Nuclear and Renewable Energy in Idaho and the American West

Aya is working on a two part project focusing on non-fossil fuel energy in the American West and its human and environmental impacts. She is studying communities and landscapes surrounding nuclear energy testing, research, and waste storage in the Snake River Plain of Idaho. Since 1949, southeastern Idaho has been the U.S.’ center of nuclear Read more about Nuclear and Renewable Energy in Idaho and the American West[…]

Capturing Outdoor Recreation and Ecological Patterns along a Multiple Use Mountain Stream

Outdoor recreation opportunities fuel important Intermountain West economies, satisfy cultural needs, and uphold nature connectedness. Similarly, mountain freshwater ecosystems promote the development and recruitment of flora and fauna. When considered together, recreation ecosystems comprise natural areas with varying levels of human and (non) human use. Some of the chief drivers shifting more visitors into stream-lined Read more about Capturing Outdoor Recreation and Ecological Patterns along a Multiple Use Mountain Stream[…]

Supporting Climate Action in King County, WA

This summer, Ingrid is working with the Executive Climate Office of King County (Washington) on three projects related to addressing climate change at the county level: 1) contributing to an initial draft of the next 5-year Strategic Climate Action Plan for the county; 2) writing a user guide to accompany a new urban heat mapping Read more about Supporting Climate Action in King County, WA[…]

A Call to Action – Private Finance to Nature through Ecosystem Restoration—Dimitria Spathakis

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) defines nature-based solutions (NbS) as actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural and modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously benefiting people and nature. UNEP publishes “The State of Finance for Nature”, an annual report tracking global finance flows to NbS and compares them to Read more about A Call to Action – Private Finance to Nature through Ecosystem Restoration—Dimitria Spathakis[…]

Striking a Balance Between Restoration Costs and Benefits—Alaina Geibig

The Yampa River Valley, located in the Northwest corner of Colorado, hosts critical sagebrush habitat that supports wildlife and livestock. In this arid region, water resources hold disproportionate importance, with low-lying wet meadows providing essential sources of diverse forage (Rondeau et al., 2023). As such, wet meadows often fall under private ownership for agricultural purposes, Read more about Striking a Balance Between Restoration Costs and Benefits—Alaina Geibig[…]

A How-To Guide for Beaver Monitoring—Alex Wells

May is here, bringing with it the end of a semester and the end of my time working as a UHPSI Research Assistant in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy Wyoming’s Tensleep Preserve. Even as Wyoming has been re-blanketed in snow, every maple and oak tree in New Haven has spun out fresh fractals of green Read more about A How-To Guide for Beaver Monitoring—Alex Wells[…]

Building Markets for Wetland Restoration: Challenges and Considerations in Colorado’s Yampa Valley— Dimitria Spathakis

How can additive conservation measures be financially incentivized on Western working lands?  Working with Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT), Alaina and I are exploring market-based models for ecosystem services to compensate landowners for their stewardship of wet meadows in Colorado’s Yampa Valley. Often the idea of payment for ecosystem services (PES) conjures thoughts of Read more about Building Markets for Wetland Restoration: Challenges and Considerations in Colorado’s Yampa Valley— Dimitria Spathakis[…]

Muddying the Water—Alex Wells

Let’s say that you live in northeast Nevada and ranch a stretch of sagebrush watered by a small cottonwood-lined creek. Or that you make your living from your senior water rights and an orderly orchard of fruit trees in western Colorado. Or that you grow alfalfa just north of the Gallatin Range in Montana, your Read more about Muddying the Water—Alex Wells[…]

Introducing Erosion Structures in Dryland Streams—Alaina Geibig

It was early in the morning, but the summer sun was already high above the horizon. I squinted, fumbling to find my sunglasses, as I drove racing against the clock to get to the project site before our partners and volunteers arrived. I slowed among a line of traffic. Traffic?! This was shocking considering I Read more about Introducing Erosion Structures in Dryland Streams—Alaina Geibig[…]

A Monitoring Plan for Beaver Wellbeing and Hydrologic Impacts

Effective ecological monitoring is a critical component of managing ecosystems in a way that balances the needs of people and wildlife. In collaboration with The Nature Conservancy – Wyoming (TNC) and the Water for Wildlife Foundation, UHPSI research assistant Alex Wells is developing a monitoring plan that will evaluate both beaver wellbeing and the impacts Read more about A Monitoring Plan for Beaver Wellbeing and Hydrologic Impacts[…]

Local Payment for an Ecosystem-Service-Model for Working Lands Stewardship

In partnership with The Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, UHPSI research assistants are exploring possibilities of developing a payment-for-ecosystem services model to support stewardship of wet meadows using low-tech methods on conserved working lands in the Yampa Valley. Specifically, our research assistants are investigating 1) the ecological benefits of installing natural erosion infrastructure in incised, Read more about Local Payment for an Ecosystem-Service-Model for Working Lands Stewardship[…]

Who Cares?—Sam Wilson

I was explaining my research to someone recently and the proceeding conversation got me thinking. When I described my project and where it was going to be conducted (see project description here) I got a response that I had yet to encounter. The woman I was speaking with asked me ‘who cares about sagebrush?’. At Read more about Who Cares?—Sam Wilson[…]

Reflecting On a Summer in the San Luis Valley – Kathleen Voight

During the several months of interviews I conducted, I met with ranchers in work trucks, in hay barns, and in farm shops. I accompanied ranchers setting up fence, moving cattle, hauling round bales, checking sprinklers, and packing plant samples. We chatted over kitchen tables and on back porches, sharing meals and sharing stories. In addition Read more about Reflecting On a Summer in the San Luis Valley – Kathleen Voight[…]