The last couple of weeks working out of the Carson City, NV BLM office have been exciting ones. Much effort from my fellow botany interns and I has concentrated around the rare plant Ivesia webberi, a species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Across our district many range improvement projects are proposed that happen to occur within the range of Ivesia webberi. In order to be in compliance with NEPA and the ESA these project sites need to be surveyed to ensure that the proposed action will not harm existing populations of the rare plant. My fellow interns and I spent several days marching across the range ten feet apart searching for the rare plant and not finding it. From the standpoint of implementing these range improvement projects this was a good thing, however we as botanists were left wanting to see the plant thriving in significant numbers.
This past week we all got our wish. With the surveys complete, we returned to known populations to complete annual monitoring. In these isolated pockets Ivesia webberi occurred in abundance and was in full bloom! Once the permanently established plots were located we collected detailed data including canopy cover, nested frequency and measurements for each individual Ivesia plant.
Last week I was able to attend Wetland Delineation training in Sacramento as an alternative to the CBG training in Chicago. Maggie Grey has already reported wonderfully on this experience, so I will just quickly echo her sentiments. The two instructors were excellent, having both formally worked with the Army Corps of Engineers, one of whom had helped write the wetland delineation manual itself. This course taught me valuable skills and I would recommended it to my fellow interns. Finally, I was able to snap a couple of photos of those awesome vernal pools which Maggie described: