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Discovery Pool

The Discovery Pool research grant program was established by CNHA to encourage and provide funding for research partnerships between qualified scientists and our federal NPS, BLM, and USFS partners in southeastern Utah.

Since its inception in 2007, CNHA’s Discovery Pool has awarded $696,632 in grants.

Apply

If you are interested in applying for a Discovery Pool Grant for 2023, applications must be received no later than 5pm on December 1, 2022.

Deadline Extensions

We have extended the deadlines for our 2023 grant applications.

Completed grant application should be available to partner agency for review and endorsement by November 7, 2022.

Completed grant application and all attachments including agency letter of support must be received by CNHA no later than 5pm on December 1, 2022.

Please email discoverypool@cnha.org if you have any questions.

Public Lands Partnership AwardGoals

The goals for the Discovery Pool grants are:

  • Encourage the scientific research that makes up the backbone of interpretive and educational programs. Our definition of scientific research also includes resource management or protection surveys and monitoring.
  • Provide funds directly to the federal partners so all monies apply directly to the granting project and none are absorbed by a third party for administrative costs.
  • Provide matching funds that may assist public land partners in obtaining larger grants for work consistent with Goal 1.
  • Promote an understanding of the intricate cultural and natural resource complexities found on federally administered lands.
  • Fund projects that result in information that CNHA can publicize on a popular level, to help visitors understand the value and fragility of the natural and cultural resources of the region.

Projects

2022

Ecological interactions between American pikas and mountain goats in the La Sal mountains

Principal Investigator: Mallory Sandoval Lambert, Utah State University

Agency: US Forest Service

Research Question: Do ecological interactions exist between mountain goats and American pikas in the La Sal mountains?

Video: “Ecological Interactions Between American Pikas and Mountain Goats in the La Sal Mountains” by Mallory Sandoval Lambert (MIC Lecture Series)

Investigations in Basketmaker II-Pueblo I Community Patterns, the Foundations of Ancestral Puebloan Community in Allen and Chippean Canyons, Bears Ears National Monument

Principal Investigator: Donald C. Irwin, District Archaeologist, Manti-La Sal National Forest, Moab-Monticello Ranger District

Agency: Manti-La Sal National Forest

Research Question: This project will focus on investigating the origins and developments of the Ancestral Puebloan community in Allen and Chippean Canyons.

Continued Excavation of the Cisco Mammal Quarry: a Rich Small Vertebrate Site in the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation

Principal investigator: Brian M. Davis, PhD., Associate Professor, Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology, University of Louisville

Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Research question: What will new, well-preserved specimens of small vertebrates (e.g., dinosaurs, squamates, mammals) tell us about terrestrial ecosystem evolution at the end of the Jurassic in western North America?

Video: “Tiny Fossils and the Big Picture: Mammals in the Age of Dinosaurs” by Brian M. Davis (MIC Lecture Series)

Video: An electric jackhammer helps break the quarry into workable blocks. Wind helps with the heat but makes work tough.

Pictures 

La Sal Mountain alpine arthropod communities: establishing baseline conditions. A continuation from 2019.

Principal investigator: Tim Graham, PhD, University of Utah & Northern Arizona University

Agency: U.S. Forest Service

Research question: Will introduced mountain goats significantly alter alpine pollinator and ground-dwelling arthropod community structure, either directly, or indirectly via their effects on alpine plant communities?

2021

CNHA Rolls 2020 Discovery Pool Grants into 2021

The CNHA Board of Trustees approved over $65,000 in funding for seven Discovery Pool Grants. The spring research season hit about the same time as the entire country began to lockdown. Paleontologists, scientists, and scholars were unable to put teams in the field to complete the research requirements for obtaining their grants. During the December 2020 board meeting, the trustees voted to roll funding for all seven projects into 2021. 

2020

Drone-based Sensing of Chaco-Era Roads

Principal Investigator: Dr. Bill Lipe, Prof. Emeritus, WA State University

Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Research Question: Effectiveness of drone-based remote sensing of ancient roads in a variety of ground cover environments in southeast Utah?

CNHA Newsletter Article: Drone-based Sensing of Chaco-Era Roads in Southeastern Utah 

Bears Ears Paleontology

Principal Investigator: Dr. Adam Huttenlocker, Assistant Professor, Department of Integrative Anatomical Sciences, Unversity of Southern California, and Research Associate, Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Research Question: How are Utah’s oldest (pre-dinosaur) land-living vertebrates connected to those found outside the southwest, and what do they tell us about western North America’s changing animal communities during the late Paleozoic icehouse-hothouse transition?

