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Sample records for lemmiscus curtatus sagebrush

  1. Banking Wyoming big sagebrush seeds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robert P. Karrfalt; Nancy Shaw

    2013-01-01

    Five commercially produced seed lots of Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. var. wyomingensis (Beetle & Young) S.L. Welsh [Asteraceae]) were stored under various conditions for 5 y. Purity, moisture content as measured by equilibrium relative humidity, and storage temperature were all important factors to successful seed storage. Our results indicate...

  2. Sagebrush ecosystems: current status and trends.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beever, E.A.; Connelly, J.W.; Knick, S.T.; Schroeder, M.A.; Stiver, S. J.

    2004-01-01

    The sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) biome has changed since settlement by Europeans. The current distribution, composition and dynamics, and disturbance regimes of sagebrush ecosystems have been altered by interactions among disturbance, land use, and invasion of exotic plants. In this chapter, we present the dominant factors that have influenced habitats across the sagebrush biome. Using a large-scale analysis, we identified regional changes and patterns in “natural disturbance”, invasive exotic species, and influences of land use in sagebrush systems. Number of fires and total area burned has increased since 1980 across much of the sagebrush biome. Juniper (Juniperus spp.) and pinyon (Pinus spp.) woodlands have expanded into sagebrush habitats at higher elevations. Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum), an exotic annual grass, has invaded much of lower elevation, more xeric sagebrush landscapes across the western portion of the biome. Consequently, synergistic feedbacks between habitats and disturbance (natural and human-caused) have altered disturbance regimes, plant community dynamics and contributed to loss of sagebrush habitats and change in plant communities. Habitat conversion to agriculture has occurred in the highly productive regions of the sagebrush biome and influenced up to 56% of the Conservation Assessment area. Similarly, urban areas, and road, railroad, and powerline networks fragment habitats, facilitate predator movements, and provide corridors for spread of exotic species across the entire sagebrush biome. Livestock grazing has altered sagebrush habitats; the effects of overgrazing combined with drought on plant communities in the late 1880s and early 1900s still influences current habitats. Management of livestock grazing has influenced sagebrush ecosystems by habitat treatments to increase forage and reduce sagebrush and other plant species unpalatable to livestock. Fences, roads, and water developments to manage livestock movements have further

  3. Dinámica temporal en la relación entre el isópodo parásito Aporobopyrus curtatus (Crustacea: Isopoda: Bopyridae y el cangrejo anomuro Petrolisthes armatus (Crustacea: Decapoda: Porcellanidae en el sur de Brasil Temporal dynamic of the relationship between the parasitic isopod Aporobopyrus curtatus (Crustacea: Isopoda: Bopyridae and the anomuran crab Petrolisthes armatus (Crustacea: Decapoda: Porcellanidae in southern Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ivana Miranda

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available The prevalence of the parasite Aporobopyrus curtatus in Petrolisthes armatus from southern Brazil was determined, and the effect the parasite had on host reproduction was evaluated. Of all 775 crabs sampled in Araçá region from March 2005 to July 2006, 3.2% presented bopyrid parasites. All the parasitized individuals had one branchial chamber occupied by two mature parasites, with no preference for the right or left chamber. Male and female hosts were infested in equal proportions. Parasitized juveniles, large individuals and ovigerous females were not found in our study. The absence of parasitized ovigerous females seems to be insufficient evidence to support the hypothesis of parasitic castration and would require a histological study to confirm their reproductive death. The percentage of infestation observed in our study (3.1% is lower than the one found in other studies and it could indicate the existence of factor(s regulating the density of A. curtatus in the Araçá region. At least in this population, the low but constant presence of the bopyrid A. curtatus population did not appear to have a negative effect on the porcellanid population, and parasitized individuals did not play a significant role in the natural history of P. armatus.Se determinó la prevalencia del parásito Aporobopyrus curtatus en Petrolisthes armatus en el sur de Brasil y se evaluó el efecto de su presencia en la reproducción de su huésped. De marzo de 2005 a julio de 2007 se muestreó en la Región de Araçá un total de 775 cangrejos, de los cuales el 3,2% presentó bopíridos parásitos. Todos los individuos parasitados presentaron una cámara branquial ocupada por dos parásitos maduros, sin preferencia por la cámara derecha o izquierda. Machos y hembras hospedadores fueron infectados en la misma proporción. La ausencia de parásitos en hembras ovígeras no es evidencia suficiente para apoyar la hipótesis de castración parasítica, y se necesita un

