Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite National Park, California (USDA-NRCS photo by Ron Nichols).
This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.
An award-winning watershed assessment tool, the Automated Geospatial Watershed Assessment (AGWA), was deployed to assess potential Rim Fire threats in Yosemite National Park in California. The park experienced a devastating fire that began on August 17, 2013, and took several months to contain. The fire burned more than 400 square miles in and around the park, cost $125.8 million to date, and is considered one of the largest wildfires in California’s history.
BAER (Burned Area Emergency Response) is a multi-agency group that includes USDA’s Forest Service and others, and is responsible for identifying potential threats such as downstream flooding and developing plans to rehabilitate and restore burned areas. BAER teams use AGWA to target immediate efforts to prevent threats to people, wildlife and the land. Using AGWA combined with the burn severity map produced by BAER teams, experts can rapidly pull together information on pre- and post-fire conditions. For example, knowing where to apply mulch after a fire can reduce runoff and erosion and can help minimize downstream risks from fire induced land cover and soil changes. Read more »
Prince Albert II of Monaco poses in between Wapiti District Ranger Sue Stresser and Shoshone Forest Supervisor Joe Alexander. (U.S. Forest Service/ Kristie Salzmann)
On a beautiful fall day on America’s first national forest, Prince Albert II of Monaco retraced the steps his great-grandfather took 100 years ago through the wilderness of the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming.
Prince Albert II helped celebrate on Sept. 20 the centennial anniversary of the hunting trip his great-grandfather, Prince Albert I, took with now-historic figures William “Buffalo Bill” Cody and Abraham Archibald Anderson, the first Special Superintendent of Forest Reserves. The successful hunting trip cemented lasting relationships between the men and established an area in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, which is still known today as Camp Monaco. Read more »
Dennis Sun on Sun Ranch, west of Casper, Wyo., with NRCS intern Meghan McPhaden. Photo credit: Haley Lockwood/NRCS
Dennis Sun, owner of the Sun Ranch west of Casper, Wyo. and publisher/owner of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, is making his ranch friendlier for a small bird that he can neither sell nor hunt. That’s because he wanted to help ensure that the sage grouse doesn’t get listed as an endangered species.
The sage grouse is a ground-dwelling bird native to the sagebrush ecosystem of the American West. Once numbering 16 million, it has dwindled to as few as 200,000 birds. About 40 percent of all sage grouse are found in Wyoming. Read more »
Snow surveyors approach SNOTEL site on Mount Hood.
Koeberle’s job carries her over mountains by helicopter and horse, snowshoes and skis. She has encountered grizzly bears, avalanches and wolves and visited ridges that few people have seen.
Koeberle is a hydrologist and snow surveyor for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and works on the agency’s snow survey team—a group of specially trained scientists who maintain snow gauges that are important to farmers, business owners and many other people in the West. Read more »
Fall needle cast is natural for many conifers, including ponderosa pine. The trees shed their oldest leaves each fall, but the leaves at the branch tips remain green. Pine trees that lose their newer leaves at the branch tips may be stressed or diseased. Photo by Jill Welborn.
Perhaps it’s just me, but I think many people are relieved to see the fall colors and relish the cool mornings here on the Black Hills National Forest. Read more »
Cattle graze in meadows along South Piney Creek on the Fish Creek Flying W Ranch west of Big Piney in 2011. Photo by Mark Gocke, Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
A new land conservation agreement will protect key wildlife habitat in Wyoming’s Green River Valley. The agreement, which establishes two conservation easements on the Fish Creek Flying W Ranches near Big Piney, was coordinated by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and The Conservation Fund. Read more »