Tuesday, November 2, 2010

CNHP Participates in EPA Regional Wetland Workshop in Bozeman, MT

Overview of O'Dell Creek Ranch in Montana's Madison River Valley, site of the daylong field trip associated with the EPA Workshop. Photo by J. Minter, EPA.

Three CNHP Ecologists - Denise Culver, Joanna Lemly, and Laurie Gilligan – recently attended a weeklong EPA-supported meeting in Bozeman, Montana, aimed at strengthening wetland programs around EPA Region 8. The meeting, called the EPA Region 8 Wetland Program Capacity Building Workshop, was hosted by the Montana Wetland Council and Montana Watercourse. Representative from all six states in EPA Region 8 were present (Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, North Dakota and South Dakota), as well as several tribal representatives.

Landowner Jeff Lazlo describes the restoration efforts underway at O'Dell Creek Ranch. Photo by J. Minter, EPA.

Both Denise and Joanna gave presentations during the meeting. Denise highlighted the many wetland-focused county surveys that EPA grants have supported over more than 15 years. She also discussed her current EPA-funded project, Tools for Colorado Wetlands, through which CNHP will be producing a field guide to Colorado's wetland plants and several online wetland resources. Joanna's talk focused on CNHP's partnership with the Colorado Division of Wildlife's Wetland Wildlife Conservation Program. It is through this partnership and a project called Statewide Strategies for Colorado Wetlands that CNHP began its wetland mapping efforts, as well as the Rio Grande Headwaters pilot basinwide wetland condition assessment.

Heritage Program Wetland Ecologists in action. From left to right, CNHP's Joanna Lemly, MTNHP's Cat McIntyre, CNHP's Laurie Gilligan, MTNHP's Karen Newlon, and CNHP's Denise Culver. Photo by J. Minter, EPA.

In addition to presenting on CNHP's wetland projects, Joanna co-led a daylong field trip and workshop with Montana Natural Heritage Program (MTNHP)'s Cat McIntyre. The field trip covered rapid and intensive field protocols used by both CNHP and MTNHP in wetland condition assessment projects. Joanna focused on vegetation sampling protocols while Cat demonstrated techniques for sampling and describing hydric soils. They also introduced participants to concepts important to setting up a random sample survey design and some basic information about EPA's upcoming National Wetland Condition Assessment.

Joanna explains laying out a vegetation plot (left), while Cat demonstrates digging a soil pit (right). Photo by J. Minter, EPA.

The field trip took place at O’Dell Creek Ranch, an impressive wetland restoration site in Montana's Madison River Valley. More than 25 wetland professionals from around the region participated. The sun shined all day long and field trip participants were thrilled to be out on such a beautiful day with their feet wet and the sedges glowing yellow with the coming fall. All agreed it was a terrific day.

Cat explains rapid assessment protocols to field trip participants. Photo by J. Minter, EPA.

All photos courtesy of Jill Minter, Wetlands Program, EPA Region 8.

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