trip, including over 30 species of birds. It was nice meeting and learning from people with so much passion for what they do.

Nipple cactus flower

Nipple cactus flower

The nipple cactus

The nipple cactus

S. glaucus

S. glaucus

A tiny S. glaucus

A tiny S. glaucus

S. glaucus

S. glaucus

The Gunnison River Valley

The Gunnison River Valley

Ram skull we found during survey work. Makes a great hood ornament for a boat.

Ram skull we found during survey work. Makes a great hood ornament for a boat.

A field of flowers overlooking the Gunnison River

A field of flowers overlooking the Gunnison River

A field covered in newly discovered S. glaucus

A field covered in newly discovered S. glaucus

It has been an exciting first few weeks of work with everyone at the Colorado state office and I look forward to more time hiking around this great state looking for rare plants.

 

Until next time…

Brennen Murphy

Colorado State BLM Office

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