MAY 17-21 Pre- and Post- Beaver Stream Condition Assessments IN SHEEPROCK MOUNTAINS
Join us for a 4 day, 4 night field trip in the Sheeprock Mountains on the western edge of the Great Basin in central Utah We will be training for and conducting Rapid Stream Riparian Assessment (RSRA) techniques with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, to assess a degraded section of Vernon Creek, before installation of 'beaver dam analogues' later this season, to ready the stream for potential beaver recolonization or reintroduction. Our chief goals of this field trip are twofold: First, the RSRA technique will give us valuable baseline condition information on the current state of Vernon Creek before modification- beaver dam analogue installation - later this summer. Secondly, we will be providing training with and for Utah Division of Wildlife Resources staff, other conservation partners, and citizen scientists to use the RSRA protocol later in the summer and how to document any changes to the stream system that are brought about by the beaver dam analogues if they wish to revisit the site with us.
Currently, Vernon Creek is fairly degraded and down-cut, due to many stressors, one of which is that beavers - who usually keep streams dammed and water levels high - no longer occur in the Sheeprock Mountains. The stream and riparian surveys we perform during our training will provide a more complete story of the current state of function for both the in-stream fish and aquatic habitat characteristics, and the condition of the riparian vegetation on the banks.
What are beaver dam analogues (BDAs)?
Man-made beaver dams, built by driving 2-by-4's close together and directly into the stream channel bottom, and then weaving local materials such as willow boughs through the 2-by-4's are often referred to as 'beaver dam analogues.' Once installed, these structures build up sediment and debris behind them, create a pond, and this can both raise the water table and even aggrade the whole stream channel with the sediment that is caught behind BDAs.
We will meet at our campsite in the Sheeprock mountains on the evening of May 17th, and camp together 4 nights and have 4 full days afield, learning the RSRA protocol from our veteran instructor, Dr. Peter Stacey from the University of New Mexico, while we conduct the pre-BDA, baseline stream assessments together. All meals will be provided for by our most amazing (and 11 year veteran with Wild Utah Project) camp cook, Beth Peisner. While the world-class training from Dr. Stacey is free of charge, there is a $100 fee to offset food costs and training materials.
To Register for the Sheeprocks Citizen Science Trip, please fill out and submit the form below! (NOTE AS OF APRIL 03 THIS TRIP IS FULL. WE ARE ACCEPTING SIGN-UPS TO THE WAITING LIST)