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Funded Projects

Funded Projects

The funded research program has been active for over 20 years.

We are in the process of linking the reports below. These reports, and many others, are also available on our independent research reports page



Brian Buma (CU Denver)

  • Fuels treatments and their impact on carbon stocks and fire severity in Boulder and Jefferson Counties and the City of Boulder.
  • The record-breaking fires in 2020 viscerally underscored the need to understand management activities and their implications for wildland fires in Boulder and Jefferson Counties. While there have been substantial preventative/mitigation activities, such as forest thinning and prescribed burning, there is relatively little known about the impact of those activities at the ecosystem level, specifically carbon. This is especially true when considering the balance between fire-mitigation associated reductions in carbon if a fire does not occur and reductions in losses if a fire does occur. Further, change over time is relatively poorly explored and there is almost zero information on soil carbon stocks across management strategies.  We are interested in quantifying fire severity and ecosystem carbon relationships under various mitigation strategies as a function of time, the efficacy of treatments in reducing carbon losses given a fire, treatment + severity interactions and the balance between the extent of mitigation and actual fire extent in Jefferson and Boulder Counties and the City of Boulder. This plan has been coproduced with local county and city managers. We will revisit management plots installed in various treatments across the three jurisdictions, including those that were established within the boundaries of the 2020 Calwood fire (pilot soil samples already collected). Plots will be re measured for above ground carbon and soil samples taken for below ground carbon stocks. The repeat measurement approach will allow us to assess efficacy overtime. We will transfer our plot results to aerial estimates of carbon and fire impacts via remote sensing. These results will be available in 2022, and will improve natural resource management in the area by providing important information on soil carbon stocks (which are lacking) as well as a direct estimate of fire mitigation management techniques in regards to carbon and fire severity, balanced against the likelihood of fire overall. 

Peter Innes (CU Boulder)

  • Assessing hybridization between native and introduced blue flax in Boulder County
  • The introduced species Linum perenne has been planted widely in Boulder County and elsewhere in western North America, but there is still some degree of uncertainty surrounding the impact it may have on populations of native Lewis flax (L. lewisii), a close relative. Previous work by the USFS suggests that potential for hybridization between L. perenne and L. lewisiii s minimal, though not entirely absent— we argue that the strength of reproductive isolation between these close relatives has not been fully established. Given the popularity of Lewis flax in restoration projects across the Intermountain West  and its co-occurrence with L. perenne, this question warrants further investigation. We seek to establish a comprehensive understanding of reproductive compatibility between introduced and native perennial blue flax. We will conduct controlled crosses between species in a common garden and also allow for open pollination between (and within) species. We will then assess the viability of any resulting hybrid seed with germination tests. We will also look for genomic signatures of hybridization in offspring seed from open pollination, in order to determine the likelihood of gene flow in natural settings. An understanding of reproductive barriers between native and introduced species is important for land management programs because hybridization can contribute to native biodiversity loss. This research will also contribute to an understanding of how hybridization affects evolutionary trajectories—foremost in understanding what causes hybridization to be detrimental versus beneficial—and how species introductions by humans facilitate this process.

Keith Jennings (Lynker Technologies)

  • Identifying Harmful Algal Blooms with Water Quality Sampling and Remote Sensing
  • Harmful algal blooms present a management challenge for Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP). One key hurdle is how to monitor numerous OSMP waterbodies and test for algae types that may be harmful. Laboratory testing of water quality samples offers the only direct route by which researchers can discriminate among algae in various groups, including diatoms, chlorophytes, and others that are not toxin producers, and filamentous cyanobacteria and other types of blue-green algae that are. Although this process can be time and cost intensive as the number of waterbodies increases and sampling season lengthens, there are opportunities to develop streamlined protocols using flow-through imaging microscopy. Additionally, satellite remote sensing products allow for rapid, repeatable, low-cost analysis of potential algal blooms, with the drawback that the type of algae can be inferred but not definitively confirmed. For this project, we propose using the complementary strengths ofwater quality sampling and remote sensing to determine the presence of harmful algal blooms and their persistence in the following OSMP waterbodies and one on Boulder County Parks and Open Space land: Sawhill No. 1, Teller Lake No. 5, Sombrero Marsh, Wonderland Lake, and Lagerman Reservoir. This work will build on previous OSMP-funded remote sensing research, which identified the first three waterbodies as having potential cyanobacterial outbreaks in 2019.From May–September 2021, we will sample for chlorophyll-a and other water quality parameters along with performing lab tests with a FlowCam to determine the type of algae present. We will complement the lab work with high-resolution Sentinel2 satellite data to produce relationships between remote sensing output and the water quality parameters. This will enable a deeper understanding of the patterns of harmful algal blooms in OSMP waterbodies.

