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[…]

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[…]

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[…]

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[…]

Modeling Radiation Use Efficiency in Big Sagebrush Understory

Sam’s research focuses on gathering field data to pair with remotely sensed imagery to then model a physiological plant trait called radiation use efficiency. Radiation use efficiency is the proportion of incoming solar radiation that is converted to biomass. Decreases in efficiency of plants has been shown to correlate with stress and decreased production and Read more about Modeling Radiation Use Efficiency in Big Sagebrush Understory[…]

Learning About Place—Julia Chen

I spent over a week in Wyoming and Idaho this spring learning about the environmental issues and organizations working towards solutions. From meeting the housing advocacy group Shelter JH to Wyoming Game and Fish, I began to think about how lived experience influences why we work on the issues we care about and persist. This Read more about Learning About Place—Julia Chen[…]

A Brief Look at NDVI—Sam Wilson

Over the last eight months at Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative, our team developed a set of tools to assist in monitoring areas surrounding beaver dam installations in eastern Montana using remote sensing. One of these tools is focused on calculating normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) across an area of interest and how it is Read more about A Brief Look at NDVI—Sam Wilson[…]

Gaining a Deeper Understanding of Ecosystems Through Collaboration—Rowan Sharkey

The past year working with the Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative has presented a wide range of experiences, connections, and memories that I find carrying me forward on the path of conservation. Throughout this process, our team has been fortunate enough to collaborate with incredible partners such as The Nature Conservancy-MT, World Wildlife Foundation, and Read more about Gaining a Deeper Understanding of Ecosystems Through Collaboration—Rowan Sharkey[…]

Out in the Cold—Delaney Heileman

On December 31, 2020, the Kayenta Coal mine in Arizona officially closed its doors, bringing an end to nearly 40 years of operation on the Navajo Nation. While the closure of the mine has been met with a mix of emotions, there is no denying the significant impact it has had on the Hopi people, Read more about Out in the Cold—Delaney Heileman[…]

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[…]

On Developing a Systems Thinking Model—Julia Chen

George E. P. Box once said that “All models are wrong, but some are useful.” As we try to make sense of the world, we attempt to rationalize the patterns we see and how they are connected. However, generalizing these connections often narrows our views and eventually solidifies the basic facts we begin to organize Read more about On Developing a Systems Thinking Model—Julia Chen[…]

Improving Model Outputs and Recommendations Through Field Work—Rob Anderson

As I write this, while sitting in my 82-degree New Haven apartment, I cannot help but feel some nostalgia for the two summers I have now spent in Pinedale, WY doing research for my Master’s degree. I have spent the vast majority of my life in New England. Prior to the past two field seasons, Read more about Improving Model Outputs and Recommendations Through Field Work—Rob Anderson[…]