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 stuctures, 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[…]

Beavers and Space—Sam Wilson

It’s December here in New Haven, Connecticut. The leaves have all fallen, the grass is done growing, and the days are getting quite short. It also means that Christmas is right around the corner. I was having a conversation with friends the other day about Christmas movies. Afterward, I remembered one that hadn’t come up Read more about Beavers and Space—Sam Wilson[…]

Utilizing Geospatial Analysis to Increase Water Availability in the American West—Rowan Sharkey

Being a research assistant with the Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative at YSE  has afforded me a variety of opportunities to expand my knowledge in the field of mesic restoration in the western United States. Focusing on a region that is highly susceptible to drought events creates an interesting challenge when tracking water availability. The Read more about Utilizing Geospatial Analysis to Increase Water Availability in the American West—Rowan Sharkey[…]

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[…]

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[…]

Can Bison Shape the Prairie?—Ross Martin

 There’s a bull bison rolling on the ground. Hooves point skyward as the bull’s body moves—rocking, kicking, sliding on a carefully chosen patch of earth. Dust hangs in the hot summer air. Other bison look on at the commotion, then return to grazing. A calf imitates the bull, playfully rolling under mom’s legs. What are Read more about Can Bison Shape the Prairie?—Ross Martin[…]

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[…]

Signing the Colorado Soil Health Bill!—Darya Watnick

Two days after I landed in Denver to spend a month working and exploring Colorado, Governor Jared Polis signed HB 21-1181, “Concerning the creation of a voluntary soil health program”. It was rewarding and moving to be a part of this culminating ceremony as I have supported this bill and the people working on it Read more about Signing the Colorado Soil Health Bill!—Darya Watnick[…]

Computer Simulations and Soil Texture — Jon Michel

This summer, I worked with computer simulations to determine if soil texture was currently an important factor in competition between sagebrush and bunchgrasses. In the present scenario, it was determined to not have a significant effect. Currently, I’m studying how this effect changes as climate change progresses, and it looks like it could start to Read more about Computer Simulations and Soil Texture — Jon Michel[…]

Bottom-up, Big-tent Community Organizing — Darya Watnick

The Colorado Collaborative for Healthy Soils is a community-driven organization bringing together diverse voices of Colorado’s farmers and ranchers around soil health. The Collaborative works in a bottom-up, big-tent capacity to explore ways that soil health practices can be recognized, incentivized, and promoted at a state-wide level.  I have been working on grant applications on Read more about Bottom-up, Big-tent Community Organizing — Darya Watnick[…]