Ecological Analysis and Studies

An integral part of effective adaptive conservation management relies on using scientifically objective indicators that can be consistently monitored and tracked through time. The support and expertise of biologists outside land management agencies is often required to develop new methods or employ existing ones in the field, in advance of land-use decisions. In addition to monitoring and field studies, Wild Utah Project also provides biological and science-based analysis of land use plans and projects, scientific literature reviews, expert testimony, and have designed new Best Management Practices documents that help to better incorporate ecological science into land-use policy including, but not limited to, off-road-vehicle use and renewable energy development.  The examples below do not cover all the studies Wild Utah Project have performed for a variety of our partners.  GO TO LIBRARY AND SCROLL TO BOTTOM FOR REPORTS OF ALL STUDIES COMPLETED FOR PARTNERS

 
Conducting aspen stand condition assessments at Wolf Creek Ranch near Kamas, UT

Conducting aspen stand condition assessments at Wolf Creek Ranch near Kamas, UT

FOREST HEALTH AND USE PLANNING

In 2009 Wild Utah Project was contacted by landowners from the 14,000 acre Wolf Creek Ranch near Kamas, UT.  They were worried about eventually losing their aspen stands, one of the most popular features of the ranch. Homeowners suspected increased elk herbivore to be a factor influencing their aspen stands. A collaborative effort among Wild Utah Project, Utah State University, Utah Open Lands (who holds the Conservation Easement for the property), Utah Forestry, Fire and State Lands, and the Wolf Creek Ranch Homeowners Association was formed to investigate the condition of the aspen stands in question.

 
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BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES AND PROTOCOLS

See our Library page and scroll down towards the bottom to the Best Management Practices and Ecological Assessment Protocols sections.

 
Citizen Scientists attending a stream assessment training

Citizen Scientists attending a stream assessment training

rapid stream riparian assessment

Wild Utah Project is one of the authors of the Rapid Stream Riparian Assessment protocol developed to determine the current level of function of lower elevation streams and riparian areas on the Colorado Plateau through a suite of quantitative and qualitative field indicators.  The method has been used by dozens of agencies, municipalities and other stakeholders in Utah and the other four corner states.

 
Wild Utah Project Founder, Jim Catlin, measuring grass height in the Duck Creek allotment in Rich County

Wild Utah Project Founder, Jim Catlin, measuring grass height in the Duck Creek allotment in Rich County

 
Former Wild Utah Project staff member Wendy Bates assists Botanist Elizabeth Neese with a survey for Sphaeralcea psoraloides, a species for which WUP wrote a status review

Former Wild Utah Project staff member Wendy Bates assists Botanist Elizabeth Neese with a survey for Sphaeralcea psoraloides, a species for which WUP wrote a status review

Grazing studies and monitoring

To make a informed livestock grazing management decisions the amount of forage growing in an area, the current condition of the landscape, condition native wildlife habitat, and the existing number of domestic grazing animals are vital pieces of information.  Often land managers do not have all these points of information in advance of decision-making processes.  Wild Utah Project helps develop ecological assessment tools or leverage existing tools, gathers data in the field, and continues to work with state and federal agencies to help them meet their promised stewardship obligations. Click below to learn more about the 20-year long history of Wild Utah Project's Grazing related studies and monitoring....

 

literature reviews, status reviews and listing petitions

Wild Utah Project has a long history of helping conservation partners with scientific literature reviews to further strategies and goals of conservation campaigns.  These can take many forms, ranging from background information for "Citizen Alternatives" for Land Use Plan amendments or revisions,  status reviews to determine whether a rare plant should be petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act, actual listing petitions for species under the ESA, and exhibits that are entered into evidence when our partners go to court to achieve conservation outcomes