Natural Bridges National Monument

Biology Assistant

The federally listed threatened Navajo sedge (Carex specuicola) is known only from small populations in hanging gardens of northeastern Arizona and southeastern Utah. Natural Bridges National Monument (NABR) may be the northernmost extent of its range; a 2013 survey revealed one potential population, but the specimens collected were too immature for certain identification. Southeast Utah Group staff lack capacity and expertise in sedge identification required to conduct a thorough survey for Navajo sedge at NABR, thus necessitating this SIP position. In spring 2020, US Fish and Wildlife Service requested assistance with assessment and monitoring of Navajo sedge populations from all agencies managing lands where they are known to occur. Because the presence of Navajo sedge at NABR is uncertain, additional survey of hanging gardens is needed. This survey would target the location of the suspected sedge population from the 2013 survey, and other NABR hanging gardens that fit Navajo sedge habitat criteria. Surveys need to coincide with prime fruiting season for this sedge (usually late June through July) in order to confirm identification and collect voucher specimens. With guidance from supervisory Ecologists, intern will work independently to locate and document suspected Navajo sedge populations, collecting habitat and population data, GPS locations, photos, leaf tissue samples and voucher specimens as needed. See additional description under "Work Setting Details." Work Products: Report summarizing survey efforts and description of any Navajo sedge populations found, including photos, habitat information, and GPS locations. Leaf tissue samples may be sent to research partners for ID confirmation and genetic analysis. Positively identified Navajo sedge specimens will be vouchered and submitted to the NPS Southeast Utah Group herbarium.