It’s been a busy several weeks since my last post, and I’ve gained many new skills even this far into the internship!
One of the possibly most useful jobs I’ve been trained on is how to complete Proper Functioning Condition (PFC) surveys. These surveys document the overall health of a landscape or allotment in order to evaluate past and future management strategies. We looked at both wetland/riparian health and grazing sites. These surveys investigate the vegetation community composition and health, the geology/structure, wildlife, and other aspects that are important to understand how the site is functioning. If an area show signs of an ecosystem in stress, such as if it has been accidentally overgrazed, it is important to know these conditions in order to adapt the current management strategy to encourage a sustainable future for that site. I can see using the techniques from PFCs for both future government work, or going into the environmental consulting industry, and I am very happy to have learned the methods.
I will begin collaboration with the Henderson, NV USGS and the Las Vegas BLM on a project to establish seed zones for restoration in the Mojave desert. I am very excited to contribute to this project and will be starting to collect plant tissue samples and seeds for genetic analysis and common garden studies.