Final Report

Gravitational Stress Analysis of Natural Rock Arches

Principal investigator: Dr. Jeffrey R. Moore – University of Utah, Department of Geology & Geophysics

Agency: National Park Service

Research question: How do gravitational stresses in natural arch forms vary with geometry?  Can a metric be developed that allows comparison among arches with different scale and form?

CNHA Newsletter Article: Decoding the Language of Stone

La Sal Mountain alpine arthropod communities: establishing baseline conditions. A continuation from 2019.

Principal investigator: Tim Graham, PhD, University of Utah & Northern Arizona University

Agency: U.S. Forest Service

Research question: Will introduced mountain goats significantly alter alpine pollinator and ground-dwelling arthropod community structure, either directly, or indirectly via their effects on alpine plant communities?

Continued Excavation of the Cisco Mammal Quarry

Principal investigator: Brian M. Davis, Ph.d., Associate Professor, Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology, University of Louisville

Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Research question: What will new, well-preserved specimens of small vertebrates (e.g. dinosaurs, squadmates, mammals) tell us about terrestrial ecosystem evaluation at the end of the Jurassic in western North America?

Project Update: October, 2021

Precursor to a Mass Extinction: Investigating Key Fossil Assemblages from the Upper Triassic Chinle Formation of the new Bears Ears national Monument, Utah.

Principal Investigator: Randall Irmis, Ph.d., Chief Curator & Curator fo Paleontology, Natural History Museum of Utah, Associate Professor, Dept of Geology & Geophysics, University of Utah

Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Research question: Do the Late Triassic fossil resources of Bears Ears National Monument display latitudinal differences from contemporaneous fossils elsewhere in the southwest, and is there any evidence of ecosystem stress leading up to the end-Triassic mass extinction?

Lichens as tools to monitor disturbances in the La Sal Mountains

Principal Investigator: Steve Leavitt, Brigham Young University

Agency: Manti-La Sal National Forest

Research question: Can we develop new approaches for monitoring ecological health in the La Sal Mountains using lichens?  Can genome-scale data provide crucial information to characterize lichen diversity?

Article: Providing Scale to a Known Taxonomic Unknown – At Least a 70-Fold Increase in Species Diversity in a Cosmopolitan Nominal Taxon of Lichen-Forming Fungi

Project Update: June 2021

Final Report

2019

Continued Excavation of the Cisco Mammal Quarry

Principal Investigator: Brian M. Davis, PhD, University of Louisville

Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Research question: What will new, well-preserved specimens of small vertebrates (e.g., dinosaurs, squamates, mammals) tell us about terrestrial ecosystem evolution at the end of the Jurassic in western North America?

Precursor to a Mass Extinction: Investigating Key Fossil Assemblages from the Upper Triassic Chinle Formation of the Bears Ears National Monument, Utah

Principal investigator: Randall Irmis, PhD, Natural History Museum of Utah & University of Utah

Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Research question: Do the Late Triassic fossil resources of the Bears Ears N.M.display latitudinal differences from contemporaneous fossils elsewhere in the Southwest, and is there any evidence of stress leading up to the end-Triassic mass extinction?

La Sal Mountain Alpine Arthropod Communities: Establishing Baseline Conditions – 2019

Principal investigator: Tim Graham, PhD, University of Utah & Northern Arizona University

Agency: U.S. Forest Service, Manti-La Sal National Forest

Research question: Will introduced mountain goats significantly alter alpine pollinator and ground-dwelling arthropod community structure, either directly, or indirectly via their effects on alpine plant communities?

2018

Ethnographic Study of Canyons of the Ancients National Monument

Principal Investigator: T. J. Ferguson, (Anthropological Research, LLC)

Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Research question: What cultural and historical connections do contemporary tribes have with the archaeology, natural resources, and land forms of CANM? How is the Monument’s tribal history preserved and passed down within tribal communities today? How can tribal involvement be included in interpretation, preservation, and management of CANM?

Continued Excavation of the Cisco Mammal Quarry

Principal Investigator: Brian M. Davis, PhD, University of Louisville

Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Research question: What will new, well-preserved specimens of small vertebrates (e.g., dinosaurs, squamates, mammals) tell us about terrestrial ecosystem evolution at the end of the Jurassic in western North America?

