With the moisture that we received in December, the Sonoran desert has bloomed! It is amazing to see how much growth has come up in such a short time. In the picture above you can see some wild horses that we came across which were taking advantage of all the wonderful green up. The desert holds so many secrets, while we have been out doing wildlife habitat monitoring, we came across a really unique box canyon that was nestled in a small mountain range. What is so unique is the vegetation that is able to survive in this canyon due to the shade from the canyon walls. It is a true oasis (without much or any standing water) within the desert. As seen from the pictures above, it is quite a unique place. Well, more to come next month!
We continue to work away in the Lower Sonoran Desert. Opportunities have been amazing as we continue to work on a number of projects. It is amazing to be able to expand my knowledge of the area as well as learn new skills. In just the short time since my last post I have had the ability to assist in installing a solar well for the endangered Sonoran pronghorn this will allow the agency to save money because of the expensive maintenance of the older wind mills. I also was able to assist in the relocation of some Sonoran pronghorn to the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge which was an amazing experience to just be a part of . With only a few hundred of these pronghorn left it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to be so close to them. I hope to have more exciting news next month!
As the work progresses and the desert begins to cool down, what seems like a desolate land springs to life. In the Lower Sonoran Desert we have continued
to work on our tortoise study. We are using ground data and literature to refine spatial modeling to help better predict tortoise locations. We are also helping through field work to make sure that valuable wildlife resources like
water drinkers are being maintained and not in need of repairs. Having the opportunity to hike in bighorn sheep country is astounding. The country in which they inhabit is truly challenging and show just how amazing they are. That is all for now but more to come soon…
What a wonderful time to be out in the Sonoran Desert. To have the opportunity to work for the Phoenix BLM is amazing. We currently are working with Sonoran Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassazii) within the Sonoran Desert National Monument. The field work is amazing and the desert is such a unique and diverse ecosystem. Our current monitoring techniques give us the opportunity to crawl into many unique rock formations with flashlights looking for these elusive desert creatures. It has been a great experience so far and I look forward to the opportunities that are ahead.