I finished up my internship in Northeast Oregon as summer came to an end. The weather seemed to herald the autumn arrival with cooler days and much needed rain. Even our local mountains, the Elkhorns, had a dusting of snow! I started with the thaw of spring and left with the (slight) chill of fall. I will certainly miss the beautiful landscape that surrounded our office with its seemingly endless open space to explore.
My final month(s) of my internship were a mixture of water quality monitoring, riparian assessments, office work and a few fish surveys! I was very excited to have the opportunity to wok with our fish biologist, learning about the life cycle of salmon and how to find ideal salmon habitat, such as redd sites throughout our rivers. We took a tour of a large scale creek restoration project, focusing improving salmon spawning. I was fascinated by the different techniques and specialities involved with creating viable salmonoid habitat from constructing channel shifts to re-vegetation of banks.
In my final weeks at the BLM, I finished up my independent project of determining thermal regimes of streams within the Powder River Basin. I was specifically examining how grazing may be impacting the stream temperatures by complying historic temperature and grazing data, along with flow levels, elevation and a variety of other factors. After analyzing the data through correlations and linear regression models, I found there was a notable positive relationship between the level of grazing and maximum average temperature. Other factors, such as elevation and percent of BLM ownership, also had a role. My report suggests further examination of stream temperatures in the basin as my analysis was limited in scope, but showed there exists potential effects of grazing.
My internship through the Chicago Botanic Garden has given me a good perspective of the management side of conservation. Before CBG, I had mostly been involved on the research side of examining impacts and recommending shifts in management. Carrying out the objectives of any management plan has its successes and obstacles. I have seen or heard how many plans have to be alter once implementation begins in the field. Through my independent project, I learned about how many government agencies work on improving the efficacy of restoration plans through cycles of research and monitoring. The success of restoration and conservation relies on both. Monitoring often provides the long term data that research relies on for trends. These trends are the starting point for many a research question. As someone who is thoroughly invested in pursuing a research career, I enjoyed coming to understand the role monitoring serves not only for management plans but also future scientific study.
I would like to thank Krissa, Rebecca, and the rest of CBG.
Vale District Office, BLM