20 Nov Resource and Interpretation Intern
Homestead National Monument of America is a National Park Service site in southeast Nebraska. The Park contains about 110-acres of restored tallgrass prairie, 60 acres of oak riparian woodland, and just over a mile of stream. This intern will work under the Natural Resource Specialist who serves under the Chief of Interpretation and Resource Management. The intern will be involved with the day to day operation of the Division of Interpretation and Resource Management. The main project for the intern will be determining the success of the 2020 stocking of the Fatmucket and Plain Pocketbook mussels into Cub Creek.
In July of 2020, Fatmucket and Plain Pocketbook mussels were reintroduced into Cub Creek by the Nebraska Game and Parks Fisheries Division. Two-hundred fifty of each species were stocked at each of the two sites for a total stocking of 1000 mussels. One hundred of each species were fitted with passive integrated transmitters (a reader was purchased with FY2020 end of year funds). Those 200 mussels were spread evenly over the stretches that were stocked. All the mussels that were stocked were marked with glue dots, Fatmucket with black dots, and Plain Pocketbook with white dots.
The study will be conducted with input from Nebraska Game and Parks and will involve extensive searching of the reintroduction sites locating and measuring all the mussels that are encountered. The data will be then analyzed with the Nebraska Game and Parks data that was collected at the time of introduction to determine success and growth rate.
When the intern is not working with the mussel project they will assist the resource manager with their normal job duties including water quality monitoring, mosquito monitoring, vegetation monitoring through repeat photography, exotic and invasive vegetation control, assisting with education programs, and assisting with visitor services.
Pending the pandemic, one of the education projects that the intern will be heavily involved with is a water quality monitoring project with local schools. Rangers, interns, and volunteers guide students as they monitor physical and chemical parameters of the creek including pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, nitrates, phosphates, and alkalinity. If the students are unable to assist, the intern will complete the testing on their own.
Interns are encouraged and given opportunities to interact with all divisions and see how the team works together to achieve the common goals of serving the park users and ensuring that the natural resources are maintained in an unimpaired fashion for future generations.