It’s only 9 months or half the time of the total fellowship left, but time flies when you’re busy, and it’s been quite the busy summer. It has now turned to the warm days and breezy nights of fall here in the low country of South Carolina, heralded by the calls of the migrating ducks and geese. Throughout the season I’ve had the opportunity to do a variety of things from meeting experts, going to conferences and more field work of course. I was even able to take some time off to recharge and visit some friends in Alaska. Discovering the array of positions and who does what or how someone’s work fits with others can be stunning to say the least with so many programs out there and groups working together to support them. It’s also relieving in that there is a sense of willingness to collaborate, and I’m glad that there are others to lean on when it comes to any obstacles in our work.
I was able to really get a feel for the effort it takes to keep projects and programs going while at a conference focused on aquatic resources and hydrology, and in the field work I’ve been involved with. At the conference, experts from hydrology and engineering to specific species experts all had an interest in or are affected by aquatic resources and seeing how they come together to address those resource concerns was eye opening. In the field I’ve been able to meet with experts from other agencies like the state department of natural resources, or the federal agencies like Ecological Services or U.S. Geological Survey whose goals maybe slightly different from the Fish and Wildlife System, but often still work together towards a common outcome. That sense of collaboration is one aspect I look forward to with the consideration of our project and the second half of our work. While working in the field helping with aquatic invasive vegetation control, surveying turtle nests, or managing family friendly hunts has been a great experience, I’ve had a little less time to work on the climate vulnerability aspect of the project. The first half of our project was to evaluate and determine the vulnerabilities of our refuge by considering the habitats, species, and the major drivers of change. Now that we are in the second half of the project, we will be taking the information we’ve gathered to eventually generate future possible climate scenarios for our station, determine best management practices for those scenarios, and metrics to measure the impact of those practices. Here in Santee National Wildlife Refuge my research has led me to focus my work on the impacts of the interactions between aquatic invasive species and rising temperatures with a changing precipitation regime. I guess we’ll find out in the next post what we get into this winter and how far we progress in our assessment.