From the desert to the river

Vernal has proven itself to be a unique place with the opportunity to work in both the sagebrush/oilfield habitat to the south where the work is primarily cactus monitoring (Sclerocactus wetlandicus/Sclereocactus brevispinus) to a whole different habitat working in the riparian areas of the upper Green River to the north.

The cactus monitoring provides a look into the life of the office botanists whose job is to make sure that well pads and right of ways are not constructed in areas that could potentially be harmful to the threatened species of the area. The work I have been able to do so far has provided the data for my co-workers to make informed decisions about permitting.

The work on the Green River provides a whole new life. The main work on the river is invasive removal which has been predominately common teasel thus far. The next stage of this work is just beginning this week with the surveying of some lower sections of the river for Russian Olive. The surveying that began earlier this week will provide the data to determine both the amount of work in store as well as the amount of seed that will be needed for the restoration effort that will go hand in hand with the removal.

I am enjoying being able to work in varying ecosystems in order to provide myself with a more diverse background. Thanks CLM!

Josh Merkel
BLM Vernal

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