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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Boise, Idaho » Watershed Management Research » Research » Research Project #428513

Research Project: NFCA between USDA Agriculture Research Service, Howard Ranches, and Bureau of Land Management

Location: Watershed Management Research

Project Number: 2052-13610-013-04-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 27, 2015
End Date: Jul 26, 2020

Objective:
HILF livestock grazing management will be studied to determine the viability of using this grazing system to reduce the competitive impacts of cheatgrass on perennial plants, thus lessening or reversing the loss of desirable perennial grasses, while also decreasing fine-fuel loading.

Approach:
BLM is collaborating with ARS, and Howard Ranches to develop and implement a Pilot Study of High Intensity Low Frequency (HILF) Grazing to be implemented within existing NEPA and terms and conditions of the existing grazing permits. The HILF study will take into consideration climate variations, insect infestations, and fire. Range readiness criteria and post-grazing biomass retention will be observed throughout the study to minimize potential for impacts to the soil resource. In the event of a drought (less than 60% of average annual precipitation), available AUMs in control pastures will be reduced commensurate with adjacent allotments to minimize stressing perennial plants. AUMs in treatment pastures will reduce by the project design criteria (animal behavior). In the event of a wildfire within the study area, the burned portion will be rested until grazing resumption objectives are met as described in the rehabilitation plan. If monitoring data indicates an obvious downward trend in rangeland health is occurring, the study will be concluded and grazing will be administered in accordance with the existing permit.