Hitch Report 4

With over half of the summer completed, the temperatures are beginning to cool down and we have all settled in nicely to our daily obligations and expectations. Surveys are growing in frequency at some sites, and we are all getting better at encouraging visitors to agree to them (casual enthusiasm and common courtesy are the keys). Also, we have now worked on our disc golf course project at Perry Lake for a couple of weeks now. While the disc golf course remains a consistent project, if the opportunity presents itself, two team members are allowed to venture outside typical responsibilities and shadow a ranger, conduct GIS data collection, and other activities.

Hema, the hitch leader for the week beginning week of this hitch, organized for Tom and herself to go on a ranger patrol at Melvern Lake. They learned a lot about zebra mussels, an invasive species in the lakes, history of the town, and the dams at the lake. After each conservation project, we have team meetings. This meeting we received our survey stats including our survey numbers, refusal numbers, and percentiles. This was quite a motivation tool for the team. We went into our next workdays ready to improve our numbers and competitive as ever.

As hitch leader, we are responsible for planning out the supplementary conservation projects. We were fortunate enough to gain permission from Clinton Lake staff to shadow Ranger Kipp. Jasmine and John Tyler began the day by learning what weather measurements Army Corps of Engineers staff takes at each lake every morning. They include precipitation, wind speed, and evaporation rate. Also, we learned how to check each measurement. While some of the measurements look rather primitive, they are highly accurate. Specifically, there is a pool of water used to measure the evaporation rate of the lake. Interestingly enough, Clinton Lake loses more water to evaporation than it does providing municipal water to the city of Lawrence, Kansas (population 90,000). We spent the rest of the day riding around with Kipp to check the traffic meters at various parks around the lake. At every site except one, they use infrared sensors that record cars, deer, and even spiders. We helped align the sensors with their corresponding reflective strips across roads. At the end of the week, Jasmine got in contact with Melvern Lake to organize boat patrol dates and water sampling dates for future conservation days. Hema and Jill received a contact for a project at Perry Lake for a Marina project so the next hitch kicks off just as smooth.