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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Reno, Nevada » Great Basin Rangelands Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #413917

Research Project: System-based Management and Rehabilitation of Rangelands

Location: Great Basin Rangelands Research

Title: Integrated cheatgrass control from herbicides to perennial restoration seeding

item Harmon, Daniel - Dan
item Clements, Darin - Charlie

Submitted to: Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition (ENLC)
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/5/2023
Publication Date: 1/18/2024
Citation: Harmon, D.N., Clements, D.D. 2024. Integrated cheatgrass control from herbicides to perennial restoration seeding. Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition (ENLC). 24:4.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: As exotic annual grass dominance expands in the Great Basin, native plant communities are increasingly at risk. Recent estimates find more than an 8-fold increase in annual grass dominated habitat, about 1/5th (19 million acres) of the Great Basin over the past decades. It is critically important to restore the lost native perennial plant component of plant communities. While the challenge of restoring the overwhelming area of loss through seeding efforts can seem improbable at times, it is desperately needed for wildlife and livestock where natural resources are severely lacking. We present a history of our (USDA-ARS Great Basin Rangelands Research Unit) seeding research efforts and provide examples of successful native plant establishment. Native plant restoration can be extremely challenging in the degraded arid Wyoming sagebrush lower elevations of northern Nevada, which makes choosing the best plant materials and methods critically important. We present research driven opportunities to maximize seeding success in combination with weed control efforts. Based on our observations of 33 seeding trials over a five year period (2016-2021) at five sites in northern Nevada, we found that native seed mixes were successful 33% of the time, which was lower than traditional “workhorse” introduced species establishment (successful: 64% of the time). Through our field seeding research trials we demonstrate the potential to restore native plants to annual grass dominated landscapes. Further research is needed to increase the rate of success establishing native plant materials.