Thursday, February 25, 2010

CNHP Assists Federal Agencies with Annual T & E and SOMC Reporting

Data management is central to the CNHP mission, but we do more than just maintain our Biodiversity Tracking and Conservation System (BIOTICS) Statewide Database that holds information on rare species and plant communities.

For the past two years, CNHP has worked with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to develop and maintain a national database for both threatened and endangered species (T & E) and species of management concern (SOMC) on BLM lands. The Federal Land Policy and Management Act (also known as the BLM Organic Act) requires the agency to collect data pertaining to the condition of fish, wildlife and plant resources on BLM-administered lands in order to protect and manage these resources. The Endangered Species Act and the Government Performance and Results Act also mandate record keeping on the status of and expenditures for species that are federally protected or that are considered to be of management concern, so the BLM needed a database solution that would help them manage their information.

Michelle Fink, CNHP Landscape Ecologist and GIS Specialist (who also happens to know a good deal about databases) designed and built BLM's national reporting T & E and SOMC database. After each BLM field unit reports its data for the year, Michelle then compiles and quality checks and ensures the integrity of the data, updates the national dataset, and summarizes the data for BLM's reporting needs. The work is more than just a programming and data management task; biological expertise is essential to the entire process due to the complexities of the Endangered Species Act, the dynamic nature of species taxonomy and nomenclature, and the scientific knowledge necessary to appropriately compile, analyze and report scientific species status information. Melissa Landon, CNHP Conservation Data Services Team Leader manages the project and makes sure it all goes smoothly. This past December, Michelle and Melissa completed the coordination of the collection, quality assurance, compilation, analysis and reporting of information for Fiscal Year 2009.

CNHP has also worked with the National Park Service (NPS) for the past nine years on the development of an analogous agency-specific database to assist with annual NPS reporting requirements. Our Conservation Data Services team wears many hats in order to support conservation efforts in Colorado and beyond!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

This week: another Job Fair and an Ecology Expo

We will have display tables and employment information at two more events this week:

16th annual Front Range Student Ecology Symposium (FRSES)
FRSES is a student-run symposium with attendees from all around Colorado. CNHP will be taking part in the Ecology Expo component of this year’s event.

The symposium begins today, Tuesday February 23rd, with a keynote address and reception, but the Ecology Expo portion is tomorrow:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010
3:00 – 5:00 pm. 
Cherokee Park Ballroom, Lory Student Center
Colorado State University, Fort Collins

The goal of the Expo is for students to be able to meet local businesses, organizations, and government agencies utilizing natural sciences in their work.

Front Range Community College Natural Resources Job/Volunteer Fair
Hosted by The Society of American Foresters

Thursday, February 25, 2010
6:00 – 7:30 pm
Longs Peak Student Center Conference Rooms
4616 S. Shields, Fort Collins

For more information about this job fair, contact Heather Dannahower (970-204–8613, Heather.dannahower (at)

Stop by the CNHP table at either of these events and say hello!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

CNHP goes to Washington

CNHP Director Dave Anderson participated in a two day strategic planning meeting in Arlington, VA to set annual goals for NatureServe. NatureServe is the national umbrella organization for the natural heritage programs and conservation data centers that operate in each state throughout the United States as well as Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. CNHP is one of 82 members that make up the unique multi-local network represented by NatureServe. This is the second year that CNHP has participated in NatureServe's annual goal setting. Working with NatureServe staff, the group set ambitious goals for the coming year.

Kyle Copas gives a presentation to the participants of NatureServe's strategic planning meeting.

While in Arlington, Dave accompanied NatureServe's CEO Mary Klein and Kyle Copas, acting director of Marketing and Communications, on a visit to Capitol Hill. They visited staff of Senators Udall and Bennet, and also staff of Betsy Markey, Diana DeGette, and John Salazar in Congress and shared information about the role of NatureServe and the Colorado Natural Heritage Program.

Dave with two staffers of John Salazar's office in Washington DC

In between visits with congressional staff they were able to make a quick stop at the Library of Congress, which is one our country's most magnificent buildings. The ceilings are lavishly painted with references to science, literature, and art from mythology and classical literature. Dave’s favorite, "Science is organized knowledge," captures the essence of our work at CNHP.