Anna Paraskevopoulos (CU Boulder)

  • Linking species distributions and thermal physiology to understand climate change impacts on ants
  • Due to recent human-caused climate change studies are needed to understand how temperature changes affect the distribution of critical organisms. As temperature changes, organisms shift their ranges in response to these changes. Ectotherms, specifically ants, are ideal organisms to study these changes due to their sensitivity to environmental changes. I propose to resample a historical study that collected ants and temperature data in the late 1950’s throughout Gregory Canyon in the Boulder foothills (Browne and Gregg, 1969) to determine if ant species distributions have shifted locally. I will replicate the sampling methods of Browne and Gregg and also incorporate thermal tolerance testing to determine whether thermal tolerances predict distributional changes. Sampling will occur from late spring 2021 to early fall 2021. I will see if ant species persist at a given site where they had been documented historically. This study will provide important information on how species distributions have changed from the past and understanding on how they may change in the future, as well as a great platform for me to engage the community.

William Rice (University of Montana)

  • Developing Quality of Life Indicators for City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks Management
  • The Charter of the City of Boulder states that “Open space land shall be acquired, maintained, preserved, retained, and used” for “recreational value and its contribution to the quality of life of the community.” However, to date, Open Space and Mountain Parks’ (OSMP) contribution to users’ wellbeing has not been directly examined. It is thus the purpose of this proposed project to establish domains of recreational ecosystem service contributions that are generated by OSMP lands, for use in upcoming surveying efforts of OSMP users. This proposed project directly relates to OSMP’s priority research topic: “How does OSMP contribute to public well-being and quality of life?” Beginning in Spring 2021, OSMP users will have the opportunity to take part in a voluntary online survey, administered via QR codes (and corresponding URLs) posted on sandwich boards at select trailheads. Data collection will be segmented seasonally across four two-month sampling windows. This survey will consist of three components: 1) a multiple-choice battery seeking to identify categories of contributions to wellbeing users perceive to attain through OSMP, 2) a series of open-ended questions concerning those wellbeing domains selected in the first section—including what specific contributions they perceive attaining within each selected domain, and 3) a participatory mapping exercise where participants will be asked to map the areas within OSMP where they attain each of these contributions to wellbeing. This proposed project contains three primary outputs: 1) a comprehensive list of the quality of life contributions perceived by OSMP visitors, 2) a comprehensive list of quality of life indicators for each identified contribution domain, and 3) a spatial dataset of perceived distribution of quality of life contributions across OSMP. All three outputs will directly inform a Human Dimensions staff-led 2021-2022 surveying effort that seeks to measure the quality of life contributions of OSMP. 

Aaron Shiels (USDA APHIS)

  • Improving efficiency of prairie dog surveys by using a small copter drone
  • Prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) are one of the most accessible and enjoyed wildlife species in Boulder, yet their involvement inhuman-wildlife conflict can be frequent due to associated environmental damage and plague.  Prairie dog populations require occasional survey because large populations can be destructive and may warrant control, colonies are susceptible to plague that may cause unpredictable fluctuations, and a new contraceptive is likely to become EPA registered and used operationally for large-scale control in the near future.  Traditional survey methods (e.g., binoculars, live-trapping) are labor intensive, and biased in detection rate and capturing only a subset of the population.  We propose a 1-year study testing a small copter drone on OSMP lands, Boulder, to determine if we can improve the efficiency of prairie dog surveys above that of ground-based survey methods (drone/ground-based testing is an OSMP priority research area).  We have an experienced drone operator with all the necessary certifications to complete all flights over these areas.  The photographs and video taken via drone will be analyzed at USDA’s National Wildlife Research Center in Fort Collins. We will compare the prairie dog abundances with those of our simultaneous ground-based surveys.  Critical characteristics that will be determined from this assessment will be: appropriate drone height, flight speed, width of overlap scans, time of day, and camera type. We will also determine whether we can distinguish the two size classes (juveniles and adults), if results differ among colonies, whether burrow density and activity can predict prairie dog abundance, and the economic costs associated with such surveys—these characteristics are necessary for land managers.  We will share our methodology, dataset, summary report, and cost estimates with OSMP so they can consider the use of this technology and methodology in the future.

David Theobald (Conservation Planning Technology)

  • Testing and modeling patterns of visitor use from mobile “big” data
  • An important aspect of managing open space lands is to understand visitor use patterns: most critically how many visitors there are, where they go, and when they visit. This proposed research addresses a priority research topic identified by OSMP, BCPOS, and JCOS, and will inform decision making on open space lands by providing high-quality and rigorous estimates derived from statistical analysis of locational data from mobile devices. A prototype application (TBD) will be made provided via an online platform (TBD) to share data and results with agency staff and decision makers.




