Monday, October 31, 2016

Wetland Monitoring in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

One of CNHP’s Wetlands crew spent July collecting data at wetland sites in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in southern Colorado. The park and preserve is home to about 1,700 bison, and a large elk herd. The wetland monitoring data collected will be used to aid in planning and decision making as part of the Park’s ungulate management plan process. The wetland crew braved warm weather and abundant mosquitoes to collect vegetation, soil and ungulate use data, and install game cameras at over 20 sites.
The CNHP Wetlands crew and National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring employees after training in Great Sand Dunes National Park. 
Lexine Long and Erin Borgman setting up a vegetation monitoring plot in Great Sand Dunes National Park. 
When not in Great Sand Dunes National Park, the wetland crew also worked on a project surveying fen wetlands close to state highways for a project sponsored by the Colorado Department of Transportation. Fens are groundwater-fed wetlands with 40 or more centimeters of organic soil (often peat). Organic soil accumulates very slowly – at approximately 20cm in 1,000 years, so fens are an incredibly important wetland resource in Colorado. The crew got to spend their time working in the beautiful mountain passes of Colorado, and saw many interesting wetlands while collecting vegetation and soil data for the project.
Lexine Long collecting vegetation data in a fen in the San Juan mountains.
A fen wetland in the San Juan mountains. 

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