Continuing on my adventure, I have consistently recorded the location of cattle for grazing compliance. I learned that cattle have a wonderful mind of their own. They know where those great riparian areas are and do not like to comply with not grazing in some of these areas. Of late, my partner and I have had to diligently check certain areas to make sure the cattle are not in them. The first day we didn’t see any was amazing! We will see if they continue on this trend of complying.
Besides checking riparian areas for cattle compliance, my partner and I have begun running an adapted habitat assessment framework for Sage Grouse (HAF) in an allotment up for NEPA renewal. Doing so has taught us a lot of new techniques we have not yet performed such as line-point intercept and canopy gap. Though we realized having mostly done riparian work, our plant recognition skills have diminished slightly. Now I feel more confident in my ability to identify those plants species I have not seen in quite some time. However, I still need help identifying those plants that have cured out. The Botanist on staff has been a great resource! Conducting adapted HAF assessments has lead to some interesting poses in the field. I feel like one just has to go with the flow maneuvering around and through the sagebrush.
I’m sure everyone has heard that there was a solar eclipse. Some of the other interns and myself took the day off to observe this phenomenon. I was beyond awesome. Lander had quite the flow of traffic. Between the eclipse and the local music bands playing that night, a huge amount of people were about! It was wonderful seeing so many people though I had to avoid the coffee shop because the wait was about an hour.
Recently on the weekends, another intern and I went up to Sinks Canyon State Park to slide down the rock slide. I had seen about a month before but the water was still flowing a bit too much for it to be safe and the water was freezing! I could hardly walk in the little pools we were by. This time on our hike, we were determined to slide down it. On a lower rock there were several people cheering others on that were afraid to go down. The encouragement was much appreciated. Hitting the water below literally took the breath out of me. It was ridiculously cold for being such a warm day but I am also not used to snow melt water. Though cold, I could resist going down the slide a few times before deciding it was time to dry off and head back down for dinner. The other intern and I have plans to go up again to slide down some more before it becomes too cold out.
Until next time,
– James Noyama
Bureau of Land Management – Lander Field Office Lander, Wyoming