In spring 2016, Biology professor Wendy Ridenour’s Plant Systematics class conducted a study of the vegetation near the M trail near Dillon, Mont. The findings from the study will guide the native plant restoration effort of the impacted areas around the trail.
“Over the course of a few days, my biology students mapped the area around the M and identified dozens of plant species,” Ridenour said. ”This was valuable real-world work experience for the students and an important step in the overall restoration project.”
The UMW Biology and Environmental Sciences Departments plan to create opportunities for their classes to assist with this project on an ongoing basis to help with the replanting efforts of the vegetation and provide hands-on experiences for their classes in the fall.
The process to restore the M is a collaborative effort involving various stakeholders including Montana Western leadership, faculty, students and alumni, the Beaverhead Trails Coalition, U.S. Forest Service and community members. The project will also require the expertise of Bureau of Land Management rangeland management specialists and USDA botanists.
The restoration project continued through summer 2016 and into 2017, with recently seeded areas being monitored in spring 2018.
For more information about the native plant restoration, you can read this news article about the project.