Location: Great Basin Rangelands Research2009 Annual Report
1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
Techniques for the revegetation of former agricultural lands will become more important as water rights are transferred from agriculture to other uses in the arid western U.S. The US Forest Service has acquired property with abandoned fields at Rosaschi Ranch on the East Walker River in the southern Great Basin. We will conduct factorial experiments testing the roles of (1) first-year irrigation, (2) seed mix functional diversity, and (3) alternative site preparation techniques in the establishment of native species on these abandoned agricultural fields. The experiments will take place over two years, and data collection will occur during years two through four of the project. Subsequently, a full-scale restoration plan for Rosaschi Ranch will be completed, incorporating applied research to maximize restoration success.
1b. Approach (from AD-416)
This project will use experimental restoration projects deployed in two initial years and monitored in years two through four to guide restoration planning and implementation on all bare agricultural fields at Rosaschi Ranch. These experimental projects will result in demonstration plots that could be used to: 1) illustrate the effectiveness of different seeding techniques and seed mixes; 2) ask research questions that will inform future efforts to restore agriculture lands; and 3) build support for the project by demonstrating success. Rigorous analysis of results from these experimental projects will allow for the design of a restoration plan for Rosaschi Ranch that will be successful over the long term. Research plots will examine major factors in a large-scale experimental design, and additional factors in a small-scale experimental design. Documents NFCA with Department of Interior Fish and Wildlife. Formerly 5325-11220-005-11N (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.