April 8, 2019

Fellowships 2019

Investigating the Socioecological Importance of Pinyon Forests for Paiute Communities in the Great Basin
Bridgeport Paiute Indian Colony and U.S. Forest Service
Paul’s project investigates socioecological change affecting Paiute communities in California and Nevada. It examines the cultural importance of pinyon forests on lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and focuses on the development of new approaches to forest management that promote Paiute traditional foods and silvicultural practices. The Great Basin is experiencing increasing frequency of destructive fire, invasion by nonnative species, and loss of habitat for native plants and animals. Paiute communities with strong cultural ties to traditional land use practices and foods are impacted by these changes across the region. Read more…

Exploring the Ecological Impacts of Wildfire in Coniferous Forests in Sierra Nevada
Forest Services, Region 5 & the University of California-Davis
Zhi’s ecological research in the central Sierra Nevadas explores the role of wildfire in forest ecosystems. Large, severe fires have been increasing in recent decades and present major economic and ecological challenges in the western United States. Through collaborating with US Forest Service researchers and the University of California-Davis, Zhi leads a team of four to collect floristics and other ecological data in the coniferous forests burnt by the Rim Fire, a fire burning more than 257,000 acres of the Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park in August 2013. Read more… 

Benthic Macroinvertebrate Survey of Canyon Creek 
The Nature Conservancy, Tensleep Preserve
Joshua’s research surveyed benthic macroinvertebrate communities of Canyon Creek at The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Tensleep Preserve in order to (1) assess the current communities of this river section, (2) analyze the impacts of two subterranean limestone sink systems and a human diversion on these communities, and (3) provide data and voucher specimens for future studies. Invertebrates of quantitative subsamples from six sites on the creek have been identified to genus level, and a qualitative voucher collection representing the identified invertebrates has been provided to Trey Davis, manager of Tensleep Preserve. Read more…

The Impact of Surface Water on Desert Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) Movement Patterns
California Department of Fish & Wildlife
Though the relationship between resource selection and animal distribution has been thoroughly investigated, few studies link animal movement patterns to resource utilization. By examining animal movement proximate to resource utilization, Danielle hopes to understand the degree of prioritization given to obtaining a resource and contribute to this growing field of study. Desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) movement to water in the Mojave Desert comprise her study system. Read more…

Increasing the Pace and Scale of Conservation in the Tetons through Collaboration
LegacyWorks Group
Shea Flanagan is working with LegacyWorks Group in Jackson, Wyoming to accelerate community-driven impact to advance large-scale conservation efforts in the Teton region. She is assisting the team in executing projects that advance four major goals: 1) increase the ability of local conservation partners to work collaboratively on community- and regional-scale projects, 2) enhance water availability for human and environmental needs in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, 3) protect wildlife migration corridors and winter range for regionally significant species, and 4) expand free-market conservation tools available to local partners.  Read more…

Governance and Storytelling Along the Colorado River

The Nature Conservancy, Colorado River Program
Lucas is working for The Nature Conservancy’s Colorado River Program (CRP). His focus for the CRP is two-fold: first, Lucas is researching environmental governance and finance models to facilitate the creation of a water fund for the Colorado River delta. This work entails outreach to stakeholders and coordination with existing environmental funds to glean best practices. The second part of Lucas’ work is focused on storytelling along the Colorado River, to highlight conservation success stories and explore where work still needs to be done. Read more…

Exploring the Interface of Religious Life and Environmental Politics in Montana

Leif is researching independently in northwest Montana where faith-based environmental organizing sets the stage. Three emerging organizations seek to empower religious congregations to take up environmental advocacy — Montana Faith & Environment Coalition, Faith and Climate Action Montana, and Montana Interfaith Power & Light. Through interviews with advocates and faith leaders, Leif is beginning to answer questions about the opportunities and challenges for work at the intersection of religion and environment in the mountain west. Among them: what has been the relationship between religious life and environmental politics and how is that relationship changing over time? What is the status of the ecumenical movement and can the environment be a focus for interfaith work? What kinds of values do religious communities hold regarding their landscape and what language do they use to discuss those values? Read more…

Spatiotemporal Patterns in the Observed Spread of Chronic Wasting Disease Across North America

Meghan is conducting independent research that aims to explore spatiotemporal patterns in the historic and ongoing spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) across North America. CWD is an always-fatal neurodegenerative affliction of captive and free-ranging members of the deer family — i.e., mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, and moose — that has increased in both geographic extent and local prevalence since first being detected in the 1960s. More than merely threatening deer populations, CWD also jeopardizes the widespread ecosystems in which deer play important roles, as well as the multiple industries that rely in some way on the secure existence of abundant, healthy deer. Read more…