Hello again from Dillon, MT. I cannot believe that it has already been a month since I last posted. Time is really flying, and I am grateful for the time spent here. My mentor and I have been kicking butt and establishing tons of upland and riparian trend monitoring within the Medicine Lodge watershed on our district. The monitoring is recommended based on the results of an environmental assessment completed on the watershed. Most monitoring is riparian related and based on the outcome of the Proper Functioning Condition stream assessments (or PFC). If a stream is rated as lower than PFC, (Nonfunctioning or functioning at risk) management changes are put into place in an attempt at restoring the riparian and spring areas. Some management changes I have seen involve the construction of a fence or spring exclosure, which usually keeps cattle, and not wildlife out of the area. Sometimes if the manager sees fit, a spring will be developed to support a water trough which directs cattle away from the riparian areas, but also provides a steady supply of drinking water. Pasture rest rotation or shorter grazing cycles can be another management change that gives the area time to heal over the growing season. Trend monitoring is another way to monitor grazing allotments and see change over time before having the need to implement more strict management changes. When deciding these management changes, the resource managers must work with grazing permitees.
I am really happy to be working for this district, because they put a huge emphasis on the importance of watershed management and the proper care of riparian areas. My next task will be completing Montana Riparian and Wetland Assesments (MRWA) which also relates to updating rangeland EAs. A lot of camping and stream walking is involved in completing MRWAs. Other than that, I am really enjoying the scenery and looking forward to starting graduate school at Oregon State University in the Fall. Until next time,