Week of 6/23 Update

This week I continued with the volunteer monarch survey. This was probably the least fruitful search for volunteer monarch eggs and caterpillars yet. It seems that the monarchs have, at least temporarily, slowed down. Next week I’ll see if this trend continues.

I spent a good deal of time catching up with data entry. I have entered all of the volunteer surveys and plant status surveys from the last few weeks, as well as tidied up the datasheet. We had a few legacy columns that were in need of re-entry and deletion.

I started the first quantitative assessment for the year. Before the milkweeds start senescing for the season I was tasked with rating each milkweed on a scale of 1-5. This Quantitative score will help determine which sites, or which specific plots, will need attention next season. The ratings scale from 1, meaning the plant is dead, to 5, meaning the plant is vigorously growing and able to flower. Plants that receive a rating of 4 or 5 should be expected to survive until next season. I finished the quantitative assessment for Putah Creek this week.

As the growing season for milkweeds will soon be ending, so too will my position here in the Yang lab. It feels like the right time to let you all know that my days with the MMMILC project are winding down.

I was initially going to be here until the end of July, but the Putah Creek site has continued its downhill spiral and is now unusable. This site has had problems establishing for quite some time now. It seems each year a new problem emerges. Last year gophers were a huge problem, so we installed gopher baskets around the plants. It seems the plants are having problems establishing in the clay-dominated soils at the Putah Creek site, so next year we will be adding some organic material to the soil.The purpose of the soil experiment that was started on 6/13 is to determine the best ratio of organic material to add into the soil.

To wrap the week up I checked on the soil and aphid experiments in the greenhouse, and watered all three lines at North Davis Creek.

Next week’s tasks:
1. Finish quantitative assessments and enter that data
2. Water LTRAS site as per watering schedule
3. Continue with volunteer survey

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