Restoring ecosystems on southern Utah's three national forests
Southwest Utah's Fishlake, Dixie, and Manti-La Sal National Forests have been and are being impacted by a multitude of permitted human activities. These national forests are ideal areas for restoring critical wildlife habitats and corridors. We are actively working with the Forest Service and conservation organizations to implement new management strategies that emphasize plant and animal diversity and health. Visit the Trust's Utah Forests Program web page for more information about these issues and sign up as a volunteer to make a difference.
In January 2010, the state of Utah adopted its first statewide beaver management plan - and it's a good one - calling for assessments of streams into which beaver could be reintroduced. We’re also working with Utah State University to ground-truth a protocol for identifying via maps where beaver might thrive. In three volunteer trips we will be assessing the condition of beaver habitat. One trip (June 19-24) near Fish Lake, will assess UM Creek (one of two watersheds named as top priority for restoration by the Fishlake NF) and Tasha Creek (to check how beavers are doing among the 17 active dams we mapped in 2010). A second trip (July 15-20) will be on the Manti-La Sal NF, one we just have begun to poke around in for beaver and found some great complexes in 2011. The third trip (Sept 11-16) returns to Monroe Mountain (Fishlake NF) to gather information on riparian conditions for beaver as part of a major, current collaboration to restore aspen (whose leaves will be turning yellow just then!)
A fourth trip, involves fencing some private land surrounded by Dixie NF, for support of beaver reintroduction. We’ll complete the rehab of an historical log fence we began in 2011, and build a post-and-wire fence. It’s in a great meadow on Boulder Mountain.
Cottonwood, Aspen and Willow Assessment
The Trust, assissted by volunteers, is gathering critical information to make sure our national forests in southern Utah have flourishing cottonwood, aspen and willow. Two trips are scheduled for this work: one (Aug 27-Sept 1) is completing a two-year commitment to Manti-La Sal NF that we would help assess aspen, willow, and meadow conditions on Gentry Mountain, to inform an upcoming grazing management plan; the second (Sept. 25-30) is our all-important, end-of-grazing-season trip to check on cottonwood, aspen, willow, and meadow conditions after they have seen a lot of use (i.e., bearing witness).