Friday, August 18, 2017

Using Remote Sensing to Measure Riparian Buffers

My mini project this summer was to use remote sensing to look at riparian buffers in Wilson Creek and the Annis Creek Watershed. Remote sensing is the science of obtaining information about an object without being physically near that object. Riparian buffers is a strip of natural vegetation along the side of waterways that are meant to keep sediment and pollutants out of them.    

The Wilson Creek and Annis Creek Watershed is an area of 46,946 acres. By comparing, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Cropland Data Layer (CDL) map and the Department of Natural Resources‘ Wiscland map to the United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Imagery Program (NAIP) imagery, I analyzed how many acres of riparian buffer each watershed has, as well as the amounts of properties that have riparian buffers around Wilson Creek and Annis Creek.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Diving In: Conservation Conversations north of Highway 64

We spend a lot of time talking about “the environment.”
We talk a lot about what can we do to protect the environment, to improve it- as if we could somehow take a step back and see the planet as separate from ourselves.  The academic and mainstream discourse surrounding our natural resources often tends to be from an outside perspective: eager plans to shape and defend and save the world... plans made from a calculated distance.  In this summer’s anthropology project, I had to strive to hit the sweet spot of ethnographic research: become a part of the community I wanted to comprehend while maintaining a clear and focused role in data collection and analysis.  The comforts of graphs and charts and correlations disappeared as I tried to grasp how a society realizes its relationship with the lakes and waterways that surround it.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Wading Forward

There is a place just outside of Colfax, WI, off of highway 40, where a person can put on some waders, step into a stream, and imagine that they are a pioneer exploring their way through new territory. I have been to this place where the silt grabbed at my feet and the water flirted dangerously close to the tops of my waders. Eighteen Mile Creek is beautiful. It looks pristine as it rustles softly over the rocks at its bottom, but this creek has a secret that it shares with many other streams and rivers in the Red Cedar Watershed. It is absolutely full of P.