Summer in the meadow

Summer in the meadow
Beaver Creek, Idaho, USA

Friday, January 23, 2015

#Wilderness Act 50-year recap videos (@pewtrusts @forestservice @sierraclub)

Last year the Wilderness Act turned 50. It was a monumental piece of legislation that was advocated for by many, opposed by some, and has arguably been one of America's greatest and most contentious acts of environmental and cultural preservation. The anniversary celebration's multimedia PR is arriving (has arrived) with bells on. For example, see the Sierra Club's video:

And this one by the Pew Charitable Trusts:

Many U.S. agencies celebrated the occasion as well, including the US Forest Service who manages 193-million acres, 36-million of which are designated as wilderness:

Happy belated 50th and early 51st birthday to our nation's wilderness.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

@CrowBarSkiRace January 31, 2015 in #LoganCanyon, #Utah #CROWBAR2015

Crowbar 2015 will be run and skied January 31st, 2015.
Each year Nordic United, northern Utah's premier, non-motorized, winter recreation organization, holds a race. This race is the Cache Regional Overland Winter BAckcountry Race, or the CROWBAR in short. CROWBAR is a ski-mountaineering race, in which participants skin uphill, transition to downhill (ski) mode, and then continue racing down the mountain. This year's CROWBAR is a USSMA-sanctioned category II race and will have the usual 6,000 feet of vert, a pair of bootpack hikes, and some fast downhills.

It's all uphill from here...and then downhill...and back again...
CROWBAR takes place entirely off the resorts, and is run on backcountry terrain near Peter Sinks just east of Beaver Mountain, UT and south of the Idaho border. The race has three divisions, a race division for the elite and ambitious, a rec division for the weekend warriors (half the vertical, and six miles horizontal distance) and a kid's division.

CROWBAR is a non-profit race that benefits Nordic United and the Logan Citizen's Ski Mountaineering Series. The race is a great challenge, great fun, and supports the great initiatives of NU. Hopefully we'll see CROWBAR's usual ultra sport friends from the Wasatch, Jim and Liz Knight, the Brackelsbergs, and our proud crew of local NU volunteers, as well as a fantastic and diverse racer turnout.

David, Erik, John, Jim, Mark, and the rest of the course setting volunteers
Erik, John Koudelka, and I, heavy with flags.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Today in pretty #watershed #science #infographics... are a few comparing stream classification frameworks on monitored reaches of the John Day Watershed. Alan Kasprak, Martha Jensen and I have been hard at work on a manuscript, and some of the preliminary figures are too good not to share.
The Middle Fork John Day Watershed, Oregon, USA. Points are CHaMP-monitored reaches from the 2012-13 field campaigns.

A four-way comparison of multiple stream classification frameworks: River Styles (Brierley and Fryirs 2005), Natural Channel Classification (Beechie and Imaki 2014), Natural Channel Design (Rosgen 1994) and a partitioning around medoids statistical clustering (k-means clustering).

Principal components analysis of the partitioning around medoids clusters of stream channel form. CHaMP-monitored reaches were clustered using form data including: gradient, bankfull width, bankfull width: depth ratio, integrated wetted width, and D16, D50, and D 84 particle sizes.

Hopefully we'll get this through our co-authors and have it on our target journal's editor's desk by President's Day.



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015 Society of #Wetland Scientists Pacific Northwest Chapter Meeting (@sws_org)

This (relatively) just in: the Society of Wetland Scientists Pacific Northwest Chapter meeting will take place October 6-8, 2015 in Olympia, WA, USA. The theme is "From a Watershed Perspective: Integrating Science into Practice."

