10-14-15 Field Note

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10-14-15 Field Note

October 14, 2015

Jeff Clarke's Field Note shows aspen transplants, buck and rail fences, elk, and wild rice.

Field Note October 12th, 2015 By Jeff Clarke

The vegetation around the old corral site suffers due to years of dense cattle pressure. Over the last month, the field crew transplanted more than 1,000 basin wild rye plants into this area. The new grasses will add both structure and habitat to the barren landscape.

Herds of elk canvass the landscape. Their calls reverberate all day long.

At night, elk visit the center pivots for water as they make their way back up the mountain. As a result, vegetation around the watering holes suffers.

Close to half of the aspen suckers we transplanted this spring survived their first year. Most that perished didn’t receive an adequate amount of water. Suckers from the survivors should replace the dead in years to come.

We have observed some does and fawns inside the buck and rail exclosures. I assume that the exclosures keep the larger elk and bucks at bay. Whatever the case, trees and shrubs inside the buck and rail exclosures still far outgrow those outside the exclosure.

Virgin’s Bower can consume and kill trees. The vine’s skeletons provide a dense, impenetrable thicket that serve as great cover for all kinds of critters.

The planted eastern wild rice in the Clubhouse Floodplain attracts all kinds of birds.

Hundreds of cottonwood and willows grow on the island in the clubhouse pond. Few reach above browse height due to beavers, muskrats and deer. In an effort to establish a more dense stand of trees on the island, we added a few temporary metal exclosures.

I notice a handfull of trees damaged every week… and I always wonder who did it!

I notice a handfull of trees damaged every week… and I always wonder who did it!…and now I know!

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08-18-15 Field Note