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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Weather data and forecasting applications for management of ecological site transitions

Location: Watershed Management Research

Project Number: 2052-13610-011-12-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2012
End Date: Aug 31, 2016

1) Consolidation of a regional database of historical meteorological information in support of adaptive-management planning and validation of forecast-modeling applications. 2) Development and validation of a seasonal forecasting tool for rangeland restoration planning. 3) Determination of climatic thresholds for successful rangeland seeding practices using historical weather data and BLM seeding records contained in the USGS Landscape Treatment Digital Library. 4) Determination of weather and climatic thresholds for soil stability and wind erosion for different vegetation states and previous and current planting treatments. 5) Supplementation of Ecological Site Descriptions with restoration-specific climatological, weather and soil stability information, for adaptive management planning. 6) Identification of strategies to facilitate adoption of weather-centric management and forecasting strategies by land management agencies and professional restoration planners.

The current suite of Global Circulation Model (GCM) scenarios utilized by the NOAA Climate Prediction Center (CPC) will be evaluated for their individual utility in predicting seasonal probability of exceedence values (PoE) for temperature and precipitation across a regional selection of meteorological sites in the western US. Seasonal predictions will be customized for traditional rangeland seeding seasons for weather estimation during critical seasons for establishment in the first year after planting. In the Great Basin region, most post-fire and restoration seeding occurs in mid to late fall (October-November). Predictive accuracy of GCM model output will be evaluated for subsequent winter (soil moisture storage at deeper soil layers),spring (critical for seedling establishment and near-surface microclimate) and summer (potential for juvenile seedling survival). PoE information will be converted to stochastic weather scenarios and seedbed modeling used to conduct sensitivity analysis on the degree to which forecast conditions need to exceed climate norms in order to justify forecast-induced changes in management. Land management and restoration professionals in BLM and NRCS will be included in the management team evaluating the utility of forecast tools, and manager surveys conducted to evaluate current barriers to use of active weather information in real-time management, and design decision support systems that can be used for effective technology transfer. Specific additional weather tools to be developed include a weather supplement that can be linked to specific Ecological Site Descriptions, and guidance for use of weather data in adaptive management planning for inclusion in revised NRCS conservation practice standards for rangeland seeding.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
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