Virtual Field Tours
To learn more, visit http://ebipm.org/map/2012-ebipm-field-school-learning-fair and to register, download and fill out a registration form (PDF).
The EBIPM Team
If you didn’t get up to the Ecologically-based invasive plant management field tour in Elko a couple of weeks back – boy are you in luck! Just looking at the big Nevada sky, don’t you feel like you missed out? Organized by Kent McAdoo, Natural Resources Specialists with Univ. of Nevada Cooperative Extension, Kent has a whole lot going on up in Northern NV. You can see Kent talking up in the middle of the picture here – everyone is looking to where he is pointing. This plot is in some research that he has been conducted at the South Fork Stat Park, near Spring Creek. The treatments have been conducted to look at how to diversify a healthy monoculture of crested wheatgrass. Kent is probably saying something like “our plots do have a number of species that established including the yarrow and there is a sagebrush plant there in the middle of the plot, but the crested wheat rebounded from control efforts also”. Eleven different native species were seeded in these plots.
And how about them sagebrush? Just down the trail, another experiment where Kent and Co. are looking at transplanting Wyoming big sagebrush to increase seed source diversity. The plants in this plot were nursery stock transplanted in 2008, and looking quite healthy. The purpose in transplanting sagebrush into monocultures of crested wheat is to increase habitat for a variety of wildlife, not the least of which is sage grouse.
Here we are now, north of Elko quite a few miles – somewhere on the road out to Mountain City, Hwy 51. You can see a pretty good infestation of cheatgrass. Here Kent has a couple of different experiments established and I am sorry I did not adequately get a photo that shows the most promising result at this site which is a study that Kent and Earl Creech did (when Earl was the UNCE Weed Specialist, now with USU in Logan, UT), where they looked at low rates of glyphosate to control cheatgrass and release the perennial species. They found 6 oz. of glyphosate to adequately control the cheatgrass, yet not damage the desired perennial grasses or sagebrush.
For more information on Kent’s field tour, handouts are available to download:
- Evaluating Strategies for Increasing Plant Diversity in Crested Wheatgrass Seedings (PDF)
- Transplanting Wyoming Big Sagebrush to Increase Seed Source Diversity (PDF)
“It’s not what you know but what you do with what you know that makes the difference.”
I heard this quoted on New Year’s Day and it seemed a fitting beginning to embark on the 2009 season for the Area-wide project. Doesn’t this quote sum up exactly what will be either the thumbs up or thumbs down for the Area-wide project? There is a lot we do know about invasive annual grasses and there is a whole lot more we don’t know and are hoping to find out. What seems most important though is ‘what’ we do with the knowledge and the findings of the research over the course of the next few years. I am convinced that we do with this knowledge will determine the sustainability of invasive annual grass management using EBIPM methodology.
I know I don’t wish to spend the next 4 years developing materials that are going to sit on a shelf. I want to make sure what we put into motion is put into action. To get EBIPM knowledge out on the ground is going to take all of the great minds that have been assembled for the project working as a team. As we get started on a New Year I plan to pay particular attention to ‘what I do with what I know’ so that we can make a difference on our rangelands. I am always grateful to anyone when you are inclined to share your ideas to make the Area-wide project as helpful and useful to as many people as possible.
Charting a new course in the Great Basin, that is the intent of the Area-wide project. To actually make a change in the landscape and see a reduction of invasive annual grasses that have been gaining ground since the 1800’s. It is going to take a lot of creative thinking and research. Much of the work to be done is in our own minds – how to look at the challenges differently, how the tools available to us can be used in new and unique ways, are there new tools to be utilized? The word is thrown around too much but paradigm shifts of great magnitude are in order. One of the generally accepted ways to attend to weed management is to ask ‘How do we get rid of whatever particular species is considered the problem?’
It’s time to apply the power of positive thinking to weed management. So instead of looking to ‘get rid’ of the weeds – How about asking ‘What do we need to do to keep weed free land free of weeds?’ Resources need to start being put to landscapes and plant communities that are not currently infested with invasive annual grasses. Sure enough, you know it as well as the next person, medusahead and cheatgrass are not the last invasive species that are going to create havoc on the land. The old saying could never be truer than with invasive grasses – ‘Nature abhors a vacuum’ – if the space is not filled, something will come along to fill it. And, the next species may be worse that invasive grasses.We need to make this case stronger. Our jobs might primarily consist of what to do to manage cheatgrass or medusahead. But, it seems that the Area-wide project casts much farther than the problem. We have the opportunity to look at what’s right with the land that is not infested and take this information to determine what makes a landscape resistant to invasion? It all sounds positive to me.
Blog August 28, 2008
Have you ever thought as you are driving down the road, you know the road- the 2 lane, no shoulder, open range signs, an occasional cattle guard to jog your mind kind of road, that you might not exactly look at the country you are traveling through the same as many or even most folks? Those of us who care deeply of the Great Basin landscape relish seeing the many miles yet to travel (Ok, maybe not, particularly with the gas gauge moving ever so quickly to the left). Never the less, you can feel the energy of the earth in the Great Basin, and if you can’t feel it you sure enough can see it. I have had more than one friend and acquaintances tell me they couldn’t bear go through that country again – ‘there’s nothing to see’ they say. That statement in itself is what is so alluring about the Great Basin – the landscape tricks most people into thinking there is nothing to see but those in the know, know the complexities of the landscape and how much there really is going on out there.
I have always gone down those roads first thinking of the beauty and the energy of the land. But I find myself more so than ever before looking, scanning the land, compartmentalizing it – trying to determine what is it that makes an area resistant to annual grass invasion, looking for those healthy perennial grasses clumped in and among sagebrush stands. Scanning for patterns, asking myself “does medusahead gain a foothold in the draws or the south slope or north slope?” Looking for anything that might provide clues about how cheatgrass and medusahead gain ground. Trying to determine what it is about an area infested with annual grasses or if it is infested with annual grasses? All this at 75 mph, about as fast as my mind is churning with ideas for the landscape and how those of us who are involved in the area-wide project can make a positive impact on the Great Basin landscape.
In a way, I believe this is what we are faced with, our challenge in the next 5 years – to get more people to go down those roads and think what constitutes healthy rangeland, notice advancing invasions of cheatgrass and medusahead and care enough to get involved, or change their management practices and paradigms about the Great Basin. It’s all rather heady in the beginning, isn’t it? But what is going to matter is how we get down to business and get ecologically based management principles adopted on the ground. I know it’s going to take a lot of energy and I for one am going to find that energy in the land. EBIPM - It’s going to be the good news.