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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: AREAWIDE PEST MANAGEMENT PROGRAM FOR ANNUAL GRASSES IN THE GREAT BASIN ECOSYSTEM

Location: Range and Meadow Forage Management Research

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
1) Assess the extent and impacts of cheatgrass/medusahead and their management on ecosystems;.
2)Demonstrate state-of-the-art management strategies;.
3)Conduct research to overcome barriers to the project’s success, enhance the project, and fill information-gaps;.
4)Provide education and technology transfer to those managing land in the Great Basin; and.
5)Create decision-support products and tools that will have a sustained impact on managing cheatgrass/medusahead in the Great Basin and surrounding ecosystems into the future.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
We will achieve this objective by combining the principles and concepts of EBIPM with state-of-the-art site-specific management of cheatgrass and medusahead infested rangeland and apply these strategies in 2-3 key watersheds in California, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, and Utah.


3.Progress Report:
We implemented ecologically-based invasive plant management (EBIPM) practices and programs have been expanded throughout the Great Basin region in FY2012 as a result of numerous research, demonstration projects and technology transfer efforts to provide land managers and producers with a decision framework from which to make improved manage decisions for invasive annual grasses. A number of technology transfer events in FY2012 have led to the interest from public land managers on adopting EBIPM planning on over 4 million acres of public land. Recent large scale fires in the region continue to drive the importance of implementing a systematic framework from which to conduct successful rangeland management. Refereed journal articles published in FY 2012 have highlighted ecological processes hindering the establishment of desired rangeland plants when invasive annual grass infestations are present, that:.
1)weed prevention areas are essential to managing invasive plant infestations, 2)cost/benefit analysis for fuels treatments in annual grass infested lands,.
3)weather and climate considerations in an EBIPM framework,.
4)the role of historical disturbances in present day annual grass infestations, and.
5)improved cost saving strategies to manage annual grasses. Research findings continue to validate the EBIPM decision framework. Our current impacts continue to grow as EBIPM curriculums are available for high school and university level courses and are being adopted. Future land managers will have the background and knowledge to begin applying EBIPM, thus creating a legacy effect of the area-wide project. Technology transfer occurred through a number of education and outreach venues in FY 2012, including a symposium at a national conference and a number of workshops and field day demonstrations. The EBIPM website continues to attract more views (300-400/ month) and in FY 2012 we have had requests from 10 different countries for our decision support products. This long-term research project has yielded lasting impacts on the complicated pest management issues of western rangelands. The knowledge base has dramatically increased and technology transfer has been effective for major advances in improved invasive plant management.


4.Accomplishments
1. Systems management approach implemented on rangeland. Effective technology transfer results in a systems approach to rangeland management is being implemented on 4 million acres of western rangeland. ARS scientists in Burns, Oregon, Boise, Idaho, Logan, Utah, and University collaborators with the Area-wide project have implemented ecologically-based invasive plant management (EBIPM) programs with public and private land managers in the Great Basin region. The most positive overall impact is strengthened rural economies by improved rangeland health. One of the key outcomes is an increase in forage production and wildlife habitat.

2. Improvements in desired rangeland plant establishment. Research has increased knowledge to manage desired rangeland plant establishment in invasive plant infestations. This improvement validates and informs the ecologically-based invasive plant management (EBIPM) framework. ARS researchers in Burns, Oregon, Boise, Idaho, and Logan, Utah, have made advancements which include understanding growth dynamics of invasive annual grasses relative to desired perennial plants, germination barriers to seedling establishment, and growth rates of annual grasses vs. perennial grasses under high and low soil nitrogen availability. These advances benefit our ability to develop ecological principles that are the basis from which land managers can make management decisions. As the EBIPM framework improves with this research, the resulting impact is that additional land managers are adopting EBIPM to manage invasive grasses.

3. Curriculum developed in rangeland management. Students in rangeland management have been trained in ecologically-based invasive plant management (EBIPM) concepts as a result of a newly developed curriculum. Area-wide researchers in Burns, Oregon, have worked with university partners to develop on-line curricula for high school and university courses. Evidence of instructors adopting EBIPM curriculum modules provides future land managers with the tools to begin adopting EBIPM once they begin their careers. The impact of having the curriculum adopted is that EBIPM will continue to be used for more effective management well into the future.

4. One-pass system to manage invasive annual grasses. A cost effective, one-pass system, has been demonstrated as a viable method to manage invasive annual grasses. ARS scientists in Burns, Oregon, working with five private cattle producers have demonstrated that using a "one-pass system" provided control of medusahead and successful establishment of desired perennial grasses two years after application. The one-pass system is a simultaneous herbicide application and seeding operation. The impact is that small plot research was successfully scaled up and this management practice provides a cost-effective alternative for producers.

5. Guide books assist land managers to adopt systems approach. The ecologically-based invasive plant management (EBIPM) decision-support guide books have increased land managers success in managing invasive plants. ARS scientists in Burns, Oregon, Boise, Idaho, and Logan, Utah, have continued the development of additional EBIPM decision support guide books designed to provide land managers the step-by-step details to adopting management strategies. Since January 2012, requests of 850 guide books have been delivered to land managers. The ultimate benefits are improved invasive annual grass management and rangeland productivity.


Review Publications
Morris, L.R., Monaco, T.A., Sheley, R.L. 2011. Land-use legacies and recovery from dry farming in sagebrush ecosystems of the Great Basin, USA. Ecological Applications. DOI: 10.2111/REM-D-10-00147.1.

Monaco, T.A., Sheley, R.L. 2012. In: Monaco, T.A. and Sheley, R.L. (eds.) Invasive plant ecology and management: Linking processes to practice. CABI Publishing: Wallingford, UK. p. xi-xii.

Last Modified: 9/1/2014
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