So far, the new year has been relatively calm, as the West Eugene Wetlands is in its slow season. January consisted of a small amount of field work; last fall my partner and I began preparations for endangered plant species augementation. We set up three new macroplots in which plant species will be planted in the spring. We then covered each macroplot with shadecloth to control invasive species that may crowd out the endangered species. In January, we revisited the macroplots to make sure that nothing had happened to the shade cloth. At two of the sites everything was fine, but at one site, we arrived to find several sections of the shadecloth ripped up and what appeared to be a dead animal lying smack in the middle of the macroplot. The supposed dead animal was actually a very ominous and unnerving stuffed animal–a cat, with wide staring eyes that seemed to follow us as we examined the shadecloth. Under the stuffed animal’s scrutiny, we determined that the ripped shadecloth was most likely caused by a coyote looking for food beneath the shadecloth, which will require us to return and patch the holes.
Oregon’s unusual weather continues to persist, I woke up this morning, looked out the window to find a fine layering of snow on the ground. We’ve had our second snow fall in two months, which is nearly unheard of in Eugene. And while I am getting more experienced in driving in snowy weather, at the same time I can’t help but hope for the typical rainy weather of a Willamette Valley winter.