Students can choose to do a practicum project as part of the three-credit capstone experience.
Aimee Kelley-Dickinson did her practicum with the Great Burn Study Group to help them develop a long-term invasive species monitoring program for the Kelly Creek Watershed of the Great Burn Roadless Area. Aimee looked at tools for monitoring invasives and the effectiveness of treatments including herbicide and hand-pulling. She worked to answer the question "How are target weed species populations changing over time?" In developing the plan, Aimee and crew hiked 60 miles, sprayed 20 acres, hand-pulled half an acre, and set up 35 monitoring transects. Read a report on her practicum (pdf).
Another group of students did a practicum with Trout Unlimited as a project partner. Trout Unlimited installed large woody debris over two miles of degraded stretch of Cedar Creek, near Superior, Montana, in order to restore the bed morphology, promote pool creation, and generally improve habitat for the threatened bull trout. The students are assessing the efficacy of these actions by examining the persistence of the large wood placed in the stream, as well as evaluating changes in bed height and tracking the difference in pool number from pre-restoration data. Their final report will address whether these restoration actions are assisting in providing key habitat components for bull trout and will provide a monitoring plan for future use.