Greetings from Northeastern California!
It’s finally starting to feel like winter here, as I am writing this in the middle of “The Worst Storm California has had in Years”, according to weather.com. While it is only raining here in the valley, the nearby mountains should be getting a foot or two of snow!
I’ve been working on a few projects lately. I am working with the ELFO hydrologist to install some stream monitoring equipment in all the streams in our field office. The equipment we are installing measures the water temperature and the flow of the streams. It is nice to still be out doing field-work, and I am learning a lot about hydrology from working with the hydrologist. I did not expect to learn about hydrology when I signed up for a botany internship, but this is one of the great things about CLM: you gain experience in a lot of different areas.
Installing the equipment only takes about an hour, but getting to the locations takes some time. Yesterday I was hiking in some dense clay mud that stuck to my boots in giant clumps. It made hiking difficult, especially hiking over rocks, as the muddied-up boots had no grip on the rocks. This, with a 60 pound pack full of tools and steel pipes, can make climbing into a rocky canyon quite difficult. Nonetheless, we have successfully installed equipment at 6 streams so far.
I am also working on a project known as FIAT. (We have yet to be sued by the european car company). FIAT stands for Fire and Invasives Assessment Team. It is an effort to improve habitat for sage grouse. The biggest threats to sage grouse are conifer encroachment, fire, and invasive annual grasses. This project aims at pinpointing where these threats are most prevalent, and coming up with strategies to limit their impacts. I am helping with the GIS side of things. I have been attending meetings at several BLM offices and helping the ELFO GIS specialist create project area polygons. It has been interesting going to the different offices and seeing how much everyone knows about the land in their field office.
In other news, I broke my finger playing football on Thanksgiving. It hasn’t impacted my work at all, but it has made typing this entry a bit frustrating. The good news is, I have a doctors appointment in Reno tomorrow morning, and Reno is only 30 minutes from Mt. Rose Ski Resort, so… IM SKIING 2 FEET OF FRESH POWDER TOMORROW!!!!