09-12-14 Bitterroot Wildlife Internship Field Note

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09-12-14 Bitterroot Wildlife Internship Field Note

September 12, 2014

Joshua Lisbon, Evan Holmstrom, & Katharine Sampson describe the 2014 Bitterroot Wildlife Internship collaboration.

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Bitterroot Wildlife Internship 2014 Field Note

The Bitterroot Wildlife Internship (BWI) partners MPG Ranch and Ecology Project International (EPI). The program provides educational and field experience to the next generation of conservationists.

Invasive species, like houndstongue (Cynoglossum officinale), can outcompete native species and negatively impact biodiversity.

The BWI interns cleared 0.52 miles of houndstongue along the roads near Baldy summit.

The knapweed root weevil (Cyphocleonus achates), a form of bio-control, combats spotted knapweed.

BWI interns collected a total of 1365 root weevils that the field crew later released. Although prolific in the collection area, weevils become limited higher up on Baldy.

Barbed wire fence inhibits wildlife movement and can injure animals. Interns removed the bottom sheep fence and replaced the top and bottom barbed wires with smooth strand.

BWI interns retrofited 0.77 miles of fence, making it wildlife friendly. The blue line represents the converted fence. The red line indicates the northern border of MPG.

BWI crews removed old fence and barbed wire from MPG. Fence removal opens the land and allows free movement of wildlife.

Before and after photos.

Interns removed just over a mile of fence in the heart of elk wintering range.

Though big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) is a native species in Montana, it can create a closed canopy system in areas heavily grazed by cattle.

Interns thinned 1.5 acres of Sagebrush.

Native Seed Collection

BWI interns collected seed from four species of native forbs.

BWI interns gained valuable research experience over the course of the summer.

Over a period of 32 field days, 11 interns and 2 EPI instructors contributed 863 hours of service and research to MPG Ranch.

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