Monday, April 20, 2009

Restoration Videos

The Wild Earth Guardians restoration work takes place in streams and wetlands throughout New Mexico. A core group of employees help set up for volunteer events for several weeks beforehand. This work consists of removing invasive species (primarily Salt Cedar Tamarix spp. and Russian Olive Eleagnus angustifolia):

harvesting native species (Cottonwood Populus deltoides and Willow Salix exigua), transporting them to the jobsite, and then augering (drilling) holes:

In all weather and soil conditions:

Climate Change, by U.S. State

The climate is always changing, and here are the last 30 year averaged trends.

You can also see how the seasons are changing.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Santa Fe River Stream Team 2009

We had a great turnout of volunteers to help us plant native willow and cottonwood in the Santa Fe River. This planting continued a 10-year Wild Earth Guardian project to restore continuously linked habitat from the Santa Fe River's confluence with the Rio Grande 50 miles up to its headwaters in the Santa Fe National Forest.

From Santa Fe River Stream Team 2009

From Santa Fe River Stream Team 2009

From Santa Fe River Stream Team 2009

Looking upstream BEFORE:
From Santa Fe River Stream Team 2009

Looking upstream AFTER:
From Santa Fe River Stream Team 2009

On to the NEXT Stream Team:
From Santa Fe River Stream Team 2009

Monday, April 06, 2009

Clearn Water Restoration Act of 2009 Introduced

The Clean Water Restoration Act is the legislative fix for judicial meddling in wetland delineation and regulation. It has just been introduced to Congress. As a professional who has worked on wetland assessment and restoration projects throughout the American Southwest, I can say that this is Act is critical to continue the effectiveness of the original Clean Water Act. For more information.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Conceptual Alternatives in Classifying Ecosystems

Different descriptors used to classify ecosystems can be thought of as Venn Diagrams within a conceptual field, with e.g. playas and closed basins overlapping for those sites that are both, while acknowledging that not all closed basins are playas and not all playas are in closed basins. Under this framework, playas could be thought of as a subset of "Herbacious Vegetation" (although some playas may not be vegetated at all)

From Rio Puerco

Another way of thinking about ecosystem classifiers is as a rainbow of alternative systems. Each system, such as that developed by the Nature Conservancy, Roccio, or HGM, entails a complete and comprehensive analysis of any given field site. In other words, choosing to describe ecosystems using HGM entails that each ecosystem will be given an HGM classifier. The strength of this perspective is that it acknowledges the classifier is system-dependent, while the weakness is that it does not conceptually relate one system to another.
From Rio Puerco

Grazed Prairie Grassland vs Ungrazed Desert Grassland

...but how do you tell along transitional zones from Desert Grassland to Midwestern Prairie? How many distinct and idiosyncratic ecosystems or ecotones exist?

From Rio Puerco

Species Richness versus Community Similarity

Kindscher et al published a paper in 2004 that may be relevant to the statistical interpretation of VIBI plots as measures of ecosystem health. This paper, by Kindscher et al compared diversity of three taxa (plants, birds, and butterflies) in wet meadows in the Tetons and Gallatins. Their results suggest moving beyond species richness(alpha diversity) to other statistical interpretations of diversity. Specifically, they use a test that compares every pairing (beta diversity) of their study sites to measure community similarity "e.g. sites with similar bird communities also had similar butterfly communities". They found excellent correlations between community similarity (probably determined by abiotic factors e.g. moisture) but didn't find much of a correlation between species richness. Interesting!

Su, J.C., D.M. Debinski, M.E. Jakubauskas, and K. Kindscher. 2004. Beyond Species Richness: Community Similarity as a Measure of Cross-Taxon Congruence for Coarse-Filter Conservation. Conservation Biology 18:167-173.