A Win for Science and Conservation: Protecting Research in Gothic, Colorado with a Conservation Easement — Margot Buckelew and Abbey Warner

Margot Buckelew and Abbey Warner, 2020 Western Resources Fellows with UHPSI at YSE, contributed to western conservation efforts this summer by lending their skills and support to two Colorado-based conservation organizations. Margot’s field research experience and ability to think critically allowed her to support a research team and analyze in-stream flow water rights for the Read more about A Win for Science and Conservation: Protecting Research in Gothic, Colorado with a Conservation Easement — Margot Buckelew and Abbey Warner[…]

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[…]

Improving Aquatic Habitat Connectivity in the Snake River Headwaters

Bryce is the Conservation Intern for Trout Unlimited’s Snake River Headwaters Initiative, a project in partnership with Wyoming Game and Fish Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, local governments, and various non-profit organizations. By measuring fish entrainment rates in agricultural diversions from the Snake River and its tributaries, surveying barriers to fish migration, and engaging Read more about Improving Aquatic Habitat Connectivity in the Snake River Headwaters[…]

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[…]

Non-Consumptive Water Rights as a Landscape Conservation Tool

Margot’s independent policy analysis investigates the governance structures in Colorado that allowed non-consumptive water rights to be claimed by private entities and how this has impacted the regional landscape. Non-consumptive, or in-stream water rights, ensure that at the location where the rights are claimed, the amount of water will not change in quality or quantity Read more about Non-Consumptive Water Rights as a Landscape Conservation Tool[…]

Eco-Sensible Crop Farming in the Northern Great Plains of Montana

Tim is working this summer at Vilicus Farms, a 10,000 acre, organic, dry land (not irrigated) specialty grain and pulse (edible legumes like beans and lentils) farm. A New Haven native and long-time NYC resident, he is departing from his city roots to farm in big sky country for the summer to learn first-hand how Read more about Eco-Sensible Crop Farming in the Northern Great Plains of Montana[…]

Soil Health and Soil Carbon Sequestration in Regenerative Agriculture

Darya is working with Mad Agriculture, an organization focusing on regenerative agriculture out of Boulder, Colorado. She is assisting the organization with projects in two realms: policy and soil carbon sequestration. Her policy-related work includes projects in conjunction with the Colorado Collaborative for Healthy Soils and preparing a grant application aimed to increase farmer engagement Read more about Soil Health and Soil Carbon Sequestration in Regenerative Agriculture[…]

Simulating the Recovery of Big Sagebrush Communities from Disturbances Due to Oil and Gas Extraction

At well pads—areas developed for oil and gas drilling—both the vegetation and topsoil are completely removed. After drilling infrastructure is installed, these areas are reclaimed, meaning the topsoil is then replaced, and the areas are seeded with various mixes of species. Despite reclamation efforts, big sagebrush communities have an extremely hard time returning to a Read more about Simulating the Recovery of Big Sagebrush Communities from Disturbances Due to Oil and Gas Extraction[…]

Narratives of the National Parks: Stories Told Through Data

Reid’s work aims to understand the history of the United States’ National Parks through the lens of historic visitation data. The National Parks Service manages over 300 park or park-like properties, spanning over 85 million acres. Beyond their vast spatial expanses, these national sites hold unique significance in the hearts and minds of many Americans. Read more about Narratives of the National Parks: Stories Told Through Data[…]

Assessing Climate Change Impacts to Waterways Near National Parks in the West

Humna is working with the water conservation team at National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) to assess anthropogenic threats to western waterways that run through or close to national parks. Recent policy rollbacks in legacy environmental laws, including the Waters of the United States Rule under the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the National Environmental Policy Read more about Assessing Climate Change Impacts to Waterways Near National Parks in the West[…]

A Brief Introduction to Chronic Wasting Disease — Meghan Hills

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an infection found in captive (farmed) and free-ranging (wild) members of the deer family (hereafter “cervids”) [1]. North American species known to be affected include white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus), and moose (Alces alces) [2,3]. First observed in 1967 in Colorado and Read more about A Brief Introduction to Chronic Wasting Disease — Meghan Hills[…]

Climate Vulnerability in the Crown of the Continent

UHPSI students collaborated with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to assist with a Landscape Conservation Design (LCD). The Crown Managers Partnership created this design to model spatially-explicit future conditions in the Crown of the Continent ecosystem, which encompasses parts of Montana, Alberta and British Columbia. As a preliminary step in LCD development, our student research Read more about Climate Vulnerability in the Crown of the Continent[…]

Impacts of Recreation on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

In partnership with the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative, UHPSI research assistants investigated trends, conditions, and projections surrounding recreation in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) to identify possible recreation ethics for the region. Growing negative impacts of recreation on the ecosystem necessitate a reevaluation of attitudes surrounding recreational access and growth. Through conversations with participants in Read more about Impacts of Recreation on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem[…]

High Stakes and High Emotions: The Significance of Herrera v. Wyoming —Meghanlata Gupta

In his powerful Indian law manifesto In the Courts of the Conqueror: The 10 Worst Indian Law Cases Ever Decided, accomplished lawyer and author Walter Echo-Hawk writes: “American law has often worked against Native Americans, legitimizing the appropriation of their property and the decline of their political, human, and cultural rights as indigenous peoples” (15). Read more about High Stakes and High Emotions: The Significance of Herrera v. Wyoming —Meghanlata Gupta[…]

Pulse of the River —Reid Lewis

The Southwest is a dry place. This statement should not surprise anyone; when you think of Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico, you think of Prickly Pear and Saguaro, desert sunsets and dusty streets. What may not so quickly come to mind are the rapidly growing cities of Los Angeles, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Denver, and Las Vegas. Read more about Pulse of the River —Reid Lewis[…]