  4. Big and black sagebrush landscapes [Chapter 5

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    Stanley G. Kitchen; E. Durant McArthur

    2007-01-01

    Perhaps no plant evokes a common vision of the semi-arid landscapes of western North America as do the sagebrushes. A collective term, sagebrush is applied to shrubby members of the mostly herbaceous genus, Artemisia L. More precisely, the moniker is usually restricted to members of subgenus Tridentatae, a collection of some 20 woody taxa endemic to North America (...

  5. Sagebrush-ungulate relationships on the Northern Yellowstone Winter Range

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    Carl L. Wambolt

    2005-01-01

    Sagebrush (Artemisia) taxa have historically been the landscape dominants over much of the Northern Yellowstone Winter Range (NYWR). Their importance to the unnaturally large ungulate populations on the NYWR throughout the twentieth century has been recognized since the 1920s. Sagebrush-herbivore ecology has been the focus of research on the NYWR for...

  6. Effect of fungicides on Wyoming big sagebrush seed germination

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    Robert D. Cox; Lance H. Kosberg; Nancy L. Shaw; Stuart P. Hardegree

    2011-01-01

    Germination tests of Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. wyomingensis Beetle & Young [Asteraceae]) seeds often exhibit fungal contamination, but the use of fungicides should be avoided because fungicides may artificially inhibit germination. We tested the effect of seed-applied fungicides on germination of Wyoming big sagebrush at 2 different...

  7. Seed bank and big sagebrush plant community composition in a range margin for big sagebrush

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martyn, Trace E.; Bradford, John B.; Schlaepfer, Daniel R.; Burke, Ingrid C.; Laurenroth, William K.

    2016-01-01

    The potential influence of seed bank composition on range shifts of species due to climate change is unclear. Seed banks can provide a means of both species persistence in an area and local range expansion in the case of increasing habitat suitability, as may occur under future climate change. However, a mismatch between the seed bank and the established plant community may represent an obstacle to persistence and expansion. In big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) plant communities in Montana, USA, we compared the seed bank to the established plant community. There was less than a 20% similarity in the relative abundance of species between the established plant community and the seed bank. This difference was primarily driven by an overrepresentation of native annual forbs and an underrepresentation of big sagebrush in the seed bank compared to the established plant community. Even though we expect an increase in habitat suitability for big sagebrush under future climate conditions at our sites, the current mismatch between the plant community and the seed bank could impede big sagebrush range expansion into increasingly suitable habitat in the future.

  8. Multiscale sagebrush rangeland habitat modeling in southwest Wyoming

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    Homer, Collin G.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Meyer, Debra K.; Coan, Michael J.; Bowen, Zachary H.