Project Update 2018

Inventory and Salvage of Key Fossil Assemblages from the Upper Triassic Chinle Formation

Principal investigator: Randall Irmis, PhD, Natural History Museum of Utah & University of Utah

Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Research question: Do the Late Triassic fossil resources of the Bears Ears N.M.display latitudinal differences from contemporaneous fossils elsewhere in the Southwest, and is there any evidence of stress leading up to the end-Triassic mass extinction?

Final Report

Alpine Lichen Diversity in the La Sal Mountains - A Resource for Evaluating the Impact of Ecological Disturbances

Principal investigator: Steven Leavitt, Brigham Young University

Agency: U.S. Forest Service

Research question: How distinct is the alpine lichen community in the La Sal Mountains relative to comparable sites in western North America?

La Sal Mountain Alpine Arthropod Communities: Establishing Baseline Conditions - Year 3

Principal investigator: Tim Graham, PhD, University of Utah & Northern Arizona University

Agency: U.S. Forest Service

Research question: Will introduced mountain goats significantly alter alpine pollinator and ground-dwelling arthropod community structure, either directly, or indirectly via their effects on alpine plant communities?

A New, Diverse Dinosaur and Plant Community in the Salt Wash Member of the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation

Principal Investigator: Mathew Wedel, PhD, Western University of Health Sciences

Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Research question: Document vertebrate and plant fossils at the Tal Site (Hanksville area), gather photo & video documentation for scientific research and public outreach.

2017

Enigmatic Features of the Jurassic Navajo Sandstone, Grand and San Juan Counties

Principal Investigator: Marjorie A. Chan, University of Utah; co-investigators: Stephen T. Hasiotis and Judith Totman Parrish

Agency: Bureau of Land Management; National Park Service

Research question: What are the origins and implications of enigmatic pipes and bounding surfaces with trace fossils in the Navajo Sandstone of the Moab Area?

Continued Excavation of the Grey Hills Site: a Rich, Small Vertebrate Locality

Principal Investigator: Brian M. Davis, PhD, University of Louisville

Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Research question: What will new, well-preserved specimens of small vertebrates tell us about terrestrial ecosystem evolution at the end of the Jurassic in western North America?

Final Report

Excavation of Dinosaurs at the Hanksville-Burpee Quarry

Principal investigator: Michael D’Emic, Adelphi University

Agency: Bureau of Land Management

This research aims to excavate dinosaurs from the Hanksville-Burpee Quarry while simultaneously offering a unique public education experience.

Linking Comb Ridge to the Rest of Triassic Utah

Principal investigator: Robert Gay, Museums of Western Colorado Dinosaur Journey

Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Research question: How do the Early Mesozoic faunas of Comb Ridge relate to the other, better-known localities across southeastern Utah?

Final Report

La Sal Mountain Alpine Arthropod Communities: Establishing Baseline Conditions - Year 2

Principal investigator: Tim Graham, PhD, University of Utah & Northern Arizona University

Agency: U.S. Forest Service

Research question: Will introduced mountain goats significantly alter alpine pollinator and ground-dwelling arthropod community structure, either directly, or indirectly via their effects on alpine plant communities?

Final Report

Documentation of Perishable Artifacts at the American Museum of Natural History

Principal Investigator: Laurie D. Webster, University of Arizona

Agency: Bureau of Land Management
Documentation of archaeological perishable artifacts from southeastern Utah

Final Report 

2016

Cedar Mesa Building Murals and Social Identities Project: Phase III

Principal Investigator: Benjamin A. Bellorado

Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Excavation of a New Small Vertebrate Locality in the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation

Principal investigator: Brian M. Davis, PhD, University of Louisville.

Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Final Report

Paleontological Investigations of Comb Ridge, Utah; a Public Education Field School Principal investigator

Principal investigator: Robert Gay, Museums of Western Colorado Dinosaur Journey

Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Final Report

Documentation of Perishable Artifacts at the American Museum of Natural History

Principal investigator: Laurie D. Webster, University of Arizona

Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Final Report

Prehistoric Site Documentation and Chronology on BLM Sites in SE Utah

Principal investigator: Thomas C. Windes, University of New Mexico.

Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Final Report 

Potential Impacts from Introduced Mountain Goats on the La Sal Mountains Alpine Arthropod Communities: Baseline Conditions

Principal investigator: Tim Graham, PhD, Northern Arizona University.

