Lately, the internship with the BLM in Carson City has enabled me to experience the unusual. Among these new activities:
~Managing and analyzing the only data in existence on a picky little buckwheat that grows in diatomaceous soils in western Nevada. Currently on the USFWS candidate list, the determination to list the plant as threatened or endangered is based partially on the data we present.
~Wandering among abandoned, graffiti-ed buildings once used for processing ore that now need to be monitoring and treated for noxious weeds.
~Being among the first to traverse a new highway bridge still in construction. The construction managers are now restoring the slopes leading to a creek below the bridge that were filled in and re-excavated, and our job is to ensure the vegetation seeding and regrowth is occurring satisfactorily.
~On the same trip, being among the last to pass through a cement tunnel built over the aforementioned creek to protect it during construction. Half-dead willow trees still stand on shore and pigeons still fly among them. It felt like a strange take on Disneyland’s “It’s a Small World.”
I am eager to get out in the field even more and explore the secret lands of Nevada. It is rewarding to monitor and help restore these beautiful places to healthy ecosystems.