Over the past month, I have had the opportunity to work on many new projects. The first being a hike through Sweetwater Canyon. This hike occurs every year when the Aspen and Willow leaves just start changing color. We were split into two teams; each team taking half of the canyon. The goals for the hike were to document changes in vegetation along the greenline, find, re-take, and GPS record location photos, and to find any stray cows that may have been missed. Though challenging, finding old photo locations was fun (we only had old photos to go off of) and rewarding. My team also looked for signs of Boreal Frogs in the canyon as we hiked and salamanders on some riparian areas outside the canyon where they had previously been recorded. Sadly, we didn’t find any.
After the canyon hike, we had a few days of not so pleasant weather. With that came a lot of office work. Office worked involved filing (which I enjoy a few good hours of filing), creating a master allotment file for the Wildlife people to use, and assisting with billing catch-up. Billing was an interesting task. We ended up having to redo a bunch of letters we had made because we were informed we did something wrong through no fault of our own. The person teaching us how to make the letters forgot to tell us about a portion so we ended up spending an extra day fixing our letters. This was no problem at all since the field was inaccessible.
Once the weather cooperated, we made our way back out into the field in search of cattle! By this time, most cattle had left the allotments in which we worked. We did find a few stragglers but they made it home. In searching for any cattle that may have been forgotten, my partner and I noticed many more horses. We couldn’t tell if we had just never noticed them because of our fixation on cattle or if more had shown up. Seeing them in such large herds was beautiful.
Currently, we are finishing up some final measurements in our key riparian areas, making some new fences safe for Sage Grouse, and starting an Environmental Assessment (EA) so we can get more experience with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). I look forward to the last month of this internship and all of the continuing education and experience I shall gain.