In the summer of 2012, I worked as a supervisory technician on a rangeland research project conducted by the Central Idaho Rangelands Network. During the field season, I visited Road Creek twice. Road Creek, a typical mountain stream in the mid-elevation zone of central Idaho, was in poor condition as a result of overgrazing and mismanagement. The appearance of the riparian area attracted the attention of the Natural Resources Defense Counsel and litigation with the Bureau of Land Management began. Following the litigation, better management techniques (additional riders, hotwire fencing along part of the stream, and an exclosure) were utilized. To document improvement as a result of better management techniques, BLM wildlife biologist Jerry Gregson established 35 points along much of the stream in 1987. My task in 2012 was to relocate and repeat those images to demonstrate the ecological transformation taking place. The 2012 photographs showed real improvement, with reduced hummocking, willow regeneration, creek deepening and narrowing, and improved colonization of Nebraska sedge (Carex nebrascensis) evident at many of the sites.

The key to proof and representation of these changes was in the repeat photographs. Repeat photopoints, if carefully documented, can give visual evidence of improvements taking place or provide a guide to increased management in certain areas. While not the most exhaustive or scientific of monitoring techniques, a useful photo monitoring program can be completed by anyone with a camera and a global positioning system.

My goal for this website is to provide some tips and techniques useful for photo monitoring on your own and also demonstrate the changes taking place on allotments all over the west through an interactive map and descriptions of the management programs that facilitated the improvements.