The call for organized sessions and contributed abstracts will go out shortly, with calls for volunteers, student scholarships, and sponsors to follow shortly thereafter.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The #Utah water year so far

A couple days out from 2015, and the Utah Water Year looks to be, dare I say it, looking alright. My fingers are crossed for a cool, snow-laden 2015.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Unseen Science of 2014: #Conservation of #Aquatic and Fishery Resources in the #PacificNorthwest

In 1994, the Northwest Forest Plan to maintain habitat for northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) was brokered under the Clinton administration, changing how forest management was done on public lands of the Pacific Northwest. Along with the adoption of several spotted owl habitat provisions, including late successional reserves, the Northwest Forest Plan mandated the adoption of an aquatic conservation strategy (ACS; see Reeves et al. 2006). This conservation program created upwards of one million hectares of riparian reserve networks and listed watersheds as tiers based on their importance for different evolutionary units of salmonid species. The main goals of the ACS were to maintain riparian and aquatic habitats and the processes that create and maintain their functional diversity across the Northwest Forest Plan region. With a number of federal programs watching these habitats closely, 15 and 20-year reports have begun to be released, including the Aquatic and Riparian Effectiveness Monitoring Program (AREMP)

This year, the Coast Range Association, an Oregon non-profit that has served as a conservation watchdog prior to and following the Northwest Forest Plan, published a twenty year review of the aquatic conservation strategy. The Coast Range Association (CRA) is one of many groups who have kept an eye on the success of the aquatic conservation strategy. Their report, which was completed by an expert panel on riparian and aquatic science, found no grounds for reducing current riparian reserve sizes in areas designed to create habitat, buffer streams from temperature extremes, or maintain nutrient cycling. Disturbances pathways for streams and riparian forests, including roads and grazing were all criticized in their review. While the CRA has an agenda in conserving forest and aquatic resources of western Oregon, their review was well-put together, and if nothing else creates a discussion point between applied and basic researchers, land managers, and riparian forest stakeholders, including livestock and timber groups, fishermen and hunters, and conservation advocates.

The entire report is available here.

The summary and highlights are available here.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

#Beaver and #stream restoration project covered in @usuextforestry's Utah Forest News

Last summer, our group worked to survey and install a beaver-assisted restoration project in northern Utah. This month an article that was prepared by Utah State Forestry Extension's Megan Dettenmaier on this project ran in Utah State Forestry Extension's Utah Forest News. Thanks to USU Forestry Extension and Megan for their support and press on using beaver and beaver dam analogs to restore incised streams in Utah. These projects provide a unique opportunity to take waste wood (thinned juniper, pinion, lodgepole pine, etc. and create starter structures on which beaver build dams that trap sediment and retain water to improve riparian and aquatic habitats for numerous fish and wildlife species. If you're a landowner looking to improve upland and aquatic habitat through low-diameter tree thinning for use in stream restoration, please get in touch with me directly: nate (a)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Congratulations to Logan Elmore (@twitiot63) and #ReidCamp @CNRUSU

As I've mentioned, research can feel an awful lot like a marathon. I don't mean this in the sense of, "running a marathon is crazy, terrible, impossible, etc." I mean it in the sense that one has to work for an indeterminate amount of time toward a challenging goal that often requires years of training and preparation. Last week, two friends successfully closed out their own (first) marathons, Logan Elmore, and Reid Camp. Both Reid and Logan did an awesome job on their projects and defenses and I'm extremely pleased to congratulate them on their achievements.

Logan (left) and Marco at CHaMP camp 2014
I met Logan Elmore on his recruiting visit to USU in late 2011 (or maybe early 2012?). Logan came from Oak Ridge National Lab and the university of Tennessee to work with Sarah Null in WATS. He came to work on modeling different river scenarios following environmental waters transfers in the Walker River, CA and NV. Last year, I came back to Utah from a trip, and in getting oriented, realized that I was late to getting good field technicians hired for our projects. The next weekend I walked by Logan at Beaver Mountain, and he mentioned that he might be looking for a little stop-gap work. A couple calls were made, and a few months later we were in CHaMP camp near Cove, OR with our co-worker, Marco, prepping for a big pre-restoration stream habitat data campaign.

