In Colorado’s San Luis Valley, what happened in Crowley County is something of a ghost story.—Cloe Dickson

The two communities are not close, at least not geographically. From Alamosa County, the largest city in the San Luis Valley, Crowley County’s namesake town lies some 150 miles to the southeast. La Veta Pass, the route of the old Denver Rio Grande Railroad, offers east-west access through the magnificent Sangre de Cristo mountains, whose Read more about In Colorado’s San Luis Valley, what happened in Crowley County is something of a ghost story.—Cloe Dickson[…]

Enhancing working lands in Colorado

Darya’s main project is facilitating the Colorado Coalition to Enhance Working Lands (CO-CEWL). CO-CEWL works to improve the resilience and productivity of Colorado farming and ranching lands through the creation of viable agricultural businesses and rural communities, protecting open space, and increasing the ecosystem service benefits of working lands. Darya is writing a two-year strategic Read more about Enhancing working lands in Colorado[…]

Proposing County Payment Reforms that Incentivize Conservation of Public Forestland

Shannon is working with Oregon Wild, a non-governmental organization in Oregon dedicated to the conservation of forests and wildlife across the state. She is researching and developing an alternate model for the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) legislation, which has provided payments to historically timber-dependent counties in order to support them as timber harvests decline. The Read more about Proposing County Payment Reforms that Incentivize Conservation of Public Forestland[…]

Community-led water resilience in the Los Angeles River Watershed

Ryanna is supporting the Council for Watershed Health (CWH) in promoting integrated regional watershed management in the greater Los Angeles region. Her projects include supporting Watershed Coordinators with the Safe Clean Water Program, an initiative that captures and cleans stormwater while generating new opportunities for open space preservation. Ryanna is also conducting water sampling and Read more about Community-led water resilience in the Los Angeles River Watershed[…]

Impact of land use change policies on carbon sequestration capacity of natural and working lands in the US Climate Alliance western states

Kyle is working with The Nature Conservancy, North America Natural Climate Solutions Team. He will complete a regional land use planning policy analysis for a group of Western States that are part of the US Climate Alliance (Oregon, Washington, California, New Mexico, Nevada, Montana, Colorado). His synthesis policy research and workshops aim to build Western Read more about Impact of land use change policies on carbon sequestration capacity of natural and working lands in the US Climate Alliance western states[…]

Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation—Grace Hilbert

No two conservation projects are the same, which is why the Conservation Measures Partnership (CMP) developed the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation, also referred to as the Conservation Standards (previously the Open Standards). These Standards are an adaptable framework that brings together common concepts, approaches, and terminology to help make conservation efforts more Read more about Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation—Grace Hilbert[…]

Changing Narratives in a Pandemic Summer — Reid Lewis

When’s the last time you were dancing? Really going for it, with sweat and chaos and flashing lights? For me it was New Year’s Eve in a quaint, bizarre ballroom that seemed better designed for blackbox theater than a late night of revelry. It was warm and there was poor air circulation; a strange entry Read more about Changing Narratives in a Pandemic Summer — Reid Lewis[…]

Highlighting the “Impacts of COVID-19 On The Rural West: Material Needs, Economic Recovery, Political Attitudes” Report from the Rural West Covid Project

Yale School of the Environment’s Professor Dr. Justin Farrell and his lab received National Science Foundation funding to research the impacts of Covid-19 on the rural West. The team worked rapidly and has published an initial report, “Impacts of COVID-19 On The Rural West: Material Needs, Economic Recovery, Political Attitudes”, which summarizes survey results from Read more about Highlighting the “Impacts of COVID-19 On The Rural West: Material Needs, Economic Recovery, Political Attitudes” Report from the Rural West Covid Project[…]

Now Hiring Students and Open House

Ucross High Plain Stewardship Initiative (UHPSI) is now HIRING graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in courses to work as research assistants or speaker coordinators during the academic year (September/Oct 2020– May 2021). Projects focus on applied conservation and stewardship issues in the West and collaborate with western partners. All work will be completed remotely.  Information on how to apply and projects Read more about Now Hiring Students and Open House[…]

A River Saved: Yampa, Water, Energy, and Climate Change — Humna Sharif

The life of the Yampa River has many important lessons, it remains the wildest tributary to the Colorado River system and makes up a significant share of the Upper Basin’s water flows. The Yampa River provides a 3rd of flows to the Green River, which is the largest tributary to the Colorado River. With the Read more about A River Saved: Yampa, Water, Energy, and Climate Change — Humna Sharif[…]

Exploring New Approaches to Grassland Conservation in Wyoming—Katie Pofahl and Humna Sharif

Two students from the Yale School of the Environment’s Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative teamed up with The Nature Conservancy in Wyoming to deepen the culture of conservation in these iconic grasslands. With over 13.2 million acres, the grasslands of Thunder Basin, Wyoming are part of a patchwork of federal, state, and private land that Read more about Exploring New Approaches to Grassland Conservation in Wyoming—Katie Pofahl and Humna Sharif[…]

Large landscapes Need Large-Scale Collaboration: Efforts to protect ecosystem diversity in the vast American West—Margot Buckelew

Western landscapes create a set of unique challenges for natural resource managers because the ecosystems cover a vast area of land and include diverse environmental conditions. For example, alpine ecosystems have short growing seasons, grasslands are dry and turn fierce in the winters, and wildfires blaze through western forests seasonally. In addition, the species found Read more about Large landscapes Need Large-Scale Collaboration: Efforts to protect ecosystem diversity in the vast American West—Margot Buckelew[…]

Understanding Community Perceptions of Recreation and Wildlife in Jackson, Wyoming

As Jackson Hole’s visiting population increases exponentially and recreation use continues to climb, Bryce and Bea are working with the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative to investigate how to balance Jackson’s growing recreation habits while preserving its existing ecosystems and wildlife. By conducting interviews with Jackson recreators, the team hopes to gain a greater understanding of Read more about Understanding Community Perceptions of Recreation and Wildlife in Jackson, Wyoming[…]

From Zero to 9,600 Organic Acres in Montana’s Great Plains — Tim Ibbotson-Sindelar

I arrived at the farm on a Saturday three weeks ago. I drove for three days from Philadelphia to Hill County, Montana. The land first became flat and mostly treeless in eastern North Dakota, where I spent my second night on the road. The third and final day of driving was uninterrupted flatness. Though while Read more about From Zero to 9,600 Organic Acres in Montana’s Great Plains — Tim Ibbotson-Sindelar[…]

Soil Texture and Plant Concentration on Oil Well Pad Reclamation Sites in Wyoming

Jon is investigating the relationship between soil texture and the concentration of woody plants and perennial bunch grasses on oil well pad reclamation sites in Wyoming’s sagebrush steppe. Soil texture is an important factor in soil water storage, because it affects water movement speed through soil. In dry areas, where water is scarce, soil texture Read more about Soil Texture and Plant Concentration on Oil Well Pad Reclamation Sites in Wyoming[…]