RESTORATION OF SAGE GROUSE HABITAT WITH NATIVES IN DOWNY BROME AND MEDUSAHEAD-INVESTED SITES AT SMOKE CREEK
Range and Meadow Forage Management Research
2011 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The overall objective is to develop and implement a comprehensive, regional Ecologically-based Invasive Plant Management (EBIPM) program to restore ecosystems threatened and dominated by cheatgrass/medusahead in Smoke Creek watershed and the Great Basin.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
University of California, Davis (UC-Davis) and USDA, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists will cooperate on a project to demonstrate the effectiveness of Plateau on the large scale control of downy brome and medusahead, and to determine its utility in sage grouse habitat restoration of desirable native species without the need for expensive re-seeding efforts. Secondly, to consider alternative methods of control with and without re-seeding efforts, and to determine the best seeding method when active restoration practices are necessary (refer to project proposal for more detailed information).
The goal of this project is to develop and implement a regional Ecologically-based Invasive Plant Management (EBIPM) program to restore ecosystems threatened and dominated by annual grasses in the Smoke Creek watershed which contributes directly to Subobjectives 1.1 and 1.3 of the Area-wide pest management project for annual grasses in the Great Basin. Three different experiments were conducted in Modoc County, California and the last data collection for these plots occurred in June 2011. In these experiments we were evaluating the control of downy brome and medusahead on a landscape scale by applying herbicides selectively so as not to damage desired perennial species.
One manuscript has been submitted to the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management and is in review. In this experiment, we tested the effect of low rates of glyphosate at 3 different treatments timings for medusahead control. The concept of this experiment was to determine if low rates glyphosate applied at key phenological stages of plant growth could provide adequate selectivity to native species while controlling the invasive annual grasses. Results show that medusahead cover and seed production decreased when glyphosate was applied at medusahead tillering (late April-early May). The optimum rate where medusahead was adequately controlled and desired species were not damaged was between 4-8 oz., depending on the year of application. These results offer a cost effective treatment for large scale medusahead infestations. Additional manuscripts are underway and will be completed when the final data is analyzed.
Effective outreach was held in this region with a workshop in Reno, Nevada on September 20, 2011 entitled “Cheatgrass and Medusahead Management.” This full day seminar was well attended with over 100 participants. Results of this research were presented as well as additional presentations on adopting EBIPM as a decision framework to manage invasive annual grasses. Posters of this research were presented at the Western Society of Weed Science annual meeting in Spokane, Washington March 2011, and at the Weed Science Society of America annual meeting in Portland, Oregon February 2011. All aspects of the project are within the timetable established in the proposal. Methods of project monitoring included meetings, e-mails, and phone calls.