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[…]

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[…]

Assessing restoration outcomes on natural gas well pads in the Upper Green River Basin of Wyoming

The Jonah Field is a large natural gas field in southwestern Wyoming leased to energy operators by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The development of natural gas infrastructure is a large-scale disturbance on big sagebrush plant communities in this region. Reclamation is the mandated form of restoration meant to stabilize these disturbances after mineral Read more about Assessing restoration outcomes on natural gas well pads in the Upper Green River Basin of Wyoming[…]

A “Generational Moment” for Land Conservation—Kathleen Voight

After two semesters working closely with the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) Additive Conservation subcommittee, I was excited to support the launch of the Agricultural Resiliency Fund (ARF). The ARF is an internally-managed fund that supports landowner projects to improve agricultural viability and conservation values on properties that hold CCALT easements. I partnered with Read more about A “Generational Moment” for Land Conservation—Kathleen Voight[…]

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[…]

Landscape Vegetation Analysis (LaVA) in Southern Wyoming—Jake Barker

One project in particular in Wyoming has emerged in the national conversation concerning public forest management. The Medicine-Bow Routt and Thunder Basin Grassland National Forest (MBRTB) manages forest and grassland in Wyoming and Colorado, and is several years into the implementation of a landscape-scale forest resilience project. Supported by the 2003 Healthy Forests Restoration Act, Read more about Landscape Vegetation Analysis (LaVA) in Southern Wyoming—Jake Barker[…]

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[…]

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[…]

Stepping Out of the Steppe—Rachel Renne

As temperatures climbed this summer, so did the elevations of the plots that I visited. My gradual ascent was an attempt to capture the plant community of each site at a time when I would be able to detect and identify most of the plant species. Higher elevations mean lower temperatures, and while many grasses Read more about Stepping Out of the Steppe—Rachel Renne[…]

Methods and Modalities to Explore Rural Gentrification— Mara MacDonell

Over the last year, the rural gentrification research group has been approaching the subject of rural gentrification from a variety of perspectives. Rural gentrification has many, mutable meanings and definitions, both within academia and public discourse. Our research reflects this, as we have investigated the topic through a variety of avenues including changing land-use, environmental Read more about Methods and Modalities to Explore Rural Gentrification— Mara MacDonell[…]

Framing the “New West”— Molly Ryan

The “Old West” and the “New West.” These terms are often used to characterize the transformation of rural western economies and communities from places oriented around extractive industries to those based around natural amenities and recreation (Bryson & Wyckoff, 2010; Krannich et al., 2011; Shumway & Otterstrom, 2001). This transformation is driven by in-migration from Read more about Framing the “New West”— Molly Ryan[…]

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[…]