A How-To Guide for Beaver Monitoring—Alex Wells

May is here, bringing with it the end of a semester and the end of my time working as a UHPSI Research Assistant in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy Wyoming’s Tensleep Preserve. Even as Wyoming has been re-blanketed in snow, every maple and oak tree in New Haven has spun out fresh fractals of green Read more about A How-To Guide for Beaver Monitoring—Alex Wells[…]

Muddying the Water—Alex Wells

Let’s say that you live in northeast Nevada and ranch a stretch of sagebrush watered by a small cottonwood-lined creek. Or that you make your living from your senior water rights and an orderly orchard of fruit trees in western Colorado. Or that you grow alfalfa just north of the Gallatin Range in Montana, your Read more about Muddying the Water—Alex Wells[…]

A Monitoring Plan for Beaver Wellbeing and Hydrologic Impacts

Effective ecological monitoring is a critical component of managing ecosystems in a way that balances the needs of people and wildlife. In collaboration with The Nature Conservancy – Wyoming (TNC) and the Water for Wildlife Foundation, UHPSI research assistant Alex Wells is developing a monitoring plan that will evaluate both beaver wellbeing and the impacts Read more about A Monitoring Plan for Beaver Wellbeing and Hydrologic Impacts[…]

Exotic annual forbs present restoration challenges on natural gas well pads—Damaris Chenoweth

Restoration of natural gas well pads is plagued by invasion from annual forbs and grasses. Exotic annual forbs particularly are well suited to the sandy, salty, disturbed soils found on natural gas well pads in the Upper Green River Basin of southwestern Wyoming. While conducting research this summer on well pads in the Upper Green Read more about Exotic annual forbs present restoration challenges on natural gas well pads—Damaris Chenoweth[…]

Sampling soils in an ancient lake—Damaris Chenoweth

Some days our soil auger hits a layer of shale and instead of retrieving messy handfuls of sandy soil, we hear the dreaded grinding of steel on rock. We accept the disappointment of a missing data point because the alternative is to litter the ground with small holes to find a penetrable spot. Around 50 Read more about Sampling soils in an ancient lake—Damaris Chenoweth[…]

Place, People, and Politics: A Short Reflection on a Summer of Research and Rivers in the American West—Mara MacDonell

Over the course of 14 days this August, I traveled down the calm waters of Labyrinth and Stillwater Canyons of the Green River and the raucous and roiling waters of Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River. I went on this journey after a summer of conducting interviews and thinking critically about the role of the Read more about Place, People, and Politics: A Short Reflection on a Summer of Research and Rivers in the American West—Mara MacDonell[…]

A Note from the Steppe—Rachel Renne

As a kid growing up in Florida, we were warned that the hottest part of the day was between noon and 2 pm. My mother insisted that we come inside during these hours to avoid the heat and what she considered to be the riskiest time for sunburns. Yet, at 4:30 pm today in this Read more about A Note from the Steppe—Rachel Renne[…]

What’s Behind Oregon’s New Law Mandating Overtime Pay for Farmworkers and What Might it Mean for Farmers in the State? — Shannon Bell

Labor shortages became very salient in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the agricultural industry has been reckoning with labor shortages and the equity concerns around farm labor conditions for years. One of the primary factors behind both the decline in willing farm labor and the outcry among farmworker advocates has been the Read more about What’s Behind Oregon’s New Law Mandating Overtime Pay for Farmworkers and What Might it Mean for Farmers in the State? — Shannon Bell[…]

Is Oregon’s Land Use System Protecting Farmers? — Shannon Bell

Between 2001 and 2016, 11 million acres of farmland in the United States were developed, with 4.1 million acres converted to urban and highly developed land uses and almost 7 million acres converted to low-density residential use. The 2017 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Census revealed that from 2012 to 2017, the amount of Read more about Is Oregon’s Land Use System Protecting Farmers? — Shannon Bell[…]

Climate Change and Plant Communities: Reshaping Ecosystems for Livestock and Wildlife — Scott Carpenter

During the month of August, I was unfortunate enough to be impacted by two extreme weather events associated with climate change. In Wyoming, multiple field days were cut short due to hazardous air quality resulting from the ongoing wildfires in California and Oregon. While 2020 saw the second highest acreage burned since 1960 (the highest Read more about Climate Change and Plant Communities: Reshaping Ecosystems for Livestock and Wildlife — Scott Carpenter[…]

Global change and root production: how does land use and climate change affect life belowground? — Uthara Vengrai

Roots do everything. They are the connector between plants and soil–the interface at which many of the transactions of life are made. Roots (with the help of their mycorrhizal associates) conduct a plant’s search for nutrients, water, and shelter. They scour the soil for the ingredients of life and support whole ecosystems of microorganisms, plants, Read more about Global change and root production: how does land use and climate change affect life belowground? — Uthara Vengrai[…]

Augmenting local water supplies in Southern California: Difficult Tradeoffs — Ryanna Fossum

Our day-to-day experience with fresh water varies drastically depending on where in the country we live. This week, as I pulled off a highway in Connecticut to avoid the torrential downpour from Hurricane Henri, I thought about my work back home in Los Angeles to adapt to long-term drought. If I had superpowers, one of Read more about Augmenting local water supplies in Southern California: Difficult Tradeoffs — Ryanna Fossum[…]

Why Water Utilities Should Invest in Natural (Green) Infrastructure — Lily Colburn

Water utilities provide drinking, wastewater, and stormwater services to millions of people across the United States, including for residential, commercial, and industrial uses. These essential service providers are responsible for offering safe and affordable resources to their customers, which include identifying, protecting, and enhancing a drinking water source, pumping water from the source to a Read more about Why Water Utilities Should Invest in Natural (Green) Infrastructure — Lily Colburn[…]

Natural (Green) Infrastructure in Oregon

Lily is a Financial Analyst Intern with the Natural Infrastructure Initiative at the World Resources Institute (WRI). She is researching the relationship between resilient water utilities and environmental health. In particular, Lily’s work is centered on the need for more widespread financing and funding opportunities for natural (green) infrastructure projects in Oregon. She is researching Read more about Natural (Green) Infrastructure in Oregon[…]

In Colorado’s San Luis Valley, what happened in Crowley County is something of a ghost story.—Cloe Dickson

The two communities are not close, at least not geographically. From Alamosa County, the largest city in the San Luis Valley, Crowley County’s namesake town lies some 150 miles to the southeast. La Veta Pass, the route of the old Denver Rio Grande Railroad, offers east-west access through the magnificent Sangre de Cristo mountains, whose Read more about In Colorado’s San Luis Valley, what happened in Crowley County is something of a ghost story.—Cloe Dickson[…]