Striking a Balance Between Restoration Costs and Benefits—Alaina Geibig

The Yampa River Valley, located in the Northwest corner of Colorado, hosts critical sagebrush habitat that supports wildlife and livestock. In this arid region, water resources hold disproportionate importance, with low-lying wet meadows providing essential sources of diverse forage (Rondeau et al., 2023). As such, wet meadows often fall under private ownership for agricultural purposes, Read more about Striking a Balance Between Restoration Costs and Benefits—Alaina Geibig[…]

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[…]

Who Cares?—Sam Wilson

I was explaining my research to someone recently and the proceeding conversation got me thinking. When I described my project and where it was going to be conducted (see project description here) I got a response that I had yet to encounter. The woman I was speaking with asked me ‘who cares about sagebrush?’. At Read more about Who Cares?—Sam Wilson[…]

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[…]

What is the Difference Between a Crop and a Plant?—Julia Jacobson

A few months ago, during one of my first interviews of the summer, I was trying to discern how farmers’ experience of farming varied from crop to crop. For example, what is different about farming tomatoes versus, say, potatoes? I wondered if farmers favored certain crops — or certain methods — and if that might Read more about What is the Difference Between a Crop and a Plant?—Julia Jacobson[…]

Dis-Assembling Agriculture— Julia Jacobson

Clouds of dust plume behind my car as I venture down the long driveway to my first farm interview of the summer. Despite the high water year and lush greenery, the ground here is distinctively dry. A curious butterfly flutters through one open window and out the other. Toward the end of the driveway, an Read more about Dis-Assembling Agriculture— Julia Jacobson[…]

Global change effects on soil greenhouse gas exchange and carbon storage along a temperature gradient in the North American Central Grasslands

Most ecosystem and earth-system models predict soil organic carbon losses from temperate grasslands as temperatures increase. However, the magnitude of that loss is uncertain and the influence of other global change factors on the temperature sensitivity of decomposition remains poorly understood. Uthara’s research explores how historical temperature regimes interact with global change factors (i.e., warming, Read more about Global change effects on soil greenhouse gas exchange and carbon storage along a temperature gradient in the North American Central Grasslands[…]

Modeling Radiation Use Efficiency in Big Sagebrush Understory

Sam’s research focuses on gathering field data to pair with remotely sensed imagery to then model a physiological plant trait called radiation use efficiency. Radiation use efficiency is the proportion of incoming solar radiation that is converted to biomass. Decreases in efficiency of plants has been shown to correlate with stress and decreased production and Read more about Modeling Radiation Use Efficiency in Big Sagebrush Understory[…]

Landscape Vegetation Analysis (LaVA) in Southern Wyoming—Jake Barker

One project in particular in Wyoming has emerged in the national conversation concerning public forest management. The Medicine-Bow Routt and Thunder Basin Grassland National Forest (MBRTB) manages forest and grassland in Wyoming and Colorado, and is several years into the implementation of a landscape-scale forest resilience project. Supported by the 2003 Healthy Forests Restoration Act, Read more about Landscape Vegetation Analysis (LaVA) in Southern Wyoming—Jake Barker[…]

Gaining a Deeper Understanding of Ecosystems Through Collaboration—Rowan Sharkey

The past year working with the Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative has presented a wide range of experiences, connections, and memories that I find carrying me forward on the path of conservation. Throughout this process, our team has been fortunate enough to collaborate with incredible partners such as The Nature Conservancy-MT, World Wildlife Foundation, and Read more about Gaining a Deeper Understanding of Ecosystems Through Collaboration—Rowan Sharkey[…]

Evaluating Mesic Restoration Efforts in Montana with Geospatial Tools

In conjunction with The Nature Conservancy-Montana (TNC), Montana Conservation Corps (MCC), and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), our team is creating a protocol to evaluate the impacts of low-tech structures, sometimes referred to as beaver dam analogs, that have been installed in central Montana. This protocol will leverage GIS and remote sensing technologies, challenging our team Read more about Evaluating Mesic Restoration Efforts in Montana with Geospatial Tools[…]

Stepping Out of the Steppe—Rachel Renne

As temperatures climbed this summer, so did the elevations of the plots that I visited. My gradual ascent was an attempt to capture the plant community of each site at a time when I would be able to detect and identify most of the plant species. Higher elevations mean lower temperatures, and while many grasses Read more about Stepping Out of the Steppe—Rachel Renne[…]