The habitat here is Alpine Tundra in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Characteristic low growing vegetation is visible here. The soils are dry and rocky. Evergreen vegetation in the distance are known as Krumholz--they are trees of various species stunted in their growth by the wind and cold temperatures. The mountain peaks in the distance are, in order from left to right, Mt. Albion, Kiowa Peak, and Apache. In between this photo station and those peaks are Albion and the Green Lakes, which form the headwaters of Boudler Creek--they are the drinking water for the City of Boulder Watershed.
At the Niwot Ridge Long-term Ecological Research Program (NWT LTER), we study the air, snow, water, soil, microbes, lakes, trees, flowers, and animals in the high mountains of the Colorado Rockies. We measure, experiment and model how all these pieces fit together and have affected the health of our mountains over the last 40 years. Our mission is to better understand how our complex mountain systems are changing and better predict the future of the many critical services these systems provide to all of us living downhill — in Boulder, in Colorado, and beyond.