Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rare Plant Survey of Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area

By Peggy Lyon and Bernadette Kuhn

Big Dominguez Canyon
Big Dominguez Canyon as seen from Cactus Park

CNHP was privileged this summer to work in the recently designated Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area (NCA) in western Colorado. The 66,192 acre Dominguez Canyons Wilderness is within the greater 210,000 acre NCA, which crosses Mesa, Delta and Montrose counties. It contains three major red rock canyons, Big Dominguez, Little Dominguez and Escalante. Rare plants that we documented include the Colorado hookless cactus (Sclerocactus glaucus) and Grand Junction milkvetch (Astragalus linifolius).

Sclerocactus glaucus
The Colorado hookless cactus (Sclerocactus glaucus)

This project was sponsored by the Grand Junction and Montrose Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Field Offices. Our work will help to inform the management plan now being formulated for the area. Currently, the BLM is requesting input from the public on issues to be considered when they begin drafting the plan. For information on this "scoping" process and BLM open houses, see the news release from the BLM.

Astragalus linifolius
Peggy posing with a Grand Junction milkvetch (Astragalus linifolius).

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