Evaluating Mesic Restoration Efforts in Montana with Geospatial Tools

In conjunction with The Nature Conservancy-Montana (TNC), Montana Conservation Corps (MCC), and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), our team is creating a protocol to evaluate the impacts of low-tech stuctures, sometimes referred to as beaver dam analogs, that have been installed in central Montana. This protocol will leverage GIS and remote sensing technologies, challenging our team Read more about Evaluating Mesic Restoration Efforts in Montana with Geospatial Tools[…]

Funding Priorities for Improving Ecological Value and Agricultural Viability on Colorado Rangelands

Kathleen Voight is working with the Additive Conservation department of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) to determine funding priorities for their internally-managed Agricultural Resiliency Fund. CCALT holds easements over 700,000 acres of ranchland across Colorado, with the goal of conserving working landscapes for the benefit of future generations. The Agricultural Resiliency Fund will Read more about Funding Priorities for Improving Ecological Value and Agricultural Viability on Colorado Rangelands[…]

Utilizing Geospatial Analysis to Increase Water Availability in the American West—Rowan Sharkey

Being a research assistant with the Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative at YSE  has afforded me a variety of opportunities to expand my knowledge in the field of mesic restoration in the western United States. Focusing on a region that is highly susceptible to drought events creates an interesting challenge when tracking water availability. The Read more about Utilizing Geospatial Analysis to Increase Water Availability in the American West—Rowan Sharkey[…]

Stepping Out of the Steppe—Rachel Renne

As temperatures climbed this summer, so did the elevations of the plots that I visited. My gradual ascent was an attempt to capture the plant community of each site at a time when I would be able to detect and identify most of the plant species. Higher elevations mean lower temperatures, and while many grasses Read more about Stepping Out of the Steppe—Rachel Renne[…]

A Note from the Steppe—Rachel Renne

As a kid growing up in Florida, we were warned that the hottest part of the day was between noon and 2 pm. My mother insisted that we come inside during these hours to avoid the heat and what she considered to be the riskiest time for sunburns. Yet, at 4:30 pm today in this Read more about A Note from the Steppe—Rachel Renne[…]

Energy Use and Access on the Hopi Reservation

Delaney is working with the Hopi Utility Authority to better understand electricity and energy use on the Hopi Reservation. Her research examines energy burden, both in its monetary manifestations as-well as its emotional and temporal manifestations. Through semi-structured interviews she is determining the current energy paradigm and use patterns of households and sentiments regarding electricity. Read more about Energy Use and Access on the Hopi Reservation[…]

Wreckreation? Livelihood, Labor, Work, Play, and the Environment in the Rural American West

Industry, based on landscape, has been foundational to the American West’s cultural and ideological underpinnings. The extraction and outdoor recreation industries are two of these core industries, both reliant on the vast public lands and natural resources of the West. These industries are both economic drivers, yet often seen in moral opposition, a binary on Read more about Wreckreation? Livelihood, Labor, Work, Play, and the Environment in the Rural American West[…]

Defining Spring in a Dynamic World—Rob Anderson

What is spring? This may seem like an obvious question, but over the last few months I have come to appreciate that it is not as easy to answer as I once thought. The definition of springtime may change depending on where you are, who you are, and what you deem to be important in Read more about Defining Spring in a Dynamic World—Rob Anderson[…]

Clay, Silt, Sand, and Data: Revealing Soil Organic Carbon on Native Lands

Raffa is supporting Indigenous data-empowerment efforts by researching how Tribal Nations may engage with soil carbon markets, which offer compensation to land managers who build up Soil Carbon on their land through regenerative rangeland practices or agriculture. He will be working with Aude Chesnais (Native Land Information Systems), Dr. Justin Farrell (Yale), and Dr. Kyle Read more about Clay, Silt, Sand, and Data: Revealing Soil Organic Carbon on Native Lands[…]

Elevating Native Led Bison Restoration Stories on the Great Plains

Ross is partnering with Tanka Fund, a Native led non-profit on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Tanka Fund’s mission is to return bison to native land, lives, and economies across North America. Ross is providing support to the Tanka Fund through the creation of a promotional storytelling campaign that highlighs Indigenous bison Read more about Elevating Native Led Bison Restoration Stories on the Great Plains[…]

The New Frontier: Carbon or Conservation?—Raffa Sindoni

The rapidly expanding carbon-offsetting market casts a shadow across Western conservation movements.  Although carbon markets are praised by some as a leading climate change solution, the morality and efficacy of this free-market phenomenon is hotly debated by academics, Indigenous activists, corporate titans, and environmentalists across the spectrum.  So, what exactly is carbon-offsetting and how does Read more about The New Frontier: Carbon or Conservation?—Raffa Sindoni[…]

Bison Restoration: Pursuing Environmental Justice on the Great Plains—Ross Martin

Bison are a uniquely important species in North America’s past, present, and future. They are a keystone species that maintains and enhances ecological function in grassland ecosystems. Bison long supported Indigenous cultures, and their slaughter enabled the United States’ bloody conquest of the continent. The disappearance of the large herds disrupted human, plant, and wildlife Read more about Bison Restoration: Pursuing Environmental Justice on the Great Plains—Ross Martin[…]

Framing the “New West”— Molly Ryan

The “Old West” and the “New West.” These terms are often used to characterize the transformation of rural western economies and communities from places oriented around extractive industries to those based around natural amenities and recreation (Bryson & Wyckoff, 2010; Krannich et al., 2011; Shumway & Otterstrom, 2001). This transformation is driven by in-migration from Read more about Framing the “New West”— Molly Ryan[…]

What’s Behind Oregon’s New Law Mandating Overtime Pay for Farmworkers and What Might it Mean for Farmers in the State? — Shannon Bell

Labor shortages became very salient in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the agricultural industry has been reckoning with labor shortages and the equity concerns around farm labor conditions for years. One of the primary factors behind both the decline in willing farm labor and the outcry among farmworker advocates has been the Read more about What’s Behind Oregon’s New Law Mandating Overtime Pay for Farmworkers and What Might it Mean for Farmers in the State? — Shannon Bell[…]