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What is the large square-shaped fenced-in area on top of Hammer Flats?

Answer

Great question! 

The large square-shaped fenced-in area on top of Hammer Flat is a research plot for the USDA Agricultural Research Service Northwest Watershed Research Center (ARS-NWRC). 

The research conducted there primarily focuses on the establishment of perennial native grasses and restoration projects throughout the Great Basin. The study is looking at weather and climate conditions at the site and evaluating establishment within a community with and without Cheatgrass, an invasive annual grass. There is a meteorological station for monitoring specific climate at the site as well as soil monitoring sensors to determine hydrothermal conditions of the seedbed. 

The site is also an outdoor classroom for high school and college students.