Thursday, April 28, 2011

Eriogonum pelinophilum: Monitoring at the Wacker Ranch Natural Area

By Bernadette Kuhn
In the last few weeks, CNHP botanists and volunteers have been busy sampling transects of Eriogonum pelinophilum (Clay-loving wild-buckwheat). The field work is part of a joint monitoring project with the Colorado Natural Areas Program and Denver Botanic Gardens. The Clay-loving buckwheat is endemic to Mancos Shale badlands in Western Colorado, and is federally listed as Endangered. Our 2011 field work is a continuation of monitoring efforts that began in the 1990’s.

The running of the tape: Joe Rankin, volunteer, helps set up a transect.

The monitoring project is positioned in the heart of one of the largest known populations of the buckwheat. This population occurs on both the BLM-owned Fairview ACEC, and the state-owned Wacker Ranch Natural Area. The goal of this study is to understand trends in population size over time and comparing populations on BLM land and State land.

Wind-dispersed volunteers: Charlie Sharp (USFW, Grand Junction) kneels beside flags marking dozens of Clay-loving wild-buckwheat individuals. Peggy Lyon, CNHP botanist, takes notes. Larry Allison, all-star volunteer, looks for seedlings after the recent rain.

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