Jill Baty 

  • Which species in Boulder are most vulnerable to climate change; which are most like to thrive?
  • This work will take place off-site over the course of the next 12 months. Species investigated will be based on Boulder’s monitoring, with the number of species investigated being around 50. I will use a common tool for conducting climate change vulnerability assessments of species across North America, NatureServe’s Climate Change Vulnerability Index tool. NatureServe’s CCVI tool brings together the information on a species’ biology and ecology with predicted changes in climate and an understanding of a given geography (in this case, the City of Boulder), to make relative predictions as to the vulnerability of the species: extremely vulnerable, highly vulnerable, moderately vulnerable, not vulnerable/presumed stable, and increase likely. When input from multiple experts exists, I will average the output likelihood distributions to ensure that the breadth of expert opinion is accounted for. I will also elicit answers to open-ended questions from experts, compiling answers into a vulnerability narrative. In addition, I will use monitoring data to compare the CCVI predictions to changes in species populations and ranges that we may already be seeing. The data inputs for the tool will come from Boulder records, on-line herbaria,, interviews with experts and a literature review. The results of this work will identify specific indicators to watch for, as well as an understanding of which species will be most important to monitor for the effects of a changing climate. This information will be critical to any decisions as to the management of Boulder’s species and the natural communities of which they are a part.

Sharon Bywater-Reyes (University of Northern Colorado)

  • Quantifying Erosion Susceptibility as a Function of Geomorphic Variables, Trail Type, and Use with Implications for Trail Planning.
  • Many City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Park (OSMP) trails traverse erodible geologic units prone to landsliding and erosion. Erosion susceptibility is a key consideration for trail sustainability, directly related to the OSMP Priority Research Topic: “How do soil types on OSMP relate to trail condition/sustain-ability? Can an index of type vs. sustainability aid in trail planning?” and could be especially important for management of undesignated trails. This project proposes integrating existing OSMP data (LiDAR, trail condition, trail use) with new data (drone collected imagery and structure from motion topography; SfM) across geomorphic process domains (foothills near Hogback Ridge, Wonderland Hill, Dakota Ridge, and Flatiron region) to determine how erosion varies as a function of geomorphic (slope, process domain) and land use variables. Digital elevation models from SfM will be created and used for topographic change detection. In-situ measurements will be taken at key areas of concern, such as undesignated trails. Funding is requested for the fi rst year of study with plans to continue for multiple years to capture how erosion dynamics vary as a function of precipitation regime. Funding will support (1) wages for a graduate student and an undergraduate field assistant to collect and post-process data, and (2) the purchase of minor equipment needed for drone imagery acquisition. This project combines previous geologic and climate research to landscape evolution with a practical question of how to best plan sustainable trail infrastructure in public open spaces.

Tracy Halward (CU Boulder)

  • Using stable carbon isotopes to estimate the extent of change in OSMP plant communities and make inferences on carbon sequestration.
  • The relationships between land management and plant community dynamics have always been influenced by climate, but these relationships are now being influenced by directional changes and related environmental drivers that have no historical precedent.  The City of Boulder’s ‘Climate Emergency’ acknowledges that city activities that focus on mitigation, adaptation and sustainability have an urgency and priority not previously emphasized.  Such activities are particularly appropriate for OSMP, whose charter emphasized conservation long before climate change rose to dominate management discussions.  Accordingly, management actions should attempt to direct activities and uses of OSMP to maximize those ecological services that contribute to sustainability.  Natural systems buffer climate change via effects on energy transformations and greenhouse gas production and consumption.  Past land use activities such as tillage and overgrazing have reduced carbon storage, and these can be reversed to some degree. The opportunity therefore exists to use OSMP to contribute to the zero carbon emissions initiative for Boulder. Opposing these increases are losses of soil carbon that are associated with increasing aridity, so understanding potential gains and potential losses is more than an academic exercise. Because the Front Range is a mix of plants with two different photosynthetic pathways whose contributions to carbon storage can be measured using carbon isotopes, this characteristic is proposed to provide an ‘index of change’ that will show the current status of plant communities relative to their historical management legacies. The fact that one photosynthetic pathway is likely superior for carbon storage in climates such as ours can inform ‘restoration-forward’ management activities to maximize carbon sequestration potentials.

