Climate Change and Plant Communities: Reshaping Ecosystems for Livestock and Wildlife — Scott Carpenter

During the month of August, I was unfortunate enough to be impacted by two extreme weather events associated with climate change. In Wyoming, multiple field days were cut short due to hazardous air quality resulting from the ongoing wildfires in California and Oregon. While 2020 saw the second highest acreage burned since 1960 (the highest Read more about Climate Change and Plant Communities: Reshaping Ecosystems for Livestock and Wildlife — Scott Carpenter[…]

Global change and root production: how does land use and climate change affect life belowground? — Uthara Vengrai

Roots do everything. They are the connector between plants and soil–the interface at which many of the transactions of life are made. Roots (with the help of their mycorrhizal associates) conduct a plant’s search for nutrients, water, and shelter. They scour the soil for the ingredients of life and support whole ecosystems of microorganisms, plants, Read more about Global change and root production: how does land use and climate change affect life belowground? — Uthara Vengrai[…]

Augmenting local water supplies in Southern California: Difficult Tradeoffs — Ryanna Fossum

Our day-to-day experience with fresh water varies drastically depending on where in the country we live. This week, as I pulled off a highway in Connecticut to avoid the torrential downpour from Hurricane Henri, I thought about my work back home in Los Angeles to adapt to long-term drought. If I had superpowers, one of Read more about Augmenting local water supplies in Southern California: Difficult Tradeoffs — Ryanna Fossum[…]

Why Water Utilities Should Invest in Natural (Green) Infrastructure — Lily Colburn

Water utilities provide drinking, wastewater, and stormwater services to millions of people across the United States, including for residential, commercial, and industrial uses. These essential service providers are responsible for offering safe and affordable resources to their customers, which include identifying, protecting, and enhancing a drinking water source, pumping water from the source to a Read more about Why Water Utilities Should Invest in Natural (Green) Infrastructure — Lily Colburn[…]

Natural (Green) Infrastructure in Oregon

Lily is a Financial Analyst Intern with the Natural Infrastructure Initiative at the World Resources Institute (WRI). She is researching the relationship between resilient water utilities and environmental health. In particular, Lily’s work is centered on the need for more widespread financing and funding opportunities for natural (green) infrastructure projects in Oregon. She is researching Read more about Natural (Green) Infrastructure in Oregon[…]

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[…]

Behind the scenes of LA’s most ambitious water resiliency effort: The Safe, Clean, Water Program—Ryanna Fossum

Over three years have passed since voters approved Measure W in 2018 to increase water supply, improve water quality, and provide overall community benefits to Los Angeles County.  Now approaching its third funding cycle, the Safe Clean Water Program (SCWP) is confronting more questions than ever about how to invest in the region’s water future.  Read more about Behind the scenes of LA’s most ambitious water resiliency effort: The Safe, Clean, Water Program—Ryanna Fossum[…]

Perceptions of Water Export in Colorado’s San Luis Valley

Cloe will be spending the summer in Alamosa, Colorado, where she is conducting independently-led research on the San Luis Valley’s response to past and ongoing attempts to export water out of the region. The San Luis Valley is a high alpine desert in southern Colorado known for its long and enduring agricultural tradition and as Read more about Perceptions of Water Export in Colorado’s San Luis Valley[…]

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[…]

Trouble in Paradise: Native Fish Entrainment in the Ditches of Jackson Hole, WY—Bryce Powell

The words “irrigation canal” conjure images of concrete systems and dirty water, but in Jackson, Wyoming, everything is touched by the finger of King Midas—at least upon first glance. Beneath a backdrop of golden fields, snow-capped peaks, grazing elk, and bright blue skies, you are liable to mistake irrigation canals for spring-fed creeks: cold, clear, Read more about Trouble in Paradise: Native Fish Entrainment in the Ditches of Jackson Hole, WY—Bryce Powell[…]

Stillwater-Rosebud Water Quality Initiative

Our team is working to design and deploy a portfolio of GIS tools for the Stillwater Valley Watershed Council, focusing specifically on the Rosebud Creek. In its headwaters, the Rosebud Creek is a designated National Wild and Scenic River. Land use in the lower reaches of the Rosebud Creek’s riparian corridor has gradually transformed in Read more about Stillwater-Rosebud Water Quality Initiative[…]

Work is Flowing for the Rosebud Creek Team—Katherine Tucker

For a few hours every week, I get to escape the hustle and stress of graduate school and virtually explore the beautiful Stillwater Valley in rural south-central Montana, which is home to the Rosebud Creek, the subject of my Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative Research Project. In partnership with the Stillwater Valley Watershed Council and Read more about Work is Flowing for the Rosebud Creek Team—Katherine Tucker[…]

Computer Simulations and Soil Texture — Jon Michel

This summer, I worked with computer simulations to determine if soil texture was currently an important factor in competition between sagebrush and bunchgrasses. In the present scenario, it was determined to not have a significant effect. Currently, I’m studying how this effect changes as climate change progresses, and it looks like it could start to Read more about Computer Simulations and Soil Texture — Jon Michel[…]

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[…]

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[…]