Coyote, Elk and Environment Interactions

(Biology Oriented)

Bob Dryja Randy Gaylor

 

What the problem is, the definition of the problem

What is the nature of the interaction of coyotes and elk in the Valles Caldera?

Do coyotes remain within specific topographic ranges of the Valles Caldera?

What factors influence the population limit on coyotes and elk together in the Valles Caldera?

Why is it important, the purpose of the project or what results you hope to get

The growth of the elk population in the Valles Caldera is partially influenced by predation from coyotes. However it is not clear whether coyotes limit their movement to specific areas within the Valles Caldera or how many elk are hunted successfully by coyotes.

Information on coyote movement and the interaction between coyotes and elk will help in deciding if additional coyotes should be introduced or if the present number is sufficient to maintain the current elk herd size. If the elk population is increasing significantly in spite of coyote predation, human elk hunting may be an option to be considered.

How you plan to work on it, plan of action or methods you hope to get.

The Valles Caldera National Preserve started a coyote monitoring project in the fall of 2005. This monitoring is done with radio collars being placed on coyotes and then tracking them with radio direction equipment. Approximately 30 coyotes have been collared.

 

Team members will help Valles Caldera with the tracking. They then will organize data for the fall and winter seasons to identify movement patterns and the number of elk being killed.

 

A StarLogo model will be prepared to show the patterns of movement of coyotes and elk as seasonal weather conditions change. The StarLogo model also will be extended to show the patterns of increase/decrease/stability as the coyotes, elk and environment interact.

 


Water Quality Chemistry of the Santa Cruz River

(Chemistry Oriented)

What the problem is, the definition of the problem

The Santa Cruz River on the south side of Espanola flows for approximately fourteen miles from the Santa Cruz Reservoir to the Rio Grande. This river presently has a limited flow due drought and the redirection of it water for irrigation. Approximately 400 homes have been built within mile of the river. These homes are varying age and all use septic tanks/fields to dispose of residential sewage.

The low flow of the river combined with adjacent sewage seepage suggests that pollution levels increase as the river water moves to the Rio Grande. The problem is to determine if indeed significant pollution is present and if it is increasing; and where it may be occurring along the fourteen miles

Why is it important, the purpose of the project or what results you hope to get

The Santa Cruz may meet the legal requirements for being identified as an impaired river if it is indeed significantly polluted. If impaired Environmental Protection Agency funding could be made available to correct the problem.

How you plan to work on it, plan of action or methods you hope to get.

The EPA is about to start a water quality assessment of the Santa Cruz River. The team will collaborate with them gather data and then making a model showing the movement of pollution depending varying water flow and varying sources of pollutions along the river.