Deb Hummel (Lefthand Watershed Center)

  • Restoring for resilience: Assessing the restoration success of flood recovery projects on Left Hand Creek, Boulder County, Colorado.
  • Numerous river restoration projects have been implemented in Left Hand Creek Watershed in response to damages caused by the September 2013 floods. Since 2018, the Left Hand Watershed Center has monitored flood recovery on restored and unrestored reaches throughout the watershed. From 2018 to 2019, we found that restored and unrestored reaches maintained pools, riffles, and accessible floodplains. As expected, riparian condition was less established at restored reaches but was increasing over time. We were not able to determine if instream benthic macroinvertebrate communities were impacted by restoration. This result, among others, may be due to annual variation in hydrology, climate, and discrete impacts to water quality caused by mine drainage or nutrient loading. Multi-year, post-project monitoring is critical to understand whether projects are meeting goals in a dynamic system. This project proposes to conduct a third year of monitoring at two OSMP sites in Left Hand Creek.

Keith Jennings (Lynker Technologies)

  • Monitoring Algal Blooms in the Surface Waters of Boulder County with Satellite Data.
  • The 2019 outbreak of harmful algal blooms in Boulder County underlines the importance of managing how humans and animals interact with waterbodies on OSMP and BCPOS lands. Our proposed research aims to improve the agencies’ capacity to develop targeted monitoring and management strategies by evaluating the historic prevalence of and causal factors behind algal blooms, one of the 2020 priority research topics. Previous water quality monitoring strategies have relied on discrete sampling, which provides data at a single point in time and location. While such an approach provides irreplaceable quantitative information, it does not capture the spatiotemporal variability inherent to algal blooms. In this context, remote sensing—the analysis of multispectral satellite imagery—provides a long-term, spatially explicit perspective on the interannual patterns of algal blooms. For this work, we propose using records from the Landsat and Sentinel satellites to quantify the timing, location, and magnitude of algal blooms in major Boulder County waterbodies from 1999–2020. We will focus on those managed by OSMP and BCPOS and also incorporate major waterbodies managed by other entities due to the inherent connectivity in Boulder County water. We will create a time series of algal bloom prevalence for each waterbody using a selection of remote sensing algorithms from the scientific literature. Notably, these algorithms were developed for larger waterbodies, giving us the opportunity to test and advance the science of algal bloom remote sensing. In addition, we will use a suite of hydroclimatic, physiographic, and land cover variables within a machine learning framework to identify the properties that make certain waterbodies more sensitive to algal blooms than others. While also contributing to the state of algal bloom science, we hope this predictive framework can be used by OSMP and BCPOS to create targeted management strategies for algal blooms in the years ahead.

Aaron Shiels (USDA)

  • Persistence of fertility control from GonaCon for prairie dog population management in the Front Range, Colorado.
  • Black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) and their presence across Colorado’s Front Range have a long history of human controversy. Prairie dogs are keystone species that are enjoyed by many humans, yet they often carry fleas with sylvatic plague, can be destructive to grassland vegetation and crops, and cause property damage in urban and natural settings. When conflict arises with prairie dogs, trap-and-release, barriers, and lethal-control are commonly practiced. However, contraceptives (fertility control) represent a non-lethal method for prairie dog control that the Prairie Dog Working Group of Boulder wishes to pursue. In Fall 2018, we treated 3 prairie dog colonies in the Front Range with GonaCon fertility control to test if the number of pups produced in Spring 2019 was significantly lowered relative to 3 adjacent (untreated) reference colonies. GonaCon is an attractive contraceptive because it 1) is an injectable and thus low risk to non-target species, 2) is a lifetime vaccine, or nearly so, for wild prairie dogs, 3) is affordable (currently ~$28/ indiv. dose), 4) was found to be effective during our 2018-2019 field trials, and 5) is being evaluated for EPA registration for use against prairie dogs. Herein, we propose to re-survey all 6 sites in 2020 by counting juveniles and adults to determine if the GonaCon vaccine continues to protect the treated colonies or if re-treatment with GonaCon is necessary. Thus, we will test whether the level of GonaCon effectiveness has been reduced in these colonies from 2019 to 2020. We also provide a labor-cost breakdown for GonaCon field treatment. We anticipate that this will be a new, non-lethal method for controlling prairie dog populations that could be implemented by land managers in any area where prairie dog conflict arises and where non-lethal methods are required.