Agency: Manti-La Sal National Forest

Final Report

2015

Excavation of New Fossil Localities in Cedar Mountain Formation

Principal Investigator: Benjamin A. Bellorado, M.A., University of Arizona

Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Research Question: How did Ancestral Puebloans use building murals to signal individual and community identities and their participation ancient religious networks in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries A.D. in Southeastern Utah? 

Excavation of New Fossil Localities in Cedar Mountain Formation

Principal Investigator: Lindsay E. Zanno, Ph.D., Director, Paleontology & Geology Research Lab

Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Research Question: Biodiversity and biogeographical assessment of a new Late Cretaceous dinosaur fauna based on discovery, description, and quantitative analyses of remains discovered in 2012 and 2013.

Mammal Response to Holocene Climate and Land Use Change on the Colorado Plateau ($15,000.00)

Principal Investigator: M. Allison Stegner, UC berkeley, UC Museums of Paleontology and Vertebrate Zoology

Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Research Question: How does the mammal community in Canyon Rims change through time, and how does it compare to the modern mammal community? 

 

Newly Discovered Fossil Assemblages and Their Paleoenvironmental Context in the Upper Chinle Formation ($15,385.00)

Principal investigator: Andrew R.C. Milner

Agency: Bureau of Land Management 

Research: This research will test for paleolatitudinal differences in paleoenvironment and biota over the last eight million years of the Triassic Period. 

Paleontological Investigations of Comb Ridge, Utah (BLM) ($3,335.96)

Principal investigator: Robert J. Gay

Agency: Bureau of Land Management 

Research: How does the early Mesozoic fauna of Comb Ridge relate to the better known fossil localities in Utah and Arizona? 

2014

Cedar Mesa Building Murals and Social Identities Project (BLM) ($5,000.00)

Principal Investigator: Benjamin A. Bellorado, M.A., University of Arizona

Agency: Bureau of Land Management 

Research Question: How did Ancestral Puebloans signal individual and community identities as well as ancient social networks in Southeastern Utah, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries A.D.? 

Excavation and Identification of the Geologically Oldest Sauropod Dinosaur in North America (BLM) ($8,695.00)

Principal Investigator: Brian M. Davis

Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Research Question: What is the vertebrate fossil potential of interdune deposits within the Navajo and Entrada formations (Early-Middle Jurassic, SE Utah), and what can we these fossils tell us about terrestrial ecosystem evolution in the Jurassic of North America?

Final Report 

Excavation of New Fossil Vertebrates Localities in the Upper Jurassic and Upper Cretaceous Cedar Mountain Formation (BLM) ($5,000.00)

Principal Investigator: Lindsay E. Zanno, Ph.D., Director, Paleontology & Geology Research Lab

Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Research Question: Biodiversity and biogeographical assessment of a new Late Cretaceous dinosaur fauna based on discovery, description, and quantitative analyses of remains discovered in 2012 and 2013.

Final Report

2013

Distance and Temperature Effects on Pika Forage (USFS) ($11,873.00)

Principal investigator: Jim Fowler, Research Ecologist, USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station

Agency: Manti-La Sal National Forest

Research question: How does plant species composition and soil surface temperature change with distance from pika safe sites?

Final Report 

Documentation of Perishable Artifacts at the Museum of the American Indian (BLM) ($18,625.00)

Principal investigator: Laurie D. Webster

Agency: Bureau of Land Management 

Research: Documentation of archaeological perishable collections from southeastern Utah

Gardeners and Gatekeepers: Pueblo I Community Study II (USFS) ($12,779.00)

Principal investigator: Donald C. irwin

Agency: Manti-La Sal National Forest

Research: The principle aim of this project is to collect additional field data from a selection of important Pueblo I sites in Allen Canyon and to investigate the development and nature of the Pueblo I community in the Allen Canyon area.

Final Report

Phase II of Analysis of Ceramic Sherd Collections from Hovenweep National Monument (NPS) ($15,500.00)

Principal investigator: Jonathan Till, Mark Bond, Tamara Desrosiers

Agency: National Park Service

Research: Basic and specialized analysis of Hovenweep’s ceramic sherd collection will provide important data to interpret the archeological sites that the NPS manages and protects, and will contribute to a developing regional database of Mesa Verde region pottery.

