Location: Great Basin Rangelands Research2009 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. Documents Reimbursable with Fish & Wildlife (USFWS). Log 36889. Formerly 5325-11220-005-10R (4/09).
3. Progress Report
During this fiscal year, we have implemented the first year’s restoration treatments at Rosaschi Ranch. Working with the USDA-NRCS Great Basin Plant Materials Center, we seeded 10 2.5 acre experimental plots with two seeding treatments. Half of each plot was then mulched and crimped. We installed a big gun sprinkler irrigation system and have been watering half of our experimental plots weekly. We hired a GS-7 technician using these soft funds and he has been the primary logistics person on the project. We have also hired a summer student worker on the project. We have set up gypsum block soil moisture sensors and wired them to a central datalogger. We also have soil temperature dataloggers and have been collecting data. We have collected cover, density and biomass data on 640 subplots in our treated plots. We have organized and conducted meetings with the partners: NRCS, USFS, USFWS, and ARS. We have also led tours for USFWS personnel. The ADODR monitored this project through meetings, emails and phone calls.