10-28-13 Field Note

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10-28-13 Field Note

October 28, 2013

Jeff Clarke's Field Note describes mountain mahogany plantings, fence repair projects, and wild horses.

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10-28-13 Field Note

Last week a herd of 13 “wild” horses showed up in the North Center Pivot. They loaf and relax in the planted alfalfa field and stray no farther than a quarter mile. I wonder how long they will stick around?

Last week the field crew spread a bunch more wheat/native grass/sainfoin seed in areas of high disturbance. Once again, they covered the seed with native hay bails filled with seed.

The field crew assisted with a massive bio-mass collection effort. They also did a pellet count and bio-mass density survey. The data we gathered will help Teagan determine the ungulate’s diet and locations in which they feed.

The crew also planted 400 mountain mahogany shrubs on North facing slopes in lower Sheep Camp. We spread mulch around the base of all trees. We only put exclosures around some trees. We will monitor how many plants get browsed.

Cattle continue to breach fence lines and graze on MPG’s plants. We hired Heart 5, the best fence builders in the valley, to erect a cattle resistant barrier in the Northern Floodplain in an effort to keep the bovine at bay. The fence should be done soon.

The cattle are not the only critters that enter the ranch from across the river. Worn elk trails climb the steep river banks and make their way to the agricultural fields and beyond.

Intermediate cottonwoods in the floodplain show a prominent browse line and antler rubs. We expect to see similar browse lines on the planted trees when they reach this height.

Ungulates wallow in the wet soil near a spring in Tongue Creek. Exclosures show us how native vegetation thrives when- not trammeled.

The majority of the ranch’s Eastern fence boundary has not been maintained in years. As a result, many fence posts are broken and lengths of barbed wire lie on the ground. Last week the crew worked to repair it. There remains work to be done. We painted the fence posts orange so hunters know where the property line is.

I noticed a random 3” mushroom in a hollow 10’ up in a willow tree. Upon further inspection, a red squirrel had eaten half of its head; this is common.

Recent Tasks Completed • Spread seed and hay • Assist with bio-mass collection • Clean seed • Clean barn • Pull weeds from experimental plots • Assist with MPGN projects • Monitor aquatic planting • Plant 400 mountain mahogany shrubs • Repair fence lines • Burn weed piles • Pick rocks • Spray spurge

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08-30-13 Field Note