Monitor Monitor Monitor

It’s pretty hard to believe that I’ve been in Buffalo for 11 weeks. In some respects, it seems as though it’s flying by. I still have lots to learn, there are some exciting wildlife projects on the horizon, and days almost never drag. In other respects, though, it feels like I’ve been here forever. I was out in Montana a few weekends ago, and a friendly cashier asked me where I was from. “Buffalo, Wyoming,” I said, with only a little hesitation. And that was that. Certainly weird, but exciting, too – this place is becoming my home.

My time as a range intern is wrapping up as the range plants are curing into a prickly and impossible-to-identify caramel/taupe/tan/gold mass. It looks more like a sea of fun-shaped pasta than the lush fields of June and July, so we’re beginning to focus more specifically on wildlife projects, such as prioritizing areas for fence marking, standardizing a sage-grouse pellet count methodology, and using the Anabat to identify local resident bat populations.

Our main transitional project was the development of a riparian monitoring procedure for a section of the Tongue River (read Anya’s post too: “Land Management and the Act of Monitoring”). It will be a useful tool for the range specialists because the area is leased to ranchers for cow grazing, and it’s important to the wildlife biologists because the land immediately bordering the Tongue is a thruway for migratory birds. I hope (and think) that we’ve been comprehensive enough that we’re leaving a Welch monitoring legacy for generations of CBG interns to come… Here’s what it looks like:

Taking pictures of cover boards is a useful way to monitor changes in vertical structure. Please note the board's most impressive feature: a built-in, data-holding arm.

Greenline monitoring includes determining streambank alteration, woody species regeneration, dominant and co-dominant species, and streambank stability.

Vegetation along permanent transects is monitored with a Daubenmire frame

A spider we found on one of the transects.

Over and out!

Miriam Johnston
Buffalo, Wyoming

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