Sierras and Great Basin

An expanse of open land, unimpeded in its darkness, spread out before me in all directions.

Although I missed out on a cross-country road trip, my midnight flight from O’Hare to Reno Tahoe Int’l. provided perspective to the scope and scale of the landscape I was entering.  Where ~80% of the state is public land, I felt incredibly excited to be embarking on a 9-month adventure with the BLM in Carson City, Nevada.

Before I knew it, I was settling into our shared housing, familiarizing myself with the area, and fast becoming friends with my awesome intern team.

View from our backyard, looking west, Carson Range

My first two weeks were filled with training, herbarium work, conservation plans, and preparations for the field season.  We completed a variety of training sessions including a lengthy ArcGIS marathon.  I learned about the local herbarium system and helped mount plant specimens from past years.  We started developing official conservation plan documents for sensitive Nevada plants and prepared for our five-day herbicide applicator course in Boise, ID at the end of the month.

Desk station, GIS training, accompanied by Intermountain Flora and apple

Just today we were able to get out in the field and complete a few tasks thanks to the warm dry weather.  We collected sections of Willow (Salix sp.) saplings and buried them in moist soil packets underground to elicit growth of new root systems.  We also used spades to remove invasive Thistles (Cirsium spp.) throughout the study plot area.

Field site, East of Carson City

Elsewhere, we are able to take advantage of the amazing outdoor recreation opportunities that Western Nevada has to provide! My first day in NV wasn’t complete until we hit the Reno Climbing Gym. I shredded my fingers.  Endless mountain bike and running trails are found within a mile of our house.  Last weekend we visited a place twenty minutes from Carson City that received 30 feet of snow this winter – Lake Tahoe. We explored the lakeside towns, hiked a beautiful ridge overlook, and have plans to go back tomorrow for skiing!

Running trails, Carson City

Example of Tahoe Snow

Eagle Rock overlook, West Lake Tahoe

As soon as the rain and snowfall from the region’s record-breaking winter allow, we’ll be exploring the Sierra Nevadas and Great Basin Desert further to work towards the goals of the BLM CCDO Botany Dept., Seeds of Success Program, and CLM Internship.

Carson City District Office – BLM

Connor Kotte