The Library of Congress (courtesy of

Monday, February 15, 2010

Natural Resources Job Fair

CNHP will have a booth at the Spring 2010 Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Career Fair Wednesday (2/17) from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom at Colorado State University.

We will be 1 of over 60 companies, organizations, and agencies represented. There are opportunities at CNHP for seasonal field positions every year, plus we are currently looking to fill a full-time ecology/botany position. Be sure to check our Employment and Volunteering page regularly.

Friday, February 12, 2010

8 New Job Openings - Wetland Ecology Field Technicians

We are starting to ramp up our recruiting for seasonal fieldwork, and are looking to fill eight new seasonal positions; 2 Lead Technicians and 6 Field Technicians.

Lead Technicians (2) will aid the Principal Investigator with pre-field season logistics and planning, such as securing permission to access survey sites on private land, preparing field maps in ArcGIS 9.3, preparing field supplies, etc. During the field season, Lead Technicians will work with field technicians to carry out the tasks listed below and will be the point of contact between the Principal Investigator and the field team. Two Lead Technicians will be hired, one to work in the North Platte River Basin and one to work in Colorado and Utah. Position timeframe: April–December 2010.

The Field Technicians (6) will be responsible for collecting data in wetlands as part of three separate wetland condition assessment projects (Rio Grande National Forest, North Platte River Basin, and locations in Colorado and Utah). Data will be collected using both rapid assessment protocols and more in-depth vegetation surveys. Fieldwork will involve extensive collection of vegetation, soil, and environmental data, and detailed completion of field survey forms. Successful applicants will navigate to randomly selected wetlands in both remote areas that require multi-day backcounty trips and agricultural areas such North Park. Six Field Technicians will be hired. Position timeframe: Four positions from June–September 2010; two positions from July–August 2010.

Closing date is March 31, 2010. For more information about these positions and how to apply, please see the announcement on the Employment and Volunteering page of our website.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

CNHP at the state capitol

Today (February 11) is Colorado State University Founders Day and to celebrate, the Colorado Natural Heritage Program will join other CSU programs and departments at the state capitol this morning with informational displays, live music, and speeches.

If you are in Denver this morning, stop by the CNHP table and say "hi!"

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Site Profile: Trickle Mountain, Saguache County

B2: Very High Biodiversity Significance

Trickle Mountain

The Trickle Mountain site was identified during the 1997 Closed Basin Inventory in Saguache and Alamosa Counties. Here, a scenic landscape of mesas and small mountains dissected by short canyons supports a mosaic of montane woodlands and grasslands. In Colorado, this type of terrain is more typical of lower elevations to the west

The vegetation of the Trickle Mountain area reflects its unusual setting. The mesa tops are dominated by an arid mixed-grass grassland of ring muhly (Muhlenbergia filiculmis) and lichen. The higher elevations of Trickle mountain are covered by Bristle cone pine (Pinus aristata) with Arizona fescue (Festuca arizonica), while ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) with Arizona fescue or grasslands of mountain muhly (Muhlenbergia montana), ring muhly, and Arizona fescue dominate the lower slopes. The valleys between the plateaus are mostly a winterfat/blue grama (Krascheninnikovia lanata/Bouteloua gracilis) short-grass shrub-steppe that provides good habitat for Gunnison prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni gunnisoni). The site also supports populations of two Colorado endemic plants: Weber’s catseye (Cryptantha weberi) and rock-loving aletes (Neoparrya lithophila).

Thursday, February 4, 2010

2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity

We are happy to see that the United Nations has declared 2010 to be the International Year of Biodiversity. Events will be hosted all over the world, with the North American launch happening February 10th in New York. Other sites with information include Countdown2010 and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Our core mission here at the Colorado Natural Heritage Program centers around tracking and preserving our state's biodiversity. We applaud the U.N.'s recognition of the value of biodiversity and how seriously it is threatened.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sixth Annual Rare Plant Symposium presentations now online

Presentations for the Rare Plant Symposium held in September 2009 are now available on the Botany Team page of our website.  The meeting agenda and reviews of past meetings are also now available.  Meeting minutes will be available shortly, so check back soon.