Exploring New Approaches to Grassland Conservation in Wyoming—Katie Pofahl and Humna Sharif

Two students from the Yale School of the Environment’s Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative teamed up with The Nature Conservancy in Wyoming to deepen the culture of conservation in these iconic grasslands. With over 13.2 million acres, the grasslands of Thunder Basin, Wyoming are part of a patchwork of federal, state, and private land that Read more about Exploring New Approaches to Grassland Conservation in Wyoming—Katie Pofahl and Humna Sharif[…]

Large landscapes Need Large-Scale Collaboration: Efforts to protect ecosystem diversity in the vast American West—Margot Cumming

Western landscapes create a set of unique challenges for natural resource managers because the ecosystems cover a vast area of land and include diverse environmental conditions. For example, alpine ecosystems have short growing seasons, grasslands are dry and turn fierce in the winters, and wildfires blaze through western forests seasonally. In addition, the species found Read more about Large landscapes Need Large-Scale Collaboration: Efforts to protect ecosystem diversity in the vast American West—Margot Cumming[…]

Understanding Community Perceptions of Recreation and Wildlife in Jackson, Wyoming

Bryce and Bea are working with the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative to investigate how to balance Jackson’s growing recreation habits while preserving existing ecosystems and protecting wildlife. This research is done in conjunction with a Social Science Working Group at the Bridger-Teton National Forest, as part of their 2021 Forest Plan Revision planning. Their primary Read more about Understanding Community Perceptions of Recreation and Wildlife in Jackson, Wyoming[…]

From Zero to 9,600 Organic Acres in Montana’s Great Plains — Tim Ibbotson-Sindelar

I arrived at the farm on a Saturday three weeks ago. I drove for three days from Philadelphia to Hill County, Montana. The land first became flat and mostly treeless in eastern North Dakota, where I spent my second night on the road. The third and final day of driving was uninterrupted flatness. Though while Read more about From Zero to 9,600 Organic Acres in Montana’s Great Plains — Tim Ibbotson-Sindelar[…]

Soil Texture and Plant Concentration on Oil Well Pad Reclamation Sites in Wyoming

Jon is investigating the relationship between soil texture and the concentration of woody plants and perennial bunch grasses on oil well pad reclamation sites in Wyoming’s sagebrush steppe. Soil texture is an important factor in soil water storage, because it affects water movement speed through soil. In dry areas, where water is scarce, soil texture Read more about Soil Texture and Plant Concentration on Oil Well Pad Reclamation Sites in Wyoming[…]

Non-Consumptive Water Rights as a Landscape Conservation Tool

Margot’s independent policy analysis investigates the governance structures in Colorado that allowed non-consumptive water rights to be claimed by private entities and how this has impacted the regional landscape. Non-consumptive, or in-stream water rights, ensure that at the location where the rights are claimed, the amount of water will not change in quality or quantity Read more about Non-Consumptive Water Rights as a Landscape Conservation Tool[…]

Soil Health and Soil Carbon Sequestration in Regenerative Agriculture

Darya is working with Mad Agriculture, an organization focusing on regenerative agriculture out of Boulder, Colorado. She is assisting the organization with projects in two realms: policy and soil carbon sequestration. Her policy-related work includes projects in conjunction with the Colorado Collaborative for Healthy Soils and preparing a grant application aimed to increase farmer engagement Read more about Soil Health and Soil Carbon Sequestration in Regenerative Agriculture[…]

Simulating the Recovery of Big Sagebrush Communities from Disturbances Due to Oil and Gas Extraction

At well pads—areas developed for oil and gas drilling—both the vegetation and topsoil are completely removed. After drilling infrastructure is installed, these areas are reclaimed, meaning the topsoil is then replaced, and the areas are seeded with various mixes of species. Despite reclamation efforts, big sagebrush communities have an extremely hard time returning to a Read more about Simulating the Recovery of Big Sagebrush Communities from Disturbances Due to Oil and Gas Extraction[…]

Narratives of the National Parks: Stories Told Through Data

Reid’s work aims to understand the history of the United States’ National Parks through the lens of historic visitation data. The National Parks Service manages over 300 park or park-like properties, spanning over 85 million acres. Beyond their vast spatial expanses, these national sites hold unique significance in the hearts and minds of many Americans. Read more about Narratives of the National Parks: Stories Told Through Data[…]

Assessing Climate Change Impacts to Waterways Near National Parks in the West

Humna is working with the water conservation team at National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) to assess anthropogenic threats to western waterways that run through or close to national parks. Recent policy rollbacks in legacy environmental laws, including the Waters of the United States Rule under the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the National Environmental Policy Read more about Assessing Climate Change Impacts to Waterways Near National Parks in the West[…]

Modern Storytelling, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Difficulties of Trying to Convey Truth — Reid H. Lewis

Is it possible to tell a complete story? I mean, not a good story or a fun story or a scary story; a complete story? One that tells all the parts, doesn’t leave anything out? The type of story you finish and not only think “Wow, I have a holistic and entire understanding of blank,” Read more about Modern Storytelling, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Difficulties of Trying to Convey Truth — Reid H. Lewis[…]

Farming from afar — Darya Watnick

This summer I’m working as a summer fellow for Mad Agriculture. MadAg is working, as they put it, to “catalyze a regenerative revolution in agriculture that is beautiful, just, and inevitable.” MadAg works with farmers across the Mountain West, Southwest, Great Plains and Midwest to help them ecologically and economically. I had initially planned to Read more about Farming from afar — Darya Watnick[…]

Water in the Southwest and the New-Old Threat of Uranium Mining — Humna Sharif

Clean and safe water is one of the most precious resources anywhere in the world, but this is especially true for arid regions with growing populations. Southwestern US, known for being hot and dry, is getting even hotter and drier due to climate change. The Colorado River is the single most important source of water Read more about Water in the Southwest and the New-Old Threat of Uranium Mining — Humna Sharif[…]

Op-Ed: Don’t just cheer wildland firefighters as heroes. Give them affordable healthcare — James F. Puerini and Gerald Torres

James F Puerini, masters of forestry candidate, and Professor Gerald Torres have recently published an excellent op-ed focused on wildland firefighter’s access to healthcare. Please visit the link below to read their op-ed published in the Los Angeles Times. Op-Ed: Don’t just cheer wildland firefighters as heroes. Give them affordable healthcare — James F. Puerini Read more about Op-Ed: Don’t just cheer wildland firefighters as heroes. Give them affordable healthcare — James F. Puerini and Gerald Torres[…]

Balancing Rights in the Context of Outdoor Recreation — Talia Niederman

As the number of outdoor recreationists expands due to a confluence of improved technology and social trends, humans and wildlife increasingly overlap in their demands for natural spaces. Over this past year, our UHPSI project team has explored this issue in the context of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. A dramatic and alluring landscape, this region Read more about Balancing Rights in the Context of Outdoor Recreation — Talia Niederman[…]