May is the 21st anniversary of American Wetlands Month
, and the U.S. Geological Survey is showcasing the scientific service it provides to the Nation in learning about our wetland resources.
Click to read this letter from Anne Kinsinger, Associate Director of USGS in charge of Ecosystems Science:
In California, the Western Ecological Research Center
is responsible for a great number of USGS wetland research projects -- which we conduct in service to federal, state and local offices who need more scientific understanding of their local wetland resources and species in order to improve management strategies.
WERC study topics include endangered frogs
; San Francisco Bay wetland restoration
; Central Valley waterfowl migration
; giant garter snake monitoring
; salt marsh parasite ecosystems
; avian influenza research
; and much more.
But we also study one topic you might not expect as a "wetlands" issue: alpine meadows
As you can see in the top photo of Yosemite Falls
, these mountain meadows are quite wet! These unique ecosystems provide seasonal aquatic habitats for wildlife like deer, bighorn sheep, pikas, toads and insects, and they must also withstand the frozen winters of high elevations.
Here are some of the alpine meadow studies
WERC researchers at the Yosemite Field Station
So if you're heading up to Yosemite National Park this coming Memorial Day weekend, remember that wetlands ecosystems are everywhere -- from the Bay to the Sierras -- helping to sustain the wildlife and pristine outdoors that we all enjoy and appreciate!
-- Ben Young Landis
Yosemite Falls Image Credit: Ben Young Landis/USGS