Monday, July 20, 2009

Week 6

The rain caught up with us...but did not dampen our spirits! We started our third week in the Green Mountain National Forest to work on wetland delineation. Monday we started our work day meeting up with Kathy Donna from the USFS at the field house for some in depth training on how to identify wetlands. Essentially wetlands have three main characteristics; they are inundated by or saturated with water, they contain wet or hydric soils, and they are dominated by plant species that are adapted to life in wet soils. We were given our topo map for the week on the areas that we would be working on and went outside for a brief look at a local wet area identifying plant species. One of the main reasons the USFS is having us identify these wetlands is for future tree sales and where it would be appropriate to cut. Some of these areas include class 2 wetlands which are identified on the Vermont significant wetlands inventory maps.

On Tuesday, we were back in the field with Kathy and Melissa from the USFS this time at our first wetland complex that consisted of a series of beaver dams. We did some delineation and GPS work using the knowledge we gained from the previous day. Thunderstorms threatened from above and as soon as we stopped for lunch, the rain unleashed itself! The second half of the day did turned itself around weather wise and we were back in the field to take some more GPS tracks and points. Later that night, we had a very enjoyable and enlightened dinner with Nancy Bell who is the Vermont Represenative of the Conservation Fund (a national organization that helps government agencies, non profits, and other partners acquire and protect landscapes used for wildlife habitat, recreation, history, and more).

The remainder of the week had us working hard on our designated areas, tracking streams, identifying wetland plants, and bushwacking through some hardcore hobblebush! Much was accomplished by all the teams by Thursday and we felt we had a great start on this new and exciting project.

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