Thursday, May 16, 2013

ISO Field Assistant

Identifying Sage Grouse Nesting and Brood-rearing Habitat on the Wild Horse Wind Farm and Whiskey Dick Wildlife Area, Ellensburg, WA

As many of you know, I am a graduate student in the Resource Management program studying sage grouse habitat on the Wild Horse Wind Farm and Whiskey Dick Wildlife Areas.  My field work is to begin mid-May and I am looking for one to two students interested in gaining some field experience.

In brief: my study is two-fold.  It will assess the area for sage grouse nesting and brood-rearing habitat.  It will also provide a comparison of an area that is grazed to an area that has not been grazed in 30+ years.  Methods will involve locating potential nest sites (one known location from 2007) and collecting vegetation data.  At these selected “nest sites” data
will be gathered at three spatial scales: site level (“nest site”), area level (20 meter transect), and patch level (100 meter transect). Vegetation cover, grass and shrub height, and visual obstruction will be determined using daubenmire frames (1-meter square at “nest site” and 100x50cm frames every 10 meters), a robel pole, and 100 meter transects North-South and 20 meter transects East-West.

Ideally, I will be going up twice a week, aiming for 2-3 sites in one day for a total of 20 sites (so 7 to 10 outings to Whiskey Dick Mountain depending on how smooth things run).  I imagine it will be about 6 hours of field work a day.  There will be some hiking involved.  Appropriate footwear and clothing would be essential.  Tick repellent and sunscreen!  Contact me if you are interested in spending some time in the shrub-steppe.  Who knows, cold beer could be involved!

Contact: Jessica Walling-Phillips
                Dean Hall 362

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