NERI received 16 excellent applications for the first annual 2018 Brenda McGowan Grant, and it was a difficult decision! A wide variety of interesting topics exploring corners and niches of ecology were submitted, including cryptic diversity in PNW microsnails; environmental DNA analysis in freshwater crustaceans; microplastics in the ocean (2 different studies); pollinator usage (2 different studies); bats and white nose syndrome (2 different studies); plant diversity in urban parks; forest soils effect on moisture and climate; urban soils and sustainable food production; forestry practices/runoff effects on clams and mussels; wildfires and riparian resilience with respect to beavers; western purple martin diet/habitat comparison; and yellow-billed cuckoo surveys.
If you would like to donate to the Brenda McGowan Grant Fund to provide NERI the funds to support more grants each year please click here. The application period for the 2019 grant opens November 1 and closes December 31.
NERI awarded the 2018 $1,000 Brenda McGowan Grant to Laura Johnson, a Masters Candidate in the Environmental Studies Department at the University of Oregon for her research project Freshwater Mussel Re-surveys in Oregon Based on Historical Occurrence Records. Often freshwater mussels are not even noticed, much less studied. However, they are very important to the health of streams and the fish and other organisms living in them, as well as to many Native Americans.
Laura and an undergraduate field assistant will resurvey streams where mussels were observed historically, to compare the abundance and distribution of species. Her data will be shared with the Xerces Society, for use in the conservation of freshwater mussels. The McGowan Grant will be used for equipment rental and supplies.