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[…]

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[…]

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[…]

Utilizing Geospatial Analysis to Increase Water Availability in the American West—Rowan Sharkey

Being a research assistant with the Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative at YSE  has afforded me a variety of opportunities to expand my knowledge in the field of mesic restoration in the western United States. Focusing on a region that is highly susceptible to drought events creates an interesting challenge when tracking water availability. The Read more about Utilizing Geospatial Analysis to Increase Water Availability in the American West—Rowan Sharkey[…]

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[…]

The Vital Role of Working Lands in Western Conservation—Annie Miller

Working lands — the farms, ranchlands, and working forests that support livelihoods —  are a vital component of the western landscape, and their ecological, economic, and social  importance is difficult to overstate. In addition to supplying much of the food we eat, they hold critical wildlife habitat, provide vital ecosystem services, and represent a way Read more about The Vital Role of Working Lands in Western Conservation—Annie Miller[…]

Rural Gentrification: The Housing Crisis — Mara MacDonell

There are two things that are common knowledge if you live in a ski town (and you don’t have a trust fund to support you): 1) Getting a job is easy, which is good because you’ll probably need at least two; and 2) there is no housing. Previous to matriculating at Yale, I lived in Read more about Rural Gentrification: The Housing Crisis — Mara MacDonell[…]

Is Oregon’s Land Use System Protecting Farmers? — Shannon Bell

Between 2001 and 2016, 11 million acres of farmland in the United States were developed, with 4.1 million acres converted to urban and highly developed land uses and almost 7 million acres converted to low-density residential use. The 2017 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Census revealed that from 2012 to 2017, the amount of Read more about Is Oregon’s Land Use System Protecting Farmers? — Shannon Bell[…]

Recreation and Conservation Planning for Fishers Peak State Park

In partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Colorado, our research team is working across ecological and recreational decision-making processes to help inform planning and management for Colorado’s new Fishers Peak State Park. The park is located in southern Colorado near the city of Trinidad and comprises 19,200 acres, rich with biodiversity and recreational potential. Our Read more about Recreation and Conservation Planning for Fishers Peak State Park[…]