Last Day at the Jarbidge

The last 7 months have been quit the learning experience for me. I have made life long friendships and gained a plethora of knowledge. I am joining the Idaho State Dept. of Ag team on Monday for a full time permanent position doing Livestock Investigations. I will also be evaluating environmental compliance with CAFO’s (Confined animal feeding operations) . I am looking forward to my new adventure. Thank you for the opportunity of the CLM internship!

Changing of the Season

As fall approaches I am both grateful and surprised to get an extension on my Internship. I have had a wonderful experience in the Jarbidge Field Office. My mentor Pattie Jo Courtney is fun to work with, not to mention I continue to learn a lot from her. I am looking forward to the change of weather in October and starting a couple new projects. We are starting to look for slick spot pepper grass, Lepidium papilliferum, code LEPA. There are grid groups set up within the field office in different pastures. These grid groups are designed based on soil condition, plant species, and other environmental factors to best find the slick spot pepper grass. I have been walking the grids with a Juno GPS for about 2 weeks and I am not finding any LEPA. However, I have seen some sage grouse and I enjoy hiking across the desert, I get approximately 8 to 10 miles per day.
I will continue to do some wetland inventory as long as the weather allows me to get into the field. Wetland inventory includes finding the main wetland species, taking pictures and determine if the shape is the same as previous years. If it is, I take a point on the Juno and fill in the data dictionary. If the wetland is a different shape, I will take a polygon with the Juno and continue on with the information in the data dictionary.
That’s about it for now, until next time. Be Safe!

Update from Jarbidge Field Office

Hello…. I am the only Intern left in the BLM Jarbidge Field Office. I am doing grazing re-intro and soon will be monitoring end use for range. I am also doing wetland inventory. This takes me to some very interesting places within the desert. I get to hike into canyons to complete the inventory. I enjoy working with the folks at the BLM and I have learned a lot from them. My Mentor, Pattie Jo Courtney is a highly motivated Natural Resource Monitoring Specialist that I enjoy working with and learning from.

Jarbidge Field Office

   Hello from Southern Idaho.   We have been camping for three weeks in the Jarbidge Field Office at Buck Flat Well.  My Mentor Pattie Jo Courtney assigned me crew lead and this is my fabulous crew.  From left to right, Dan, Me (Lori Shafer), Holt, and Kent.  We enter all of our data on the lap top or toughbook, this makes uploading to the data base a breeze when we get back to the office.  I am having a great time and love working in the field.  Everyday is an adventure.

Wrapping up Upland Trend

Hello from Idaho…  We wrapped up today with our last upland trend site.  The forbs are getting dry and a little hard to identify.  We will be continuing our HAF sites for sage grouse, which we only identify perennial forbs.  These sites are further south in higher elevation and the forbs are still plentiful and fairly easy to id.  Next week we are going to Indian Hot Springs and looking for a special status plant, Epipacits gigantea the common name is chatterbox orchid.  We have to float the Bruneau River to properly scan the entire area along the reach. Looking forward to it, until next time.

Elk in Velvet

We are seeing some beautiful and impressive wildlife in the Jarbidge Field Office in Southern Idaho: Elk in Velvet, Prong Horn, Mule Deer, Badgers, Hawks, Horney Toads, Pheasants, Chuckers, Bull Snakes, Rattle Snakes, and of course the illusive Sage Grouse. Every day is an adventure!  The field studies we are performing are upland trend, HAF Habitat Assessment Framework for sage grouse, riparian, ferruginous hawk, special status plants, water fowl observations, wetland inventory and sage grouse lek counts.

We are going to start camping in remote areas of the field office starting June 10th.  This will put us in the appropriate area to start our upland trend and HAF monitoring earlier in the day and cut down our travel time to the sites.  We will definitely get more done in a week then traveling 2 hours to and from the main office in Twin Falls, Idaho.

This internship is giving me a different aspect of the desert than I am used to.  I live and work on my family’s cattle ranch here in Southern Idaho. My boys are the 6th generation to grow up on our ranch.  We have a permit to run our cattle on public lands and I am  learning more about the very desert my family makes a living on. 

I have also met some awesome folks that are working on the monitoring crew.  We get a lot of work done everyday and have a great learning experience as well.

Fun Times and Hard Work in the Jarbidge Field Office

The first three weeks here in the Jarbidge Field Office BLM, have been jammed packed full days with safety trainings and monitoring trainings. We planted 7,000 sage brush seedlings with the local high school kids. This was a collaborative rehabilitation effort with Idaho Fish and Game and the Bureau of Land Management.
Sage Grouse is under a microscope in the Western US and I have been checking their leks a couple days a week. I have to arrive at the first Lek a half hour before sunrise. So I am leaving the office at 4:30 to 5:00 am. It takes a couple hours to monitor the route; each route has approximately 6 leks. I count the males and females, temperature, wind etc… I have 4 Leks total to monitor and I will run each Lek 3 times during the strutting season. I am also being trained on Sage Grouse Habitat Assessment Framework (HAF) a multi-scale habitat assessment tool. This is great experience that can be added to my resume.