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Pinedale Online > News > July 2009 > Grazing bonus

Not much. Photo by Cat Urbigkit.
Not much
This meadow might not look like much, but Steve Laster tells us to take another look, and learn.
Grazing bonus
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
July 16, 2009

Retired from the Bureau of Land Management in Wyoming after
more than three decades, Steve Laster spends his free days
strolling through the sagebrush west of Daniel. He focuses on mid-elevation meadows, and what he finds is remarkable.

Laster's voluntary survey work has expanded the known range of a sensitive species, the meadow pussytoes. The plant benefits from managed grazing, and Laster has detected three new populations in Sublette County.

Diversity. Photo by Cat Urbigkit.
A close look at the ground reveals a broad range of plants in this forb-dominated vegetative community, amid a sea of sagebrush.

Meadow pussytoes. Photo by Cat Urbigkit.
Meadow pussytoes
This sensitive plant species, the Meadow pussytoes, grows in a few locations in western Wyoming and benefits from managed livestock grazing.

Duck egg. Photo by Cat Urbigkit.
Duck egg
Newly hatched duck eggs are some of the treasures found in this meadowland in the sage.

Cowpie. Photo by Cat Urbigkit.
Sage grouse turn over dried cow manure piles to reveal the rich diversity of insects, essential for chick survival.

Fen. Photo by Cat Urbigkit.
A portion of the meadow is actually a fen. A fen is a lowland area covered with water and producing sedge, coarse grasses, and other aquatic plants.

Killdeer egg. Photo by Cat Urbigkit.
Killdeer egg
Killdeer use the meadow for nesting as well, as evident by this killdeer eggshell.

Steve scopes. Photo by Cat Urbigkit.
Steve scopes
Retired from the BLM, Steve Laster turns his attention once more to his favorite area of study - botany.

Meadow pussytoes also. Photo by Cat Urbigkit.
Meadow pussytoes also
Grazing pressure keeps grass species that could outcompete with forbs at bay, providing for conditions favorable to sensitive plants like the Meadow pussytoes.

Laster examines plant. Photo by Cat Urbigkit.
Laster examines plant
Steve Laster takes a closer look. His work has resulted in the discovery of three new populations of a sensitive plant species.
Pinedale Online > News > July 2009 > Grazing bonus

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