To our 2016 volunteers, thank you so much for coming out!!! We observed 129 plants this year.
“This land has been farmed since pioneer times, and we’d like to see it continue in a similar way.” – Paul Willie, life-long resident of Mendon, BRLC Board of Directors Emeriti
When BRLC bought the 30 acre section of farmland, pasture, and marsh in 2013, we did so with a few specific goals in mind. The preserve is home to Ute ladies’-tresses (Spiranthes diluvialis) a rare and threatened species of orchid, discovered in 2008 for the first time in Cache Valley on this property. The acquisition of this parcel protects the wetlands, but it is grazing and farming that protect the orchid. The orchids are very short, and if the property were not hayed and grazed each summer, the plants would not be able to compete with the tall grasses on the property.
As Dave Rayfield, former Chairman of the Conservancy’s Board explained, “Our mission includes protecting critical habitats, but we are also committed to conserving part of our rapidly disappearing agriculture base.”
This property is a prime example of how varied public benefits can exist on the same relatively small patch of land. Ranching, farming, and conservation of threatened species are all present in the Mendon Meadow Preserve, and we couldn’t be happier.
Each year volunteers conduct a six week survey of the orchid population on the preserve. Below are the numbers observed each year. If you would like to volunteer to help us with this citizen scientist project, please use our contact page. As you can see, the population varies widly year-to-year, and we are working on finding out why!