    2009-01-01

    Sagebrush-steppe ecosystems in North America have experienced dramatic elimination and degradation since European settlement. As a result, sagebrush-steppe dependent species have experienced drastic range contractions and population declines. Coordinated ecosystem-wide research, integrated with monitoring and management activities, would improve the ability to maintain existing sagebrush habitats. However, current data only identify resource availability locally, with rigorous spatial tools and models that accurately model and map sagebrush habitats over large areas still unavailable. Here we report on an effort to produce a rigorous large-area sagebrush-habitat classification and inventory with statistically validated products and estimates of precision in the State of Wyoming. This research employs a combination of significant new tools, including (1) modeling sagebrush rangeland as a series of independent continuous field components that can be combined and customized by any user at multiple spatial scales; (2) collecting ground-measured plot data on 2.4-meter imagery in the same season the satellite imagery is acquired; (3) effective modeling of ground-measured data on 2.4-meter imagery to maximize subsequent extrapolation; (4) acquiring multiple seasons (spring, summer, and fall) of an additional two spatial scales of imagery (30 meter and 56 meter) for optimal large-area modeling; (5) using regression tree classification technology that optimizes data mining of multiple image dates, ratios, and bands with ancillary data to extrapolate ground training data to coarser resolution sensors; and (6) employing rigorous accuracy assessment of model predictions to enable users to understand the inherent uncertainties. First-phase results modeled eight rangeland components (four primary targets and four secondary targets) as continuous field predictions. The primary targets included percent bare ground, percent herbaceousness, percent shrub, and percent litter. The

  9. Remote sensing of sagebrush canopy nitrogen

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mitchell, Jessica J.; Glenn, Nancy F.; Sankey, Temuulen T.; Derryberry, DeWayne R.; Germino, Matthew J.

    2012-01-01

    This paper presents a combination of techniques suitable for remotely sensing foliar Nitrogen (N) in semiarid shrublands – a capability that would significantly improve our limited understanding of vegetation functionality in dryland ecosystems. The ability to estimate foliar N distributions across arid and semi-arid environments could help answer process-driven questions related to topics such as controls on canopy photosynthesis, the influence of N on carbon cycling behavior, nutrient pulse dynamics, and post-fire recovery. Our study determined that further exploration into estimating sagebrush canopy N concentrations from an airborne platform is warranted, despite remote sensing challenges inherent to open canopy systems. Hyperspectral data transformed using standard derivative analysis were capable of quantifying sagebrush canopy N concentrations using partial least squares (PLS) regression with an R2 value of 0.72 and an R2 predicted value of 0.42 (n = 35). Subsetting the dataset to minimize the influence of bare ground (n = 19) increased R2 to 0.95 (R2 predicted = 0.56). Ground-based estimates of canopy N using leaf mass per unit area measurements (LMA) yielded consistently better model fits than ground-based estimates of canopy N using cover and height measurements. The LMA approach is likely a method that could be extended to other semiarid shrublands. Overall, the results of this study are encouraging for future landscape scale N estimates and represent an important step in addressing the confounding influence of bare ground, which we found to be a major influence on predictions of sagebrush canopy N from an airborne platform.

  10. Investigating Seed Longevity of Big Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wijayratne, Upekala C.; Pyke, David A.

    2009-01-01

    The Intermountain West is dominated by big sagebrush communities (Artemisia tridentata subspecies) that provide habitat and forage for wildlife, prevent erosion, and are economically important to recreation and livestock industries. The two most prominent subspecies of big sagebrush in this region are Wyoming big sagebrush (A. t. ssp. wyomingensis) and mountain big sagebrush (A. t. ssp. vaseyana). Increased understanding of seed bank dynamics will assist with sustainable management and persistence of sagebrush communities. For example, mountain big sagebrush may be subjected to shorter fire return intervals and prescribed fire is a tool used often to rejuvenate stands and reduce tree (Juniperus sp. or Pinus sp.) encroachment into these communities. A persistent seed bank for mountain big sagebrush would be advantageous under these circumstances. Laboratory germination trials indicate that seed dormancy in big sagebrush may be habitat-specific, with collections from colder sites being more dormant. Our objective was to investigate seed longevity of both subspecies by evaluating viability of seeds in the field with a seed retrieval experiment and sampling for seeds in situ. We chose six study sites for each subspecies. These sites were dispersed across eastern Oregon, southern Idaho, northwestern Utah, and eastern Nevada. Ninety-six polyester mesh bags, each containing 100 seeds of a subspecies, were placed at each site during November 2006. Seed bags were placed in three locations: (1) at the soil surface above litter, (2) on the soil surface beneath litter, and (3) 3 cm below the soil surface to determine whether dormancy is affected by continued darkness or environmental conditions. Subsets of seeds were examined in April and November in both 2007 and 2008 to determine seed viability dynamics. Seed bank samples were taken at each site, separated into litter and soil fractions, and assessed for number of germinable seeds in a greenhouse. Community composition data

