Welcome to the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Great Basin! This is the first week of my invasive species/noxious weeds internship with Dean Tonenna, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Botanist, in Carson City, Nevada. Dean wasted no time putting myself and two other interns out in the field on an experimental native plant relocation project Monday. Who knew my first day would involve a little bit of “gardening” in the desert?
Two other interns and myself jumped right in on Monday with salt grass rhizome collecting. Tuesday morning found us in a collaborative meeting with several other local agencies and non-profit organizations who are focused on invasive species and noxious weeds eradication. Dean updated the group on some of the BLM projects and welcomed feedback from the other groups. After lunch, we headed north of Reno to Swan Lake. We planted rows of salt grass rhizomes along the bank; our transplantation is experimental. Our goal is to establish a healthy population of salt grass at Swan Lake to combat erosion and dominance by cattails and invasive species/noxious weeds. Before leaving the site, we took a moment to enjoy the little “garden” we had planted. You can enjoy our “garden” too (see below)!
In addition to efforts revolving around the Seeds of Success and invasive and noxious weeds programs, we will be developing an interactive map of Swan Lake using ESRI’s Story Map program. We will be partnering with a local teacher to develop the Swan Lake map and other curriculum that meet state standards. This is a unique opportunity for the BLM and other agencies to collaborate with the local schools to teach students about the important ecological properties of Swan Lake and the current conservation challenges facing the BLM and other land managers.
I look forward to meeting the rest of the six-member team in the coming weeks and learning about the ecology, geology, and botany of the Sierra Nevadas and the Great Basin! While I am excited to learn about the native and noxious vascular plants of the Great Basin and Sierra Nevadas, my heart belongs to the lichens. Therefore, I am also looking forward to collecting and identifying lichens while out in the field working on other projects. Bring on the botany!
-Maggie Gray, Sierra Front Field Office, Carson City, Bureau of Land Management