Logan (right) and Marco show the scale of the incision problem on a tributary to the Raft River.
The fellas got trained up in total station surveying, digital topography, and stream habitat surveys and we were off to the races. Logan gunned hard on the total station all summer in northern Utah, did a hell of a job under adverse conditions. Things went wrong all summer, equipment failures, weather problems, unpredictable schedules, whatever, and Logan was always there with his southern humor, relaxed nature, and the uncanny ability to mend fence. Logan worked super hard - he and Marco made every last data point possible. It was a pleasure to learn and work alongside Logan. The most impressive part of Logan's summer was that he worked nights and weekends to hustle up his thesis and get it ready for the fall semester. For as hard as Logan was working...I was only seeing half of it! That's a testament to Logan's admirable work ethic and winning attitude. In short, he's a resourceful ringer of a scientist and he gets things done in the face of adversity.

Logan (left) has it all under control with Rico, fall 2013
Sadly, I forget exactly how I met Reid. I think one day, he just showed up in the office in early 2013, and I maybe met him and his wife as they were moving him up to Logan? Maybe his laptop just showed up on the desk and afterwards, he followed suit? Anyhow, Reid was working on an intensively monitored watershed in southeastern Washington State. Asotin Creek, is a part of a Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board effort to monitor and restore salmonid populations and habitat. Reid had worked on assessing habitat condition with Eco Logical Research before coming to USU, so he was familiar with the watershed. During his time at USU, he monitored a large restoration effort that used "high density large woody debris" or HDLWD as it has become known in our lab. The idea was to install small, cheap wood structures that force water over and around the structure to create hydraulic and geomorphic complexity. This is important because Asotin Creek is currently wood limited either by the ability to grow large trees or the fluvial/hillslope processes required to contribute that wood to the channel. Reid differenced DEMs, built data collections apps, and assessed the entire Asotin Watershed using the River Styles framework, to tell a compelling story of ecosystem degradation, processes, and restoration for endangered salmonids. It was awesome.

Reid's new article in EOS
Additionally, Reid is a great guy. He's about as nice as someone can get, and works extremely hard at his science...even if he did break the lab coffeemaker (first rule of the lab: don't break the coffeemaker). I'm stoked to have shared some hikes, meals and discussions with him while we worked for the ET-AL together.

Reid Camp, 2013.
Congratulations to both Reid and Logan as they move forward into their next projects and endeavors!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Article Alert: Does #plant performance under stress explain divergent life history strategies? #AquaticBotany

My recently accepted article on how flooding and nutrient stress interact to impact the growth and biomass allocation of two wetland sedges was published in the January issue of Aquatic Botany. It ran as the first article in Volume 120B. I briefly mentioned this paper last fall, a portion of my M.S. work at UW that strived to see how seedlings of an evergreen sedge (Carex obnupta) and a fast-growing deciduous sedge (Carex stipata) differed in their growth responses to environmental stress and resource subsidy. 

A Principal Component Analysis that didn't make the final manuscript. CO = Carex obnupta; CS = Carex stipata; H = high nutrients; L = low nutrients; D = deep flooding; S = shallow flooding. 
Initially, I was following up on Ewing's 1996 paper that looked at how flooding and drying shaped survival and growth in four facultative or obligate wetland species. During my thesis days I thought the project mainly had implications for wetland restoration, but have more recently come to see that the research showed fundamental differences in the capability of each species to grow under stress. Accordingly these species had vastly different life history strategies which helped to explain their range limits and ecology during succession and following hydrologic disturbance.

The academic equivalent of seeing one's name in lights...not that glamorous, eh?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

December issue of Society of Wetland Scientist's #Wetland Science and Practice out today! (@SWS_Org)

Ralph Tiner recently took over for long-time Wetland Science and Practice editor Andy Cole, and overhauled the formatting, content and distribution of the Society of Wetland Scientists' practitioner magazine/journal. Andy did a great job for a long time, and Ralph has really run with what WSP is and can be. Thanks to both individuals for their service and energy in making WSP a great resource for the Society. The newest issue is available here: