Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Using Rock Climber Observations to Find Bat Roosts

On a hot summer day above the South St. Vrain River, zoologists Rob Schorr and Andrew Reed stare up at a 50 foot slab of rock that has been carved by glaciers and rivers and time.They arrived at this particular location by the goodwill of Colorado’s rock climbing community.As part of a project that Schorr, botanist Bernadette Kuhn, and human dimensions specialist Shawn Davis developed several years ago called Climbers for Bat Conservation, Schorr and Reed are visiting this specific location because climbers have reported hearing or seeing bats in the cracks above. Reed, a rock climber,led the effort to look in the cracks and flakes for bats, guano, or insect parts, while Schorr watched enviously from below. After three hours of searching manually and with an ultrasonic acoustic detector they were unable to find any bats along the climb, and they were unable to find any guano on the rock walls or below the cracks. Schorr found a few insect parts below the climb, but it was unclear if they were the remnants of feeding bats. Although they did not stumble upon a large roost of bats, they were glad to follow leads provided by the Climbers for Bat Conservation partners. The CBC group is hoping to receive more observations of bats by rock climbers following a recent presentation to the International Rock Climbing Research Association given by Kuhn in Telluride, Colorado.

Andrew Reed looking in cracks for bats along the climbing route Panic in the Grey Room.

Andrew Reed pointing out the cracks, flakes, and crevices where bats could roost.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Remember This Summer-An Intern's View of a Summer Working at CNHP

by Tyler Stratman, CNHP Siegele Intern

My summer life was much different this year than it has been in the past. To describe it quickly it was a summer of eight projects across Colorado in nine weeks; it was a summer of driving 4,100 miles; it was a summer of learning how to sample and identify plants; and most outstandingly, it was a summer of challenging and rewarding field work. Although working on multiple projects was confusing at times, I was able to see so much of the state of Colorado and work with multiple people. Working with CNHP has given me the tools and skills to perform vegetation analyses and sampling methods in my career for the rest of my life. This summer I worked with eight different vegetation monitoring techniques, and I am now able to recognize over 40 plant genera. I have grown an appreciation for the plant diversity around me and the role plant’s play in ecosystem function. Here are some photos that represent the amazing views I had this summer.

I had incredible mountain views.

I swam in water holes in southeast Colorado.

I hiked in red sandstone canyons

 I saw wildlife.

I saw the world from above.

I don’t want to make it seem like I was not working. In between each of these views it was tough, hot, cold, uncomfortable, or long hours, but it is a summer that I am so blessed to have been able to have. I will remember it forever.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Adventures in the Alpine!

By: Lydia Fahrenkrug and Gary Olds, CNHP Siegele Interns

Along with the New Mexico Heritage Program and the National Park Service, CNHP recently completed two important projects as a part of GLORIA. The Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments, GLORIA, is a project designed to monitor long-term changes in alpine tundra vegetation, soils, and temperatures. This global network assesses climate change impacts on the biological richness of the planet's high mountain ecosystems, by monitoring four summits in a target region. The peaks have similar geology, climate disturbance, and land-use history, leaving vegetation differences among the summits to be driven primarily by elevation (Kuhn et al. 2014). After initial implementation, target regions are repeat sampled at least every five years.
Gary Olds in Pecos Wilderness Area. Photo taken by Lydia Fahrenkrug.
The two target regions accomplished this summer include starting a GLORIA site in Pecos Wilderness Area, New Mexico (July 5-12) and repeat sampling in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming (July 21-27). The trip began at Santa Barbara Trailhead, where the crew backpacked into No Fish Lake, the location of base camp all week. The crew consisted of Lydia Fahrenkrug, Dustin Gannon, Gary Olds, and Claire Tortorelli from CNHP, Hannah Burnham from New Mexico Heritage Program, and Brian Jacobs, a retired NPS botanist. Each day, they summited one of the four peaks, which were Chimayosos, West Chimayosos, North Truchas Peak and No Fish Peak to complete set-up and vegetation monitoring. With great weather and a hard working team, they were able to finish the project quickly and efficiently.
Botanists Hannah Burnham and Brian Jacobs surveying plant species in Pecos Wilderness Area.  Photo by Lydia Fahrenkrug.
The Yellowstone crew included Lydia Fahrenkrug, Alyssa Meier, Dustin Gannon, and Claire Tortorelli from CNHP, and Heidi Anderson and Monica Lomahukluh from the National Parks Service. They began in Shoshone National Forest and backpacked into their camping spot, which was on the border of Yellowstone National Park. Since this was a re-sample, all of the hardware was previously put in, allowing the crew to focus on the alpine vegetation. Everyone enjoyed the wonderful views and working together to complete this project, while wildflower season was in full swing.
Dustin Gannon measuring out for a plot in Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Alyssa Meier.
These projects were successful thanks to funding from the Rocky Mountain Inventory and Monitoring Program of the National Park Service.

Kuhn, B., T. Talbot, and J. Stevens. 2013. Alpine vegetation composition, structure, and soils monitoring for Yellowstone National Park: 2011 Summary Report.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

CNHP Releases New Rare Plants by County Interactive Map

Check out CNHP's new interactive map for rare plants! The map displays the number of rare plant species in each Colorado county documented by CNHP and partner agencies, organizations, and individuals. Users can access pdf lists of rare plant species for each county by clicking a county, then clicking More Info on the pop up box. The plant lists contain species names, as well as conservation status, wetland and riparian dependent status, links to Rare Plant Guide profiles, and much more. The data used to create the map are from the CNHP Biotics 5 database.

The new CNHP Rare Plants by County Map displays the number of rare plant species documented in each Colorado County, according to the CNHP Biotics 5 database.