Garret Smith (Pointer Consulting)

  • What Do Land Managers Think? Identifying Visitor Use Issues and Successful Strategies to Address Them in Colorado’s Front Range.
  • Protected areas (PAs), particularly those adjacent to metropolitan areas, are experiencing ever increasing numbers of visitors. There is wide agreement that PAs provide positive benefits to communities and visitors alike however an increase in visitors may also have negative impacts on the resource and the experience. Physical and social impacts present a challenge to land managers who are often guided by dual mandates, the need to protect the integrity of the natural resource while at the same time provide high-quality recreational experiences to the users. Oftentimes these issues are location specific and land managers will employ different visitor use management (VUM) strategies. The purpose of this study is twofold. First, land managers from land management agencies encompassing Colorado’s Front Range will be interviewed in order to understand what they believe are their top visitor use issues. Second, the aforementioned interviews will also be used to identify effective VUM strategies that land managers have employed to address visitor use issues and what metrics or program evaluations were used in order to understand how the strategy was deemed a success. Over the course of a year, spanning 2020 through 2021, interviews will be conducted with federal, state, and local Front Range land managers. Interview data will be transcribed and coded before being analyzed to identify commonalities and differences in visitor use issues amongst the different agencies. Interview data will also be used to inventory and classify successful visitor use management strategies that have been employed by the various agencies. Results from this study can be used by Front Range land management agencies as a basis for identifying common visitor use issues. At the same time this study will provide a knowledge-based resource that identifies and outlines VUM alternatives or prescriptions that have been employed in the real world and identified as successful.

Sean Streich (CU Boulder) 

  • What Drives Spatial Structure and Community Growth of a Controversial Species?
  • Inhabiting the prairie and foothills regions of Boulder County are communities of highly social organisms whose activities shape the landscape. As a keystone species, prairie dogs coevolved with the grassland ecosystems of the Rocky Mountain regions. These social ground squirrels provide important ecosystem functions such as aerating and fertilizing the soil, providing habitat for various plants and animals, and are important prey for predators such as raptors, canids, and felids. The activities of prairie dogs often put them at odds with humans as prairie dogs often colonize lands that are privately owned or are utilized for farming, ranching, or planned development. Monitoring and managing prairie dogs in urban systems is thus important in allowing these animals to perform their critical ecological functions while protecting human interests. Understanding how prairie dog colonies grow and what factors contribute to burrow structure can be helpful for planning and managing this species. To study the way prairie dogs build colonies we propose to study long- and short-term changes in burrow creation and abandonment on The City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, OSMP, prairie dog colonies. The spatiotemporal presence or absence of burrows on colonies will provide valuable information on how burrow density, extent, orientation, and clustering can be used with likelihood models to predict where future burrow creation will occur and thus how colonies will grow. The results of this study will provide detailed information on current prairie dog demographics in addition to parameters to model colony growth. Collectively, this will inform what management actions could be implemented to most effectively mitigate potential conflicts associated with dog conflicts.

David Theobald (Conservation Planning Technologies)

  • Permeable landscapes for climate change adaptation in and around Boulder and Jefferson Counties.
  • The proposed research will inform decision making on open space lands in and adjacent to Boulder County by mapping the permeability of landscapes to adapt to climate change impacts. This project will use a coarse-filter, gradient-based approach to understand landscape permeability (connectivity) among important habitat locations, existing protected areas, or large intact “blocks” of natural landscapes within general ecosystems. This project will be valuable to Boulder County, City of Boulder, and Jefferson County because it will provide critical information about the best strategies to adapt to climate change effects — to inform decision making around protection and restoration activities and evaluate broad conservation strategies through subsequent spatial analyses of the output datasets. 

Dhaval Vyas (Denver University)

  • How parasitic insect biodiversity can help understand the cascading impact of climate change.
  • Recent studies suggest that global insect biodiversity is declining, largely because of factors associated with rapid climate change. Climate fluctuations will transform plant communities, and the consequences will cascade to affect both herbivore diets as well as the natural enemies that attack herbivores. Without proper survey data, land managers are unable to anticipate how changes in plant and insect communities can affect regional ecosystems. Among insects, the diversity of parasitic insects (i.e., parasitoids) is often the least understood because we lack adequate surveys and morphological identification is difficult without expert analysis. We propose to measure the biodiversity of parasitoids that attack the fall webworm, an important herbivore in forested ecosystems within City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Park (OSMP) land. We will collect fall webworms within forested and riparian habitats within OSMP from June-October 2020, rear the caterpillars in our laboratory to identify emerging parasitoids, and conduct genetic analyses to determine proper genus and species identification. Our research will enhance our knowledge of insect diversity within OSMP land, as well as adding to a larger survey of fall webworm parasitoids across the US. Our study meets the OSMP priority topic of examining which species are vulnerable or tolerable to climate change, an assessment that requires knowledge of the biodiversity present within OSMP. In addition, we will contribute to the scientific merit of enhancing our understanding of plant-insect ecology. As plant communities change, so too will herbivore diets and these impacts will affect species in higher trophic levels, such as parasitoids and predators. Our study enhances our understanding about the community ecology of a common and ubiquitous herbivorous insect in CO, the fall webworm.


