Friday, September 30, 2011

CNHP work in Teller County in the news

CNHP Wetland Ecologist Denise Culver is quoted in a recent article in the Pikes Peak Courier View regarding our recently completed Teller County survey of critical biological resources and how it has benefited local landowners. The article also notes how the survey was a great learning experience for several students from Colorado College in Colorado Springs, who participated in the fieldwork.

Denise gave a presentation on the project and its findings to the Teller County Planning Commission this past Tuesday.

For more information about the project, see our past posts:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

8th Annual Colorado Rare Plant Symposium this Friday

Update: The post originally said the RPTC meeting was Saturday. It is, in fact on Friday, the day before the CoNPS annual meeting. We apologize for the error.

The Colorado Native Plant Society's annual meeting is this weekend (September 31 - October 1) in Carbondale, Colorado. In conjunction with that meeting, the Colorado Rare Plant Technical Committee (RPTC) will hold its 8th Annual Colorado Rare Plant Symposium on Friday (Sept. 30th) from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. at the Third Street Center on 520 S. Third St., Carbondale.

The RPTC is an ad-hoc group of agency, academic, and NGO botanists that has been working for years to advance rare plant conservation efforts in the state. This year, the RPTC will provide a photo review of the federally listed threatened and endangered plant species known from Colorado, including some recently listed species. Discussion of their relationship to Colorado’s important plant biodiversity areas, current conservation status, critical habitat designation and potential threats will be emphasized.

The symposium is open to any one with an interest in the rare plants of Colorado. Come prepared to exchange your knowledge of our rarest species with other amateur and professional botanists from throughout the state.

Contact Jill Handwerk for more information (970-491-5857). Registration is $10. To register visit the CoNPS website or register at the door.

Monday, September 26, 2011

CNHP White River NF fen work in the news

The Glenwood Springs Post Independent recently published an article about the biologically rich and unique fens in the White River National Forest that CNHP ecologists, botanists, and wetland mappers helped identify and catalogue over the last several years.

“The Colorado Natural Heritage Program's methodology and painstaking work made this project possible,” says John Proctor, White River National Forest Botanist. Thanks for the kind words and opportunity to work with you, John!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dinosaur National Monument field trip

This summer, CNHP botanists Jill Handwerk and Peggy Lyon traveled to Dinosaur National Monument to update some element occurrence records that had not been visited for many years. They searched for six of Colorado’s rare plant species:
  • park rockcress (Arabis fernaldiana)
  • Ownbey's thistle (Cirsium ownbeyi)
  • stream orchid (Epipactis gigantea)
  • Dieter's erigeron (Erigeron wilkenii)
  • alcove bog orchid  (Limnorchis zothecina)
  • sheathed deathcamas  (Zigadenus vaginatus)
 As an extra bonus – the scenery was fantastic!

 Rock formation known as Picasso's Portrait.

 Limnorchis zothecina

 Zigadenus vaginatus

 Pelleae atropurpurea hanging from crevices in an alcove.

 Pelleae atropurpurea close-up.
The Green River in Dinosaur NM.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

What I did on my Summer Field Season - Part 2

by Amber Provinzano
(read Part 1 of Amber’s report, in case you missed it)

CNHP Botany Team leader Jill Handwerk joined Pam and me in the field a for a few days to see the endangered Colorado butterfly plant (Gaura neomexicana ssp. coloradensis). We also hiked around a few parks and ranches, making counts of the roundtip twinpod (Physaria vitulifera), and wondering how rare plants can survive in habitat that has been so changed by human presence.

Gaura neomexicana ssp. coloradensis. Photo by Jill Handwerk

Physaria vitulifera, with a pen for scale. Photo by Pam Smith

Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) in flower, an indication of healthy grasslands. Photo by Pam Smith

Wetland Work

Later in the season, I participated in a field session of the National Wetland Condition Assessment that CNHP is working on for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Together with field botanists Lindsey Washkoviak and Adam Skadsen, and soil scientist Alan Walters, I collected vegetation data for randomly selected wetlands in Colorado. The areas near Leadville and Nathrop, Colorado were beautiful. Camping on Turquoise Lake was lovely, minus the nightly storms that raged across the Continental Divide. I visited my first fen, and realized that while assessing the nation’s waters is important, I’m not so sure trampling over delicate and precious ecosystems is good for them. Another first for me: seeing pikas (Ochotona princeps) at one of the sites we sampled. Though the squeaking makes them sound like dog toys, they are exceptionally cute.

American Pika (Ochotona princeps) looking alarmed at having been called a 'dog toy.' Photo by Amber Provinzano

Columbines among the talus. Photo by Amber Provinzano

Lake Turquoise at sunrise – Colorado’s two highest peaks, Mt. Elbert (14,440 ft) on the left and Mt. Massive (14,428 ft) on the right. Photo by Amber Provinzano

This summer was incredible. I am very fortunate to have received these opportunities to travel this great state and see some awesome places, plants, and animals while learning and working with remarkable people. I would like to thank everyone at CNHP, especially those who I worked closely with in the field and at the office, for providing me with the experience, knowledge, and wisdom to do good in the world.

Happy Trails!