My internship originally was a whirlwind of scouting areas for seed collection. While doing this I got to witness majestic views of the high dessert. So far I have sent off 24 of my 32 seed collections to Bend Seed Extractory with a total of 74 pounds of seed shipped to date. My supervisor and I have laughed many times about my hidden box collection in the garage that I use for shipping seed off. The dessert has gone from the annual and perennial forbs painting the dessert a mirage of purple, pink, red, yellow, and white, to now being a sea of green and yellow as the rubber rabbitbrush and various sagebrush species are blooming. Last week I joined the Friends of the High Rock/ Black Rock Desert with taking out old fence in the Little High Rock Canyon Wilderness. Next week, if the weather holds, I will be picking my first cone producing species, the Washoe Pine.
But as the season has changed I have been working on a water resource project that spans 2 states and 5 counties. At first it was nerve wracking to come up with a way to find over 500 water resource sites and organize what paperwork was needed for each site. I also had to find what documentation was needed to update the out of date water resource files. For this project, I turned to ArcGIS and a pair of Trimbles in order to run the program that I established in ArcMap. Trimbles are great for field work and sometimes can prove difficult when they don’t always want to work. Learning how to program and use Trimbles has been a great experience for me and has given me another great skill to use for future field work.
Sometimes my sites aren’t where my GPS unit says they should be, so occasionally I end up going on a bit of a search to find them. On flat and open ground areas finding pit reservoirs, stock ponds, stock tanks, and other water resources are easier, but in dense vegetation or in mountains it gets a bit more difficult. Some of my favorite places to see are Graven Reservoir and Likely Mountain. Many of these places are very hard to reach by vehicle and most of the time I hike into the sites. At one of the sites I got within 100 yards of a coyote and at another site I saw an antelope with triplets. Now that fall has hit, the days are getting cooler and shorter. Today we had our first snow storm, though it rained in the valleys, and this change in weather is a signal that the seed collecting season is almost over and that it’s time to wrap up projects.
I hope everyone else has enjoyed the changing of the seasons where they are stationed!