Amelia Andrea Brackett (CU Boulder)

  • The Boulder Apple: Uncovering and Disseminating the Historical and Biological Identities of Boulder’s Oldest Apple Trees (report pending)

Seth Davis (CSU)

  • Quantifying the effects of wildfire severity and wildfire mitigation treatments on biodiversity of wild bee communities (report pending)

Edward Gage (Oikographica)

  • Developing and Deploying Open-Source Tools for Hydrological Monitoring: A Case Study Characterizing Mosquito Habitat on Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks Properties (report pending)

Edward Gage (Oikographica)

  • Mapping Weed Infestations on City of Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks Properties Using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and Supervised Image Classification (report pending)

Eve Hinckley (CU Boulder)

  • Does Burn History and Abundance of Arrhenatherum elatius Influence Soil Nitrogen Cycling in Boulder OSMP Lands? (report pending)

Deb Hummel (Left Hand Watershed Center)

  • Restoring for resilience: Assessing the restoration success of flood recovery projects on Left Hand Creek, Boulder County, Colorado (report pending)

Julie Larson (CU Boulder)

  • Project Extension: Persistence as a target in restoration: What can we learn from the storage effect? (report pending)

Rob Schorr (CNHP)

  • Understanding bat roosting and activity at rock-climbing areas (City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks; OSMP) (report pending)

Garret Smith (Colorado Mountain College)

  • Using Public Participation GIS (PPGIS) to Identify Recreation Conflicts on the Boulder Open Space and Mountain Park Trail Network. (report pending)

Garret Smith (Colorado Mountain College)

  • Analyzing the Spatial and Temporal Behavior of Different on Multi-Use Trails Managed by Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks Department Recreation Groups (report pending)


Joe Ehrenberger and Kelly Triece (Adaptation Environmental Services)

Jesse Gray (CSU)

Ruth Heindel and Eve-Lyn Hinckley (CU Boulder)

Julie Larson (CU Boulder)

Jessie Olson, Glenn Patterson, and Yana Sorokin (Left Hand Watershed Center)

Jordan Smith, Monica Dorning, Derek Van Berkel, and Scott Beck (Utah State University)

  • Identifying the Benefits of Cultural Resources and Iconic Views Through Social Media. Aesthetic preferences report. pdf  Viewsheds report. pdf
  • Synthesis : There are distinct landscape types that visitors interact with differently based on their scenic characteristics.

Camille Stevens-Rumann and Paula Fornwalt (CSU)

David Atekpatzin Young (Only One, Inc.)


Hagadorn, James (Denver Museum of Nature & Science)

Kennedy, David (Corona Insights)

Larson, Julie (CU Boulder)

Wohl, Ellen (CSU)

  • Assessing the Potential for Beaver Restoration and Likely Environmental Benefits. (report pending)
  • Synthesis: TBD


Erick Carlson and David Cooper (CSU)

Stuart Cottrell and Jana Raadik (Stuart Cottrell and Associates)

Ava Hoffman and Melinda Smith (CSU)

  • Diversity and drought adaptation within a dominant shortgrass prairie species: Can genetic and phenotypic diversity buffer climate change across local gradients? (report pending)

Ben Lawhon, Derrick Taff and Jeremey Wimpey (Leave No Trace) 

Sarah Reed (WCS)

Kyle Rodman and Tom Veblen (CU Boulder) 

Robert Schorr (CSU)


Earlier (<2016) Funded Projects:


  • Cottrell Stuart, North TSA Visitation Study
  • Tim Hogan, Floristic Re-survey of the Boulder Mountain Parks Continuation of 2014 Efforts
  • Nora Covy, An assessment of the impacts of rock climbing on cliff-nesting songbirds
  • D Rees, Timberline Aquatics Macroinvert sampling SBC
  • Sovell, Re-survey of butterfly transects sampled systemwide in 2002, 2003, 2007, and 2008 


  • Adam, Bats and Rock Climbing and Monitoring Bats in COB Open Space and Mountain Parks
  • Clark CU Floristic Inventory of White Rocks Nature Preserve
  • Cottrell Cottrell & Associates Environmental Consulting Open Space and Mountain Parks Trail Study Area Visitation Estimate
  • Ehrenberger, Warfel, Urbanek Vernalis Environmental  Continuation - North Boulder Grasslands – 2014 Amphibian and Reptile inventory and Rattlesnake telemetry
  • Hogan CU Floristic Survey of the Boulder Mountain Parks
  • Norton, Katz  Colorado State University Effects of Russion Olive removal  on soils and understory plant communities Boulder Creek floodplain
  • Lawhon, Taff, Schwartz  Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, Pennsylvania State University Effectiveness of Educational & Site Management Actions in Reducing Use of Undesignated Trails on Open Space Lands
  • Lewis, Crooks Colorado State University Bobcat habitat selection in relation to landscape characteristics and human recreation
  • Tripp, Lichen Survey of White Rocks


