FY2013The proposed project’s objective is to provide a scientific review of(1) current priority species management practices in Nevada, (2) status of our combined scientific knowledge of priority species’ needs and gaps in that knowledge, and(3) adequacy of current monitoring programs of priority species.The project builds on recent, well-researched species conservation plans for Nevada (GBBO 2010, NWPT 2012), and it will leverage funds that are already obligated to research on scientifically based disturbance buffer recommendations and to evaluate GBBO’s statewide landbird monitoring program, the Nevada Bird Count.The outcome of the proposed work will be an online open-source compendium document that summarizes...
Current Versus Historical Trends in Habitat Use by Wintering Raptors in the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area
FY2011Research is showing that populations of wintering raptors, including Northern Harriers, Rough-Legged Hawks, Prairie Falcons, American Kestrels. Red-Tailed Hawks and Golden Eagles, have stayed relatively constant in the last 20 years are being used by the Bureau of Land Management and Idaho Army National Guard in developing raptor conservation management practices. The American Wind and WildlifeInstitute will also use the results for their wind energy siting support tools.
Characterization of Montane Ecosystems, Their Microclimates, and Wildlife Distribution and Abundance Across the Hydrographic Great Basin
FY2013This project retrieves four years of data from over 200 temperature sensors nested within 28 sites across ~40 million hectares of the hydrographic Great Basin. The sensors span all major aspects and up to 700 m of elevation within sites, and occur in numerous management jurisdictions in 18 mountain ranges plus other areas not in ranges.This project: Quantifies the variability of climate at micro-, meso-, and macroscales across the Basin, and across diel, seasonal, and interannual periods. Informs management and conservation efforts, in terms of helping calibrate and refine the climatic stage upon which all biological actors and efforts hinge (Beier and Brost 2010). Feeds into other bioclimatic and wildlife...
Effects of Genotype and Management Treatments of Native and Invasive Herbs on Success of Sagebrush Restoration
FY2013The increase in large wildfires at a time when habitat for Greater Sage Grouse and other species dependent on big sagebrush has also increased has led to substantial needs for big sagebrush seeds. Significant decisions on which sagebrush seed to use and on management treatments that affect competing herb layers on the same restoration sites affect the trajectory of habitat.This project will evaluate how seed source, specifically genotype and climate-of-origin, interact with landscape-scale and replicated treatments (fencing, herbicide application, mowing, and seeding).
Effects of Treatments on the Connectivity and Fragmentation of Wildlife Populations across the Great Basin
FY2016This project will evaluate the effects of vegetation treatments on population connectivity, genetic diversity and gene flow of wildlife species across the full extent of the Great Basin LCC. The recently approved BLM and Forest Service Land Use Plan Amendments will implement millions of acres of treatments in support of greater sage-grouse conservation. It is essential to evaluate the potential benefits and risks of these treatments on the connectivity and fragmentation of the landscape for multiple non-target species. We will use a dynamic landscape model to simulate fire and treatments, allowing each to vary by type (e.g., juniper removal, prescribed fire), extent, and influence on vegetation and fuels....
FY2010In addition to regional Science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge projects that the Great Basin LCC (GBLCC) supports, GBLCC staff lend technical expertise to a range of projects and have contributed to important regional publications on a range of subjects. These publications range in type from textbooks, to management-oriented science and conservation plans, to scientific papers and have covered subjects like wind erosion following fire, soil microbiota response to drought, plant community resilience to invasive species, and alpine plant communities. In many cases these publications form foundations for scientifically-informed management strategies across the Great Basin.
FY2017Removal of livestock grazing is a common prescription to promote ecosystem recovery after wildfire (and subsequent emergency site rehabilitation efforts). Ecosystem recovery is typically considered from a terrestrial perspective, but wildfire and grazing can strongly influence aquatic ecosystems as well, especially smaller and fragmented stream networks, which are prevalent in the Great Basin (Minshall et al. 1989; Dunham et al. 2003; Luce et al. 2012). Understanding these influences is essential for managing fire and grazing. Examples include identifying timeframes for resuming livestock grazing following wildfire, and the interactions between livestock grazing, fuels, and recovery of stream-side...
Development of Tools and Technology to Improve the Success and Planning of Restoration of Big Sagebrush Ecosystems
FY2013Shrub-dominated ecosystems of the Great Basin are being threatened by disturbances, typically wildfire followed by encroachment of invasive plants (e.g., cheat grass). To mitigate these threats and future changes in the climate to big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), restorationists require a knowledge base and tools to inform them of the most appropriate seed sources to plant to greatly enhance the success of restoration under contemporary and future climates. We propose to develop climate-responsive seed transfer zones based on associating plant quantitative traits and ecophysiological data from common gardens to the climate of the seed source.
Using Resilience and Resistance Concepts to Develop a Strategic Approach for Managing Threats to Sagebrush Ecosystems and Greater Sage-Grouse in the Eastern Portion of the Range
FY2015Persistent ecosystem and anthropogenic disturbances and stressors are threatening sustainability of sagebrush ecosystems in the western US, and managers and policy makers are seeking strategic, holistic approaches for species conservation and ecosystem restoration. Recent research indicates that an understanding of ecosystem resilience to disturbance and resistance to nonnative invasive species can be used to prioritize management activities across large landscapes and determine the most appropriate actions at project scales. An interagency WAFWA working group has linked this understanding with breeding habitat probabilities for Greater and Gunnison sage-grouse, and developed a habitat decision matrix for...
FY2013Pion (Pinus spp.) and juniper (Juniperus spp.) (PJ) currently occupy approximately 19 million hectars in the Intermountain West. Prior to 1860, approximately 66% of what is now woodland occurred as sagebrush plant communities.This watershed scale project: Documents the impact of PJ treatments in formerly sagebrush steppe communities on understory vegetation composition, hydrologic function, and surface runoff and soil erosion at the landscape scale. Expands the snow monitoring component to understand snow dynamics and timing of plant phenology in cut and uncut treatments. Secures expertise to analyze existing datasets.
FY2017The Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy Actionable Science Plan places a high priority on assessing control measures for invasive annual grasses, which provide fuel for rangeland fire and impede restoration of desirable perennials. Weed-suppressive strains of the bacterium Psuedomonas fluoresens (P.f.) are an emerging but yet untested tool for selectively reducing these annual grasses. P.f. may suppress annuals for approximately 2-5 years, bridging the short-term action of herbicides and long-term resistance provided as native bunchgrasses recover. In 2015-2016, the USGS responded to a request from the Idaho sage grouse action group to establish a series of field-based experiments to assess the efficacy...