In 2015, a coalition of conservation groups sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project, and WildEarth Guardians believed the Gunnison sage-grouse should have been listed as an endangered instead of threatened species. As part of the recent lawsuit agreement, the FWS has until October 2019 to release a draft recovery plan and until October 2020 to submit a final recovery plan for the Gunnison sage-grouse. For more details, see the Center for Biological Diversity news release and The Journal news article.
Russian olive is a pesky, non-native species that's taken over many river banks. It's dense growth and thorns can prevent people who want to go fishing from getting to the river. It also chokes out native vegetation and sucks up water from the floodplain.
To improve riparian habitat and recreational opportunities, the Uncompahgre Partnership (UP) coordinated with various partners to control this invasive plant on 8.9 miles of land along the Gunnison River east of Delta, Colorado.
This project wouldn't have gotten off the ground without funding from the Colorado Water Conservation Board. In addition, several groups completed the difficult work of cutting the trees. Out hats go off to the: River Restoration Adventure of Tomorrow (RRAFT), Western Slope Youth Conservation Corps, Colorado Department of Corrections, and the Bureau of Land Management.
Through a generous grant from the Telluride Foundation, two local youth from Norwood High School participated in a six-week forestry internship program this past summer. The students learned about forest restoration, wildlife biology and future career opportunities in the living classroom of the Uncompahgre Plateau. The youth spent time in the field with a variety of Forest Service professionals and participated in several hands-on projects including:
· Recreation crew: helping clean up the Lone Cone Cabin, fence building, walking trails and talking with forest users
· Fire Crew: clearing fire line and taking fuels samples
· Timber Crew: learning to use a prism to count trees, measure tree diameter and height
· Wildlife Crew: fish stocking, birding, setting up wildlife cameras, and Aberts squirrel surveys.
This internship serves as a nation-wide model in educating and engaging high school students at a truly meaningful level.
Thanks to interns Jessica Barkemeyer and Treayuan Mattan-Rankins for their hard work, mentor Michelle Barkemeyer for supervising the program, and to the Telluride Foundation for funding that made this internship possible!
Click here to see a PowerPoint with photos of Jessica and Treay's work.
Many of us take for granted a love of the outdoors. Yet some children never get out in nature. And others know little about our amazing Colorado plants and wildlife. To foster a love of the outdoors in local students, two events took place this fall.
The Bureau of Land Management hosted Cottonwood Days in mid-September. Uncompahgre Partnership staff and many other volunteers taught local 6th graders. The students loved finding critters on the bottom of river rocks, getting up close and personal with fish, hiking, and much more.
In late September, the U.S. Forest Service organized a Public Lands Day event for 3rd and 4th graders on the Dave Wood Interpretive Trail. Many of the children had never been on a nature hike before. They loved seeing birds, butterflies, and learning about forests and wildlife. Events like these help students to become lovers of nature and wise stewards of our public lands.
Thanks to a team of agency staff and citizen volunteers, there's now a new weather station in Gunnison sage-grouse habitat. The team installed the station in Dry Creek Basin, south of Naturita, Colorado. To see the local weather conditions click here. Click here for the Weather Underground station which shows radar. Note: on WU, they're using our soil temperature info and listing it as the air temperature. We're working with WU to get this fixed.
The data it provides will help land and wildlife managers:
- See how grouse populations fluctuate compared to local weather conditions over time.
- Make correlations between the success of habitat improvement projects and weather.
- See how the local climate changes and how that affects habitat for grouse and other wildlife.
A big "Thank you!" to meteorologist Bob Grossman for his advice and help in setting up the station and making the data accessible. I also appreciated the help of Evan Phillips, Murphy Jacox, Creighton Wood and Dave Schneck in setting up the station. Finally, thanks to Onset, makers of the HOBO data logger, for donating some equipment to the San Miguel Basin Gunnison Sage-grouse Working Group! - Leigh Robertson
"In my mind weather stations are one of the best monitoring investments that can be made. Like a good wine, the older it gets the more valuable the data it's collecting becomes." - Doug Ouren, U.S. Geological Survey
We'd like to say a big "Thank You!" to everyone who's donated or provided grants to the WCLC, including the:
- Telluride Foundation for funding the Norwood Forestry Internship Program.
- Gates Family Foundation for generously supporting our Native Plant, Weed, and Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Programs.
- Colorado Water Board for helping fund the removal of Russian Olive, an invasive species, along the Gunnison River within National Conservation Areas.
- Colorado Department of Agriculture and Uncompahgre Habitat Partnership Program for funds to control noxious weeds on the Uncompahgre Plateau.
- National Environmental Education Foundation for money to help fund the development of our new website.
- The generous individuals who've contributed to our various working groups. Thank you!
If you'd like to donate a car, some stock, or put the WCLC in your estate plans, it's easy to do that through the Montrose Community Foundation. To learn more, you can call 970-249-3900, email sarap.montrosecf(at)gmail.com, or go to: http://montrosecf.org/