08 Sep Botanical Resources Assistant RA-DHA – Mosaics In Science
The federally listed endangered sentry milk-vetch is known from only 12 locations in Grand Canyon National Park (GRCA) and is currently facing threats from trampling and climate change. Maschinski et al. (1997) noted that when multiple threats such as trampling and a changing climate occur simultaneously, sentry milk-vetch population numbers could plummet and move closer to extinction. A prompt response is warranted to trigger sentry milk-vetch recovery efforts.
The intern will advance sentry milk-vetch (hereafter referred to as ‘SMV’) recovery efforts through investigating potential degradation of SMV habitat by large ungulates (i.e. bison), surveying for new SMV populations, engaging the public in education and resource stewardship activities, and sharing findings with decision-makers and stakeholders in a professional setting.
Investigate Potential Degradation of SMV Habitat by Large Ungulates
A herd of bison has expanded their range inside of GRCA boundaries, exponentially increasing from 1 confirmed sighting in 1996 to a current estimated population size of 400 to 600 individuals. In 2016, GRCA began radio tracking bison movements and 19 bison have been collared since project launch. As outlined in the USFWS SMV Recovery Plan (2006), the intern will use bison GPS collar data to help determine if bison are impacting SMV populations and suitable habitat on the North Rim. If data analyses and on-site observation confirm SMV habitat degradation by bison, recommended actions will be developed and presented to GRCA Science and Resource Management (SRM) Program Managers.