2012

Ceramic Analysis of Sherd Collections from Hovenweep National Monument ($15,000.00)

Principal investigator: Mark Bond, Jonathan Till, Ben Bellorado

Agency: National Park Service

Research: This project seeks to bring Hovenweep’s ceramic collection together for examination to obtain data that can be used to answer research questions and provide interpretive information.

Completion of Documentation of Perishable Artifacts ($15,000.00)

Principal Investigator: Laurie D. Webster

Agency: Bureau of Land Management 

Research: Documentation of archaeological perishable collections from southeastern Utah at the field museum

Final Report 

2011

Chemical Matching of Ceramics to Material Source Areas—Goodman Point ($11,000.00)

This study will use chemical matching of ceramics from the Goodman Point Unit of Hovenweep National Monument to material source areas to determine social and economic ties of prehistoric groups through time.

Climate Driven Changes in Englemann Spruce Stands in the La Sal Mountains ($9,600.00)

How will global warming and changing precipitation patterns effect timberline elevation and spruce tree stands in the La Sal Mountains?

Final Report

Documentation of Perishable Artifacts ($7,395.00)

This project will survey and photodocument archaeological textiles, baskets, and other perishable artifacts in the Green and Lang collections at the Field Museum of Natural History from Grand Gulch and adjacent public lands.

Gardeners and Gatekeepers: Pueblo I Community in Allen Canyon ($12,726.00)

The goal of this project is to collect field data from the Pueblo I period Ancestral Puebloan community and investigate the development and nature of the Pueblo I community in the area.1

Final Report 

Structural Wood Documentation and Dendrochronology in SE Utah ($7,980.00)

The project goals are to document the perisible structural wood resources of standing prehistoric cliff structures on a site-by-site basis. The information gathered will broaden our understanding of 12th and 13th century Puebloan settlement and abandonmen.

Final Report 

2010

Multi-Spectral Imaging of Rock Art in Canyonlands National Park ($15,000.00)

Private contractor Bud Turner continues his work using spectral photography documenting pictographs and reveal hidden elements of this ancient artwork, aiding in their preservation and restoration.

Final Report

2009

Alpine Habitat Baseline Study ($14,996.00)

Erigeron mancus (La Sal daisy) elevational density gradient as a baseline to detect future climate change in LaSal Mountain alpine habitats. U.S. Forest Service, Jim Fowler/Barb Smith

Bighorn Sheep Study ($5,000.00)

Determining migrational corridors used by desert bighorn sheep rams and compiling 12 years of mortality and home range data on ram and ewe home ranges in southeastern Utah. Bureau of Land Management, Pam Riddle.

2008

Alpine Habitat Baseline Study ($14,996.00)

Erigeron mancus (La Sal daisy) elevational density gradient as a baseline to detect future climate change in LaSal Mountain alpine habitats. U.S. Forest Service, Jim Fowler/Barb Smith.

Final Report

Aquatic Invertebrate Surveys ($7,000.00)

Aquatic invertebrate surveys on the Green River in Desolation and Grey Canyons (pre-dam vs. current condition).

Bighorn Sheep Collaring ($15,000.00)

Bighorn Sheep Collaring, Maze District, Canyonlands National Park

Final Report

Documenting a Threatened Cultural Landscape ($15,000.00)

Comb Ridge Heritage Initiative Project, San Juan Corridor; Documenting a Threatened Cultural Landscape.

Multi-Spectral Imaging of Rock Art in Canyonlands National Park ($15,000.00)

Bud Turner, private contractor, employed spectral photography to document pictographs and reveal elements of this ancient artwork, aiding in their preservation and restoration.

Final Report

Spectral Imaging Video

Springs, Seeps, and Hanging Garden Ecosystems ($10,000.00)

Biology Department Mesa State College, Assessment of Biological and Physical Relationships of Springs, Seeps, and Hanging Garden Ecosystems Across a Gradient of Human Impacts

2007

Bighorn Sheep Collaring

The National Park Service is interested in maintaining a viable herd of Desert Bighorn sheep in areas of the park where sheep historically roamed.

Goodman Point Archeological Project

Crow Canyon Archeological Center was awarded a grant for studying the Goodman Point unit of Hovenweep National Monument.

Final Report

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Public Land News

September 2022 CNHA Newsletter

Arches National Park James Webb Space Telescope Event Floods in the Moab area Local River Ranger Wins National Award 2023 Artist in the Parks Applications Seasonal Climbing Restrictions Lifted Manti-La Sal Update Read the September 2022 Newsletter

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