This summer, Gina Collignon and I worked with Dr. Eric Berlow on a preliminary study of pack stock impacts on alpine meadows in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It was a great way to experience ecological research in a beautiful environment! We did transect surveys of two meadows in the Fish Creek Basin: Duck meadow and Ram meadow. In these two meadows, we found that more common impacts like sod fragmentation tended to be less severe, and that rarer impacts like rills and gullies tended to be more severe. In Ram meadow, we found an association between impacts and water sources and wet areas of meadows. Finally, we got the chance to use the spatial software ArcView to visualize these impacts across the landscape. All in all, it became clear that there is a need for much more research on alpine meadows and their use by pack stock and hikers in order to back policy decisions up with sound science.

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