Vernal, UT- Home of the Dinosaur

I attended the Region 4 Climate Change Coordinators’ Workshop in Vernal, UT where we discussed important updates to the climate change program as well as had many field activities to relate climate change adaptations to tangible aspects of the forest. Visiting Dinosaur National Monument was on of my favorite locations. I got to see very interesting rock formations and see excavations of dinosaur bones. Drought is has a big impact on the native vegetation in the National Monument. Invasive plants in the area, especially cheat grass, can out compete the natives and take over the area. Another amazing site was the Flaming Gorge Dam where we learned about a different aspect of drought and invasive species. Drought can cause major issues for a Dam by reducing the amount of hydropower it can generate and put strains on the agricultural communities that depend on it. With warming waters, there is a threat to the native cold water species like the Colorado River Cutthroat Trout being out competed by an invasive Brook Trout. Due to the Brook Trout’s ability to tolerate more variation in water temperatures and are predatorial towards the other fish and their eggs. I also walked around looking at the variation in native plant species in the area and was happy to see that there are healthy populations of wildflowers thriving with all the precipitation that the area has received over the winter and spring. Overall the trip was very informative on climate change adaptations and it was good to see that how those strategies are being implemented today.

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