Vernal venture

I wrote before about monitoring for endangered, sensitive and threatened plants. We have started to work more with the Seeds of Success program to identify potential populations for seed collection. What a great way to learn the flora of an area… to do seeds of success! We are in the field every day looking for large populations of native plants. We have a list of priority species, and when we identify populations we start by taking herbarium vouchers and assessing the seed potential seed production of the site.

Abronia fragrans

We have identified 11 potential populations, and think many will be ready for collection when we get back from Chicago!

Prairie Dogs, Pronghorns and Petroleum

So glad to get a CLM internship! I have been placed in the Vernal field office with the BLM. It is located in the beautiful Uintah Basin in Northeastern Utah. There is one other CLM intern placed here, so it has been nice to learn together.

In Vernal Utah, there is a lot of oil and natural gas development. The areas we have been to, so far, have been dotted with well pads. It is interesting to learn about the hopeful balance of resource use, conservation and recreation. I hope to learn more about the process of leasing land for oil development as the weeks go on.

Schoencrambe argillacea


Our work at the Vernal Field Office will be monitoring sensitive, threatened and endangered plant species populations and Seeds of Success work. The past three weeks we have been monitoring for three different species, all of which come with their own challenges. My favorite so far has been Schoencrambe argillacea (clay-reed mustard). It grows in nearly inaccessible places which made hiking sometimes exciting; including navigating through canyons and up steep slopes to find suitable habitat. It is a beautiful mustard, and I think the difficulty in finding it makes it even more endearing. Rare plant monitoring can be discouraging at times when we are not finding any plants, but it is exciting when we find new populations!
The weather has been mostly mild, but we did have snow the first week… and are having thunderstorms this week!

Thunderstorm West of Big Pack Mountain

I am so grateful to have this opportunity as a CLM intern, and I am sure that I will learn a lot from my mentor and co-workers, as well as the landscape.