Horned Lizards: Another side project in Alpaugh
As it turns out, there was a lot more going on with the grazing study I participated in that was apparent at first blush. While I spent a two weeks of early mornings squinting at a fading GPS unit and laying down transects there was another team entirely surveying plots for evidence of reptile life.
A week into the grazing experiment we were joined by two wandering herpetologists, (snake gypsies, toad-hobos, call them what you will). Who were loaned to the project by our mutual bosses at A.C.E (The American Conservation Experience, see the resources section above for details). They spent a few hours each day searching each experimental plot for lizards and snakes. Balancing their need to be thorough with an equally pressing need to move through each plot before it got either too hot or too cold for their cold blooded subjects.
It turns out that the grazing study, which at one point was looking only at the effects of cattle graze on Kangaroo Rat Habitat, had had a few riders attached to it as it worked its way through the BLM’s approval process. Every BLM scientist, no matter what they studied, wanted a piece of the pie. This meant that the studies goals quickly became quite a bit more ambitious, which isn’t a bad thing at all, unless you’re caught in the grinder.
I didn’t have time to go out “herping” with the lizard people, but I did seek out the local Horned Lizards on my own later. They’re adorable after all.