2011 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Determine optimal technique and irrigation protocol for the establishment of native plant species on a site that was formerly used for irrigated agriculture.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
At Rosaschi Ranch, on the East Walker River, we will use experiments to determine optimal restoration protocols for restoring sagebrush shrublands on formerly irrigated fields. The design will compare levels of irrigation, mulching, and alternative seed mixes, incorporating two levels of functional diversity. Irrigation will be the main plot factor, and the mulching X seeding treatment will be the split plot factor. There will be 5 replications of each treatment combination. Ten separate study plots, 1.5 acres in size, will be established. Five will be irrigated and 5 will serve as controls for the irrigation treatment. Each study plot will be subdivided into seeding/mulching treatments in a split plot design with two levels of mulching (mulch, control) and two levels of seeding (high diversity, low diversity). Soil moisture monitoring will determine the extent of irrigation, which will take place as needed (depending on precipitation patterns) in the early part of each growing season. Research plots will be installed in 2008 and 2009 and irrigated in 2009 and 2010. Data collection will continue through 2012. Density plots will be established at random intervals along transects in each experimental block, and emergence and survival of seeded species will be response variables.
This research is in support of Objective 2 of the in-house project, “Devise management guidelines, technologies, and practices for conserving and restoring Great Basin rangelands”. The experiment is in its third and final year of irrigation and vegetation sampling. Collaborators on the project include US Department of Interior (USDI) Fish and Wildlife Service, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), USDA Forest Service (USFS) Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS), USDA Forest Service (USFS), Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest (Memorandum of Understanding #08-IA-11041701-065). All collaborators attended a meeting in Carson City, Nevada in February 2011, where the USDA ARS and USFS RMRS presented their preliminary restoration guidelines report. A field trip was held on April 24, 2011 with USDA ARS, NRCS, and USFS RMRS to discuss the final restoration plan. A field day was held on June 23, 2011 with all collaborators where recommendations were agreed upon for the final restoration plan which will be produced in 2012. A manuscript is in preparation detailing the experimental results.