  11. Ecological influence and pathways of land use in sagebrush

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    Knick, Steven T.; Hanser, Steven E.; Miller, Richard F.; Pyke, David A.; Wisdom, Michael J.; Finn, Sean P.; Rinkes, E. Thomas; Henny, Charles J.; Knick, Steven T.; Connelly, John W.

    2011-01-01

    Land use in sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) landscapes influences all sage-grouse (Centrocer-cus spp.) populations in western North America. Croplands and the network of irrigation canals cover 230,000 km2 and indirectly influence up to 77% of the Sage-Grouse Conservation Area and 73% of sagebrush land cover by subsidizing synanthropic predators on sage-grouse. Urbanization and the demands of human population growth have created an extensive network of con-necting infrastructure that is expanding its influence on sagebrush landscapes. Over 2,500 km2 are now covered by interstate highways and paved roads; when secondary roads are included, 15% of the Sage-Grouse Conservation Area and 5% of existing sagebrush habitats are 2.5 km from roads. Density of secondary roads often exceeds 5 km/km2, resulting in widespread motorized access for recreation, creating extensive travel corridors for management actions and resource development, subsidizing predators adapted to human presence, and facilitating spread of exotic or invasive plants. Sagebrush lands also are being used for their wilderness and recreation values, including off highway vehicle use. Approximately 12,000,000 animal use months (AUM amount of forage to support one livestock unit per month) are permitted for grazing livestock on public lands in the western states. Direct effects of grazing on sage-grouse populations or sagebrush landscapes are not possible to assess from current data. However, management of lands grazed by livestock has influenced sagebrush ecosystems by vegetation treatments to increase forage and reduce sagebrush and other plant species unpalatable to livestock. Fences (2 km/km2 in some regions), roads, and water developments to manage livestock movements further modify the landscape. Oil and gas development influences 8% of the sagebrush habitats with the highest intensities occurring in the eastern range of sage-grouse; 20% of the sagebrush distribution is indirectly influenced in the Great

  12. Natural regeneration processes in big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)

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    Schlaepfer, Daniel R.; Lauenroth, William K.; Bradford, John B.

    2014-01-01

    Big sagebrush, Artemisia tridentata Nuttall (Asteraceae), is the dominant plant species of large portions of semiarid western North America. However, much of historical big sagebrush vegetation has been removed or modified. Thus, regeneration is recognized as an important component for land management. Limited knowledge about key regeneration processes, however, represents an obstacle to identifying successful management practices and to gaining greater insight into the consequences of increasing disturbance frequency and global change. Therefore, our objective is to synthesize knowledge about natural big sagebrush regeneration. We identified and characterized the controls of big sagebrush seed production, germination, and establishment. The largest knowledge gaps and associated research needs include quiescence and dormancy of embryos and seedlings; variation in seed production and germination percentages; wet-thermal time model of germination; responses to frost events (including freezing/thawing of soils), CO2 concentration, and nutrients in combination with water availability; suitability of microsite vs. site conditions; competitive ability as well as seedling growth responses; and differences among subspecies and ecoregions. Potential impacts of climate change on big sagebrush regeneration could include that temperature increases may not have a large direct influence on regeneration due to the broad temperature optimum for regeneration, whereas indirect effects could include selection for populations with less stringent seed dormancy. Drier conditions will have direct negative effects on germination and seedling survival and could also lead to lighter seeds, which lowers germination success further. The short seed dispersal distance of big sagebrush may limit its tracking of suitable climate; whereas, the low competitive ability of big sagebrush seedlings may limit successful competition with species that track climate. An improved understanding of the

  13. Evaluating a seed technology for sagebrush restoration across an elevation gradient: support for bet hedging

    Science.gov (United States)

    Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) restoration is needed across vast areas, especially after large wildfires, to restore important ecosystem services. Sagebrush restoration success is inconsistent with a high rate of seeding failures, particularly at lower elevations. Seed enhancement tech...