  • Robinson and Bowers, Long-Term Survey of Butterfly Communities 
  • Bowers and Jamieson, The influence of nitrogen availability on Dalmatian toadflax (Linaria dalmatica) and its specialist herbivore Calophasia lunula
  • McClure, Black-tailed Prairie Dog Demography and Colonization Dynamics in a Landscape Context
  • Rocca, Mechanical thinning effects on herbaceous species distributions and invasion pathways in ponderosa pine forests of Boulder County, CO


  • Armstead, A Butterfly Monitoring Program for Assessing the Composition & Distribution of Butterfly Communities in the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks
  • Keeler, Demography of Prairie Plants in the Open Space and Mountain Parks
  • Carpenter, Reproduction of the Noxious Weed Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum)Following the Cutting of its Reproductive Stalks, or: Does Poison Hemlock Have an Achilles Heel That Can Be Exploited for Management?
  • Kearns, Effects of Urbanization on Pollinator Diversity & Abundance in Boulder Open Space
  • Courter, Genetic Structure & Assessment of the Threat from Hybridization in Physaria bellii, a Colorado Endemic
  • Hinners, Pollination as Landscape Process: Characterizing the Spatial Heterogeneity of Wild Pollinator Assemblages
  • Hunter, Examination of Boulder Residents' Attitudes toward Biodiversity & Threatened & Endangered Species in City OSMP
  • Cruz, Effects of Thinning & Prescribed Burning on Ponderosa Pine Forest Birds


  • Jennings, Inventory and Status Report for Eustoma Grandiflorum
  • Jennings, Study of Boulder Open Space Sand-Sage Prairie
  • Bock, Habitat Selection by Rough-legged Hawks on Grassland Open
  • Meaney, Monitoring of Prebles Meadow Jumping Mice Along South Boulder Creek, East Boulder Ditch, and Enterprise Ditch
  • Collinge, Effects of Recreational Trails on Space Use by Small Mammals
  • Hunter, An Examination of Boulder Residents Attitudes toward Biodiversity and Threatened and Endangered Species in City Open Space and Mountain Parks
  • Berkeley, Management of Small Populations of Prairie Dogs on City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks: An Immunocontraceptive Approach
  • OShea-Stone, Integrating Fire and Herbicides for Management of Dalmatian Toadflax (Linaria genistifolia ssp. dalmatica) 
  • Adams, Location and Distribution of Diurnal Roosts, Roost Site Parameters, and Water Quality/Nutrient Levels Important to Population Health of Boulder County Bats (2001)
  • Taber, A Status Report on the Tallgrass Natural Area Management Plan Including an Analysis of Plant Abundance Data Collected within the Tallgrass Natural 
  • Bock, Suburban-Grassland Edge Effects on Avian Abundance, Diversity and Demographics
  • Collinge, Reproductive Ecology of Cavity-Nesting Birds in Ponderosa Pine Forest on City of Boulder Open Space
  • Merkle, The effects of recreational trail use on the behavior and nesting success of American robins and yellow warblers
  • Johnson, Evaluation of Riparian Zone Trail Impacts on Boulder Open Space and Mountain Park Land
  • Cruz, Effects of Thinning and Prescribed Burning on Ponderosa Pine Forest Birds on City of Boulder Open Space
  • Veblen, The Historic Range of Variability of Fire in the Montane Zone of Boulder County: Past Fire Types and Fire Effects 


  • Denham, Vegetative Characters of Plants
  • Bock, Habitat Selection by Rough-legged Hawks on Grassland Open Space in an Urbanized and Agricultural Landscape
  • Bunin, Inventory and Monitor Lythrum alatum, native purple loosestrife , addressing the potential impacts on the native species of the biocontrol beetles
  • Collinge, Livestock Activity and Salt Licks:Evaluation and Restoration of Disturbed Grassland Patches
  • Bock, Suburban-grassland edge effects on avian abundance and reproductive success.
  • Jennings, Inventory and Status Report for Apios Americana, Lythrum Alatum, and Eustoma Grandiflorum
  • Ashton, Reptile Survey and Identification of Critical Areas on City of Boulder Open Space
  • Dohrn, Inventory and Status Report of Ground Nut
  • Merkle, The effects of Recreational Trail Use on the Behavior and Nesting Success of American Robins and yellow Warblers
  • Adams, Location and Distribution of Durnal Roosts, Roost Site Parameters, Home Ranges, And the Use of Water Resources By Boulder County Bats
  • Collinge, Reproductive Ecology of Cavity-Nesting Birds in Ponderosa Pine Forests on City of Boulder Open Space
  • Cruz, Effects of Thinning and Prescribed Burning on Ponderosa Pine Forest Birds on City of Boulder Open Space


