Location: Great Basin Rangelands Research2013 Annual Report
1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
The primary purpose is to construct the scientific foundation for the development of the theory and training in the use of Ecological Site Descriptions to enhance management and conservation of the nation’s rangelands. This intramural agreement directly supports objective 2 of our base project: Devise management guidelines, technologies, and practices for conserving and restoring Great Basin rangelands. The focus of the workshop is to bring together agency technical leadership across administrative levels to learn more about ecological sites and to develop the basic training materials and guidelines to transfer technology to the U.S. National Resources Conservation Service, Bureau of Land Management, and US Forest Service personnel on how to develop Ecological Site Descriptions for a transdisciplinary, multi-agency approach to ensure quality control and quality assurance when mapping Ecological Sites across the western United States.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Funds will be used to help develop educational material to train federal agency employees and private land managers on the science behind the development of Ecological Site Descriptions. This material will be published by the Society for Range Management. The funding will also be used to host workshops for rangeland management specialists in how to develop, interpret, and utilize Ecological Site Descriptions through onsite field work.
3. Progress Report:
This is the final report for this project which terminated on August 9, 2013. Over the last three years the ARS, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) developed and implemented a series of training courses on development and use of Ecological Site Descriptions. To date, eight workshops have been held, and over 350 state and federal agency staff have been trained on use of this new technology through June of 2013. The planning committee is evaluating the possibilities to extend this work through 2015. The planning committee has scheduled an additional four (4) regional workshops pending available funding in FY 2013 and 2014. Due to sequestration and reduction of funds in FY 2013 across the federal government, no on-site training will be implemented in FY 2013. Training will resume in FY 2014 as funding will permit. To provide a more efficient means of training, agency staff from the Society of Range Management (SRM), NRCS, BLM, and ARS will allocate funds to develop a series of webinars that can be viewed on demand by agency staff and hosted by the SRM. Although this will not completely replace the value of on-site training, it will provide the agencies a means of providing background material to staff. In addition, contact information of technical experts will be provided to employees if they have technical questions on how to conduct Rangeland Health and/or develop and use Ecological Site Descriptions. This agreement is related to objective 3 of the in-house project, "Develop and transfer innovative management approaches and technology for conserving and rehabilitating sagebrush, pinyon/juniper woodlands, and salt desert shrublands to meet natural resource and agricultural production goals". More specifically, to develop an integrated package of ground-based and remote sensing tools to quantify and assess the environmental impact of management decisions and conservation practices at hillslope and landscape scales in woodland, shrub-steppe, and desert ecosystems of the Great Basin.