  14. 76 FR 62087 - Draft Conservation Plan and Draft Environmental Assessment; Dunes Sagebrush Lizard, Texas

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-10-06

    ...] Draft Conservation Plan and Draft Environmental Assessment; Dunes Sagebrush Lizard, Texas AGENCY: Fish... draft Texas Conservation Plan for the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard (TCP). The draft TCP will function as a... the Applicant for the dunes sagebrush lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus) throughout its range in Texas...

  15. Influence of container size on Wyoming big sagebrush seedling morphology and cold hardiness

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kayla R. Herriman; Anthony S. Davis; R. Kasten Dumroese

    2009-01-01

    Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) is a key component of sagebrush steppe ecosystems and is a dominant shrub throughout the western United States. Our objective was to identify the effect of container size on plant morphology of Wyoming big sagebrush. We used three different stocktypes (45/340 ml [20 in3], 60/250 ml [15 in3], 112/105 ml [6....

  16. 76 FR 19304 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Endangered Status for Dunes Sagebrush Lizard

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-04-07

    ... for Dunes Sagebrush Lizard AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Proposed rule... list the dunes sagebrush lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as... dunes sagebrush lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus) that was published in the Federal Register on December 14...

  17. The economics of fuel management: Wildfire, invasive plants, and the dynamics of sagebrush rangelands in the western United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Michael H. Taylor; Kimberly Rollins; Mimako Kobayashi; Robin J. Tausch

    2013-01-01

    In this article we develop a simulation model to evaluate the economic efficiency of fuel treatments and apply it to two sagebrush ecosystems in the Great Basin of the western United States: the Wyoming Sagebrush Steppe and Mountain Big Sagebrush ecosystems. These ecosystems face the two most prominent concerns in sagebrush ecosystems relative to wildfire: annual grass...

  18. Restoration of mountain big sagebrush steppe following prescribed burning to control western juniper.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davies, K W; Bates, J D; Madsen, M D; Nafus, A M

    2014-05-01

    Western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis ssp. occidentalis Hook) encroachment into mountain big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata spp. vaseyana (Rydb.) Beetle) steppe has reduced livestock forage production, increased erosion risk, and degraded sagebrush-associated wildlife habitat. Western juniper has been successfully controlled with partial cutting followed by prescribed burning the next fall, but the herbaceous understory and sagebrush may be slow to recover. We evaluated the effectiveness of seeding perennial herbaceous vegetation and sagebrush at five sites where juniper was controlled by partially cutting and prescribed burning. Treatments tested at each site included an unseeded control, herbaceous seed mix (aerially seeded), and the herbaceous seed mix plus sagebrush seed. In the third year post-treatment, perennial grass cover and density were twice as high in plots receiving the herbaceous seed mix compared to the control plots. Sagebrush cover and density in the sagebrush seeded plots were between 74- and 290-fold and 62- and 155-fold greater than the other treatments. By the third year after treatment, sagebrush cover was as high as 12 % in the sagebrush seeded plots and between 0 % and 0.4 % where it was not seeded. These results indicate that aerial seeding perennial herbaceous vegetation can accelerate the recovery of perennial grasses which likely stabilize the site. Our results also suggest that seeding mountain big sagebrush after prescribed burning encroaching juniper can rapidly recover sagebrush cover and density. In areas where sagebrush habitat is limited, seeding sagebrush after juniper control may increase sagebrush habitat and decrease the risks to sagebrush-associated species.

