What We're Doing

Reported December 12, 2016

Nancy Glenn: Nancy Glenn and research associate Luke Spaete, with assistance from Kevin Feris (Biology) and Charlie Baun (Orchard Combat Training Center), recently organized the first-ever symposium of the Great Basin Research and Management Partnership's (GBRMP) Birds of Prey NCA Science Working Group. With an attendance of about 130, the event included 24 speakers and 30 posters.

The symposium showcased conservation-based projects associated with the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area. Topics included soils, vegetation, restoration, erosion control, wildfire/fuels, wildlife, cultural resources, technology use, land use management (military, recreation, livestock, etc.) climate change and more.

The emphasis of the symposium was outreach and education of the NCA restoration, resources and uses through short project summaries and interactions with local agencies, NGO, private corporations and the general public. The event targeted current and future conservation and restoration professionals and citizen scientists.

More information is available at: https://bcal.boisestate.edu/teaching/courses/NCASymposium2016.

Reported August 22, 2016

Matt Germino: We are working on understanding how to maintain and restore resistant and resilient sagebrush steppe ecosystems that provide the critical vegetation habitat needed by wildlife. Projects include developing and implementing a new post-fire monitoring approach for the 2015 Soda wildfire, assessing post-fire stability and specifically wind erosion, determining how choice of seed affects post-fire restoration success in species such as sagebrush and bluebunch wheatgrass, assessing the ecology of exotic annual grasses and other herbaceous invaders along with management options such as weed-suppressive bacteria, and studying plant responses to climate variation.

Mark Brunson: Working with Stu Hardegree and others on a rangeland weather decision support tool. Studying rangeland ecosystem services, how land managers perceive them and how that perception influences decisions.

Nancy Glenn: Organizing the first Morley Nelson Birds of Prey symposium at Boise State University, to be held 10 November 2016. This event will be a free, one day meeting to talk about on-going efforts via short talks and a poster session. Topics to be covered include soils, vegetation, restoration, erosion control, fire and fuels, resources, and uses. Registration is open now. September 15 is the deadline for submitting a poster or verbal presentation. See https://bcal.boisestate.edu/teaching/courses/NCASymposium2016 for more details and links to registration and abstract submission.

Keirith Synder: Working on a large collaborative project in the Porter Canyon Experimental Watershed on how tree removal affects hydrologic functions. Other projects include climate change and seeding mixes for post-fire restoration, a synthesis of riparian area management including a GIS component to map watersheds and make predictions, and developing an integrated model of groundwater and surface flows.

Stuart Hardegree: Working on a weather and climate tool using historical weather records and the Great Basin Fire Science Exchange to develop weather-centric restoration tools, including decision support for adaptive management that accounts for weather variability. The product will include educational modules originally aimed at graduate students but expanding to meet the needs of state and federal agencies. When ready for release, a link will be posted on the GBRMP website; the Fire Science Exchange will host the tool.

Louisa Evers: BLM as a whole deep into developing a science framework and action plan in connection with Secretarial Order 3336. Also in development are new manual and handbook direction at the Departmental level. BLM field offices are waiting for a series of instruction memoranda intended to bring consistency and direction on how to implement various aspects of the sage-grouse amendments and plan revisions. The Oregon/Washington State Office of BLM has funded weather and climate tool development based on interviews with field personnel in Oregon and Idaho; model development to predict which springs are more vulnerable to climate change; and contributed funding to a study intended to better understand the hydrology of Great Basin streams and climate change vulnerabilities. Lastly, the State Office is piloting a detailed process for conducting causal factor analyses for sage-grouse population areas in Oregon that have tripped triggers for habitat or population. The particular area selected for the pilot has tripped a hard trigger for population and has a local group sponsored by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for implementing the state of Oregon?s sage-grouse action plan.

Dave Bubenheim: The main project concerning the Great Basin is a study to make clear connections between remotely sensed land cover and land features such as recent erosion.