  • Keeler, Dynamics of tallgrass prairie plants in the Open Space
  • Adams, Location and distribution of diurnal roosts and the use of water resources by Boulder County Bats
  • Beck, The influence of cattle grazing on the population dynamics of diffuse knapweed


  • Keeler, Tracking Tallgrass Plant Populations in Open Space and Mountain Parks Permanent Plots
  • Cruz, Comparing Techniques for measuring avian assemblage and abundance on Colorado Tallgrass prairie and adjacent lands
  • Cruz/ Chace/Walsh, Long term monitoring of Brownheaded cowbird parasitism and nest predation in city of Boulder Open Space
  • Sinton, Effects of fire frequency on canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) invasion of tallgrass prairie
  • Adams, Location and Distribution of Roosts and Community structure of Boulder County Bats
  • Merkle, The effects of human disturbance on avian fitness and reproductive behavior
  • Beck, The influence of cattle grazing on the population dynamics of diffuse knapweed


  • D'Amico, Developing Monitoring Guidelines for Wetland Creation and Restoration Projects.
  • Jones, Proposed Study of Effects of Forest Management on Cavity-nesting Bird Populations on the Lindsay and Lindsay-Jeffco Open Space Properties.
  • Keeler, Population Biology of Big Bluestem, Andropogon gerardii in Open Space and Mountain Parks.
  • Cruz, Long-term Monitoring of Brown-headed Cowbird parasitism in City of Boulder Open Space
  • Bock, Habitat Use by Breeding Birds in Foothills Shrub Habitats: Effects of Shrub Structure, Shrub Species Composition, Landscape Setting, and Recreational Trails.
  • Bock, The Effects of Suburbanization and Haying on the Reproductive Success of Grassland Birds Breeding in Hayfields.
  • D'Amico, Mapping, Ecological Characterization and Functional Evaluation of Wetlands on Boulder Mountain Parks.
  • Miller, Avian Diversity and Predator Assemblages in Lowland Riparian Areas Across a Gradient of Urbanization.
  • Bock, Source and Sink Population Dynamics of the Red-winged Blackbird in a Suburban Environment
  • Adams, Continued Study of Abundance and Distribution of a Boulder County Bat Assemblage.
  • Parrott, The Impact of Fire/Beetle Mitigation on Colorados Front Range Avia.
  • Keammerer, Developing Strategies and Guidelines for Monitoring the Success of Integrated Weed Management Techniques.
  • Beck, The influence of cattle grazing on the population dynamics of diffuse knapweed


  • Hopkins, Proposal to continue research on best management strategies for native tallgrass prairie.
  • Tashiro-Vierling, Source and sink population dynamics of the red-winged blackbird in a suburban environment.
  • Tashiro-Vierling, Human-commensal predators and their impact in red-winged blackbird breeding habitat.
  • Keeler, Population stability of the grass Big Bluestem (Andropogon geradii) in Boulder County Sites with different grazing histories.
  • Adams, Location and distribution of maternity roosts and hibernacula and the use of water resources by Boulder County Bats.
  • Bestgen, Long-term monitoring of fish populations and habitat of South Boulder Creek, Colorado, within the City of Boulder Open Space property.
  • D'Amico, Monitoring cottonwood and willow establishment on newly created alluvial bars and in experimental plots on South Boulder Creek, Boulder, Colorado.
  • Carpenter, Ecological studies of the rare plant Physaria bellii (Bell's Twinpod) on City of Boulder Open Space lands Boulder County, Colorado.
  • Miller, Avian diversity and predator assemblages in lowland riparian areas across a gradient of human density.
  • Carey, Herpetological survey of Open Space and monitoring of health of specific amphibians.
  • Pague, A systematic inventory of rare and imperilled butterflies on City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks and recommendations for their conservation.
  • Knight, Wildlife responses to recreational activities: an experimental approach.
  • Beck, The influence of cattle grazing on the population dynamics of diffuse Knapweed.
  • Laven, Prescribed fire and the restoration of the Ponderosa Pine-grassland ecotone.