  19. Vegetation responses to sagebrush-reduction treatments measured by satellites

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    Johnston, Aaron; Beever, Erik; Merkle, Jerod A.; Chong, Geneva W.

    2018-01-01

    Time series of vegetative indices derived from satellite imagery constitute tools to measure ecological effects of natural and management-induced disturbances to ecosystems. Over the past century, sagebrush-reduction treatments have been applied widely throughout western North America to increase herbaceous vegetation for livestock and wildlife. We used indices from satellite imagery to 1) quantify effects of prescribed-fire, herbicide, and mechanical treatments on vegetative cover, productivity, and phenology, and 2) describe how vegetation changed over time following these treatments. We hypothesized that treatments would increase herbaceous cover and accordingly shift phenologies towards those typical of grass-dominated systems. We expected prescribed burns would lead to the greatest and most-prolonged effects on vegetative cover and phenology, followed by herbicide and mechanical treatments. Treatments appeared to increase herbaceous cover and productivity, which coincided with signs of earlier senescence − signals expected of grass-dominated systems, relative to sagebrush-dominated systems. Spatial heterogeneity for most phenometrics was lower in treated areas relative to controls, which suggested treatment-induced homogenization of vegetative communities. Phenometrics that explain spring migrations of ungulates mostly were unaffected by sagebrush treatments. Fire had the strongest effect on vegetative cover, and yielded the least evidence for sagebrush recovery. Overall, treatment effects were small relative to those reported from field-based studies for reasons most likely related to sagebrush recovery, treatment specification, and untreated patches within mosaicked treatment applications. Treatment effects were also small relative to inter-annual variation in phenology and productivity that was explained by temperature, snowpack, and growing-season precipitation. Our results indicated that cumulative NDVI, late-season phenometrics, and spatial

  20. Models for predicting fuel consumption in sagebrush-dominated ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clinton S. Wright

    2013-01-01

    Fuel consumption predictions are necessary to accurately estimate or model fire effects, including pollutant emissions during wildland fires. Fuel and environmental measurements on a series of operational prescribed fires were used to develop empirical models for predicting fuel consumption in big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentate Nutt.) ecosystems....

  1. Container configuration influences western larch and big sagebrush seedling development

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matthew Mehdi. Aghai

    2012-01-01

    Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.), a woody shrub, and western larch (Larix occidentalis Nutt.), a deciduous conifer, are among many western North American species that have suffered a decline in presence and natural regeneration across their native ranges. These species are economically, ecologically, and intrinsically valuable, therefore many current...

  2. Scales of snow depth variability in high elevation rangeland sagebrush

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tedesche, Molly E.; Fassnacht, Steven R.; Meiman, Paul J.

    2017-09-01

    In high elevation semi-arid rangelands, sagebrush and other shrubs can affect transport and deposition of wind-blown snow, enabling the formation of snowdrifts. Datasets from three field experiments were used to investigate the scales of spatial variability of snow depth around big mountain sagebrush ( Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) at a high elevation plateau rangeland in North Park, Colorado, during the winters of 2002, 2003, and 2008. Data were collected at multiple resolutions (0.05 to 25 m) and extents (2 to 1000 m). Finer scale data were collected specifically for this study to examine the correlation between snow depth, sagebrush microtopography, the ground surface, and the snow surface, as well as the temporal consistency of snow depth patterns. Variograms were used to identify the spatial structure and the Moran's I statistic was used to determine the spatial correlation. Results show some temporal consistency in snow depth at several scales. Plot scale snow depth variability is partly a function of the nature of individual shrubs, as there is some correlation between the spatial structure of snow depth and sagebrush, as well as between the ground and snow depth. The optimal sampling resolution appears to be 25-cm, but over a large area, this would require a multitude of samples, and thus a random stratified approach is recommended with a fine measurement resolution of 5-cm.

  3. Woody fuels reduction in Wyoming big sagebrush communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. wyomingensis Beetle & Young) ecosystems historