February 19, 2019

Past Research

Solar Feasibility Study for Tensleep Preserve in North Central Wyoming
The Nature Conservancy
UHPSI research assistants worked in partnership with The Nature Conservancy’s Tensleep Preserve, located in North Central Wyoming, to conduct a solar feasibility study for the preserve. Renewable energy technologies like solar and wind play an increasingly important role in building rural energy independence and resilience. Efforts to pursue this study were in response to the site’s vulnerability to wildfires and awareness that wildfire frequency and severity may increase in the future. UHPSI research assistants crafted an innovative plan to guide and inform the implementation of an onsite solar project. Read more…

 

Impacts of Recreation on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative
In partnership with the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative, UHPSI research assistants investigated trends, conditions, and projections surrounding recreation in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) to identify possible recreation ethics for the region. Growing negative impacts of recreation on the ecosystem necessitate a reevaluation of attitudes surrounding recreational access and growth. Through conversations with participants in the GYE recreation community, this project strove to gain a better understanding of the perspectives, normative values, and drivers of recreation. At the closure of this project, the UHPSI team and the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative recommended next steps to building a recreation ethic and will make their findings available to the public in a paper. Read more…

 

Development of a Feasibility Tool to Evaluate Grassbank Potential in Thunder Basin, Wyoming
The Nature Conservancy Wyoming
Our team worked with The Nature Conservancy Wyoming to research the feasibility of a creative approach to grassland conservation in the Thunder Basin region of Wyoming. The approach is called “grassbanking” and it brings together ranchers and conservation organizations to enhance environmental performance and ranching livelihoods by offering access to discounted grazing leases in exchange for conservation practices on local ranches. Our research assessed environmental, economic, and social aspects of this concept to determine if this is a feasible and effective conservation intervention. Our research and consultation with experts resulted in a report which summarizes our findings and present actionable recommendations for TNC and their partners in the region. Read more…

 

Western Speaker Series 2019-2020 
The Western Speaker Series connects conservation professionals and Yale students to explore and discuss a range of issues facing land stewardship in the American West. The Symposium Coordinators worked with UHPSI staff to plan presentations, career chats, and technical training by western conservation professionals that provide our students with valuable knowledge and insight. The 2019-2020 Western Speaker Series included topics such as organic dry land farming, wild land fires and fire ecology, climate impacts and ecological resilience, conservation within socio-ecological systems, and Indigenous land management. Previous years have featured speakers discussing the state and future of the Colorado River Watershed, human-wildlife conflict and coexistence, conservation of Indigenous lands, conflict resolution, and public/private land management partnerships. Read more…

 

Highlighting Indigenous Relationships in the West
Indigenizing the News 
Indigenizing the News is a digital magazine dedicated to Native nations, cultures, and contemporary issues in North America. Through a special issue of the monthly newsletter, Meghanlata Gupta shared a variety of news articles, videos, and images that discuss how Indigenous communities collaborate with local, state, and federal governments to pursue shared management and conservation objectives in the western United States. Read more… 

 

Climate Vulnerability in the Crown of the Continent 
US Fish and Wildlife Service
UHPSI students collaborated with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to assist with a Landscape Conservation Design (LCD). The Crown Managers Partnership created this design to model spatially-explicit future conditions in the Crown of the Continent ecosystem, which encompasses parts of Montana, Alberta and British Columbia. As a preliminary step in LCD development, our student research assistants conducted landscape-specific climate vulnerability assessments using NatureServe’s Climate Change Vulnerability Index. Students assessed target conservation species and habitats such as bull trout and whitebark pine by utilizing high quality conservation and climate data to evaluate factors that indicate vulnerability. The products of this work included spatially-explicit climate vulnerability analyses and recommendations for conducting future vulnerability assessments for the LCD. Read more…

 

Communicating Vegetation Response after Fire in the Bridger-Teton National Forest
US Forest Service
Our student research assistants partnered with Bridger-Teton National Forest (BTNF) in Wyoming to create a report on the stand dynamics of postfire vegetative regeneration and management implications. This report intends to provide geospatial analysis to construct future forest plans and to foster communication between the staff at BTNF and the public. Read more…

 

Conservation Planning for Sheridan County, WY
Sheridan Community Land Trust
Our research assistant team worked in partnership with the Sheridan Community Land Trust to develop a conservation planning mapping tool to guide future private land conservation efforts. They incorporated a variety of spatial data from public sources to help SCLT prioritize and direct its funding and outreach in cooperation with its organization’s goals to protect wildlife and working ranches in Sheridan County. Read more…

 

Engaging Youth and Underserved Communities in Land Management and Project Review Processes for the Bridger-Teton National Forest
US Forest Service
UHPSI research assistants are working with the Bridger-Teton National Forest to map community networks that will facilitate the forest in engaging local Latino and youth communities in future Forest Plan Revision and project specific efforts. The Bridger-Teton intention is to ensure that these communities’ concerns and aspirations are used to inform the decisions made by the National Forest during the next Forest Plan revision and other future public outreach opportunities. Read more…

 

Estimating Utah Prairie Dog Survival using Camera-trap Data
Bureau of Land Management
One of our research assistants is working with the Utah Bureau of Land Management to analyze trends in plague-induced prairie dog mortality. The Utah prairie dog (Cynomys parvidens) is currently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Alongside habitat destruction, sylvatic plague is a major cause of their population decline. Read more…

 

Increasing Adoption of Grasslands Avoided Conversion (GAC) Carbon Projects
Climate and Forest Capital (CFC)
Climate and Forest Capital has partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund on an NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant to research economic incentives that could increase the adoption of conservation practices on US working lands. One of the primary strategies being investigated utilizes a Climate Action Reserve protocol that measures greenhouse gas reductions resulting from the “avoided conversion” of grassland into cropland in areas. Read more…

 

Reconciling Landownership and Sage-Grouse Management Designation Data
U.S. Fish and Wildlife
This is an inter-agency project led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey. Federal and State agencies frequently respond to requests for analyses of land status within the sagebrush biome, such as acres of land ownership or management designation. However, across agencies the results are inconsistent. The goal for this project is to provide reconciliation of differences where possible, written documentation of why differences exist, and identification of a consistent dataset to be used by USFWS and multitude of other state, federal and NGO partners. Read more…

 

Organizing and Implementing the Western Speaker Series
Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative
The Symposium Student Coordinators organize the Western Speaker Series, which connects knowledgeable conservation professionals with Yale students to learn about and discuss issues facing the American West. The coordinators work with the UHPSI staff to plan presentations and panel discussions on campus with speakers who bring valuable insight and perspectives on the past and future of Western conservation efforts. Read more…

 

Understanding Socio-economic Change and Implications for the Future of the Bridger-Teton National Forest
US Forest Service
Our student research team has been working with the Bridger-Teton National Forest to compile and analyze socioeconomic data related to the shifting demographics of three very different counties in western Wyoming. They have also been researching academic literature in the fields of geography, sociology, and economics which relate to the interplay between public lands and local communities. Read more…