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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Reno, Nevada » Great Basin Rangelands Research » Research » Research Project #427327

Research Project: Monitoring Design for Plant and Soil Recovery after Fire and Rehabilitation Treatments

Location: Great Basin Rangelands Research

Project Number: 2060-13610-002-05-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2014
End Date: Aug 15, 2019

Objective:
Current post-fire rehabilitation monitoring by the BLM includes sound methods to measure vegetation recovery; however, there are no developed methods to measure soil recovery and monitoring design is often lacking. Thus, there is a need to improve existing BLM monitoring and develop additional protocols for monitoring soil. The ARS will provide technical and subject matter expertise to assist BLM staff with improved experimental monitoring design, data collection, data analysis, and report/publication writing, to better inform and promote land management decisions in the Great Basin and Mojave deserts in eastern Nevada. This includes 1) developing and sharing knowledge on how to appropriately establish monitoring sites across landscapes, and 2) developing and sharing knowledge on appropriate soil measurements in addition to current plant measurements after fire and rehabilitation treatments.

Approach:
Black Fire Monitoring The ARS will advise on and assist with treatment effectiveness and fire effects monitoring of the 2013 Black Fire including but not limited to: identification of key areas, identification of key monitoring questions, sampling design development, data collection, weather and soils instrument setup and readout, data analysis, report writing, and dissemination of findings. ARS will develop and implement the monitoring design for the 2013 Black Fire, collect soil and vegetation data using BLM AIM or other BLM approved monitoring protocols, collect data on effects of fire on wind and water erosion, analyze collected data, and assist with documenting and reporting findings. Prior to the field season, the ARS will provide a draft fieldwork schedule. The ARS will define locations for new treatment and control plots/sampling sites. The ARS will collect UTM location, slope, aspect, soils, and probable ecological site, as well as create field maps. A set of digital photographs will be taken for each established plot. The ARS will monitor log erosion barrier/contour felling, heli-mulching and straw bale check dam treatments for soil movement. In addition, the ARS will monitor the effects of fire on wind and water erosion. The ARS will install soil monitoring equipment in FY14 and treatments will first be monitored in FY15. The ARS will establish weather and soil data collection stations interfaced with a data logger at appropriate locations. The ARS will provide qualitative assessments of treatment effectiveness in the form of general photos and written descriptions. The ARS will also produce statistical comparisons of treatment and control plots or burned versus unburned plots. In addition, the ARS will collaborate with BLM to publish monitoring findings when and where appropriate. 2015 Monitoring Based on lessons gleaned from the Black Fire, the ARS will provide recommendations for 2015 monitoring protocols/methods to effectively measure treatment success for the 2013 Black, 2013 8-Mile and 2013 Gregerson Fires. Recommendations will include a proposed budget for 2015 monitoring.