1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Objective 1: Develop a new biological control tool to reduce the species performance of cheatgrass and medusahead on rangelands. (Component III, Protection of Natural Ecosystems Problem Statement IIIB, Terrestrial, Aquatic, and Wetland Weeds.) Objective 2: Working with cheatgrass and medusahead, develop new ecological principles that contribute to the basis of EBIPM by investigating the potential interactions among management approach selection, site availability, species availability, and species performance during restoration of cheatgrass and medusahead-dominated rangeland. (Component III, Protection of Natural Ecosystems Problem Statement IIIB, Terrestrial, Aquatic, and Wetland Weeds.) Objective 3: Validate the improved EBIPM framework for use in cheatgrass and medusahead-dominated or threatened ecosystems. (Component III, Protection of Natural Ecosystems Problem Statement IIIB, Terrestrial, Aquatic, and Wetland Weeds)
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
This research will build upon existing efforts to develop ecologically-based invasive weed management strategies. This research will test ecological theories that have potential to become principles that guide invasive plant management and develop those principles into methods for managing weeds. Part of this effort will focus on understanding the key species and grazing strategies that minimize medusahead invasion. Since herbicides are one of the few effective tools for medusahead, this research will attempt to define ecological and economic thresholds for applying them. Finally, the studies will test two novel approaches to restoring medusahead infested rangeland using current ecological theory to guide the implementation. Decision-support tools will be researched and developed to assist land managers in applying existing and new knowledge associated with medusahead in the Great Basin and Columbia Plateau.
3. Progress Report:
This is the first report for this new project which began July of 2015, and continues research from 2070-22000-004-00D, "Development of a Decision-support System for the Ecologically-based Management of Cheatgrass- and Medusahead-infested Rangeland". Please see the report for 2070-22000-004-00D for more information. This is a temporary bridging project. The project plan for the next five years, "A Systems Approach to Restoring Invaded Sagebrush Steppe", has just undergone peer panel review by the Office of Scientific Quality Review under National Program 304, Crop Protection and Quarantine. Once the new project plan is certified, which should be at the beginning of Fiscal Year 2016, research under the new plan will begin.