Monitoring Glacial Retreat in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

10/17 (Tuesday), Monitoring Glacial Retreat in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem” Presented by Justin Snyder, PG, Bridger-Teton NF, Robin Thomas, Geologist, GeoCorps.  Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee (GYCC) – Glacier Working Group

Glaciers shaped the dramatic features of the wondrous mountains for which Wyoming is justifiably famous – from our Tetons to the Winds, to the Big Horns, and beyond. But they have been in retreat for decades.

 Geologists from the Bridger-Teton National Forest will give an overview of efforts to quantify glacial retreat in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, with a focus on work done on the Green River side of the Wind River Range (The Winds harbor the largest concentration of ice in the American Rockies).

 And why monitor glaciers? Everyone knows they’re melting. But how fast? When will they be removed from the landscape? What are the ramifications for the ecosystem and surrounding communities? How should we plan for this future?

 Public land managers from across the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem posed these questions and decided that a systematic approach to answering them should be put in place.

 Accordingly, the GYCC – Glacier Working Group convened in 2016 to develop a glacier monitoring protocol and establish index glaciers.  The group consists of personnel from the Shoshone, Bridger-Teton and Custer Gallatin National Forests, Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, the USGS and several academic institutions.  To date, protocols have been established and GIS assessment combined with initial field work has identified potential index glaciers.

 Beyond strategy, this presentation will give you a feel for the glaciers in your own back yard, and how fast they’ve changed in recent decades.