BLM Utah is conducting river shoreline surveys with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Many of the rivers are located in very steep sandstone cliff formations that are hundreds of feet deep and are dangerous or inaccessible to surveyors. To delineate the current shorelines of some of the most challenging areas along the San Juan and Green Rivers, we used National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) 2011 imagery. The imagery was georectified using ground survey data—X, Y, and Z coordinates—collected at accessible field points that were distinctive on the aerial photographs.
BLM has partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium (MRLC) in a multi-year mapping and monitoring program to better characterize shrubland and grassland ecosystems in the western United States. For several management objectives in semi-arid to arid ecosystems, the BLM requires more detailed information about land cover and vegetation than is currently offered in existing national products (e.g., National Land Cover Database (NLCD), Landscape Fire and Resource Management Planning Tools Project (LANDFIRE)).
In June 2014, photogrammetry personnel from the BLM National Operations Center documented the rock art panels at Castle Gardens in central Wyoming. The panels, etched in sandstone, have sustained damage from years of erosion and vandalism. Ground-based, close-range photogrammetry was used for documentation, which will support future monitoring and preservation activities.
How do you map the historical distribution of Wyoming’s only endangered plant species when nobody even acknowledged the species in Wyoming until 1996? BLM and University of Wyoming researchers attempted to address this problem by mapping the unique habitat of blowout penstemon (Penstemon haydenii) using historical aerial imagery. Blowout penstemon in Wyoming is restricted to 19 active sand dunes in the Ferris dunefield of central Wyoming, and is associated with the loose sand downwind of blowout rims, slopes and slip faces that is visible in aerial photos.
The BLM and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Greater Sage-grouse Monitoring Plan is designed to monitor the implementation and evaluate the effectiveness of actions to conserve the species and its habitat. A multi-scale monitoring approach is necessary as sage-grouse are a landscape species, locating themselves within the environment based on a hierarchy of features from broad-scale to site-specific. Conservation is therefore scale-dependent, and conservation actions to benefit populations are implemented within seasonal habitats.
In 2009, a remarkable new dinosaur tracksite was discovered on lands administered by the Moab Field Office, containing one of the largest multitaxic tracksites in North America. The Mill Canyon Dinosaur Tracksite preserves 10 different types of tracks, including various dinosaurs, birds, and crocodiles, with over 200 tracks being documented in an area of approximately 500 m2. The site is being studied by an international team, lead by Dr. Martin Lockley of the University of Colorado at Denver.
In July 2014, the BLM National Operations Center, BLM Walter Horning Seed Orchard, and the BLM Oregon/Washington State Office explored the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to map conifer tree orchards, produce 3D models of various seed orchard plots, and assist in cone counts within the Walter Horning Seed Orchard in northern Oregon. The RQ-16C T-Hawk hover aircraft and the fixed-wing RQ-11A Raven were flown to collect images using high-resolution off-the-shelf imaging cameras. A Canon S-100 and a Sony HDR-AS100V were evaluated. Imagery was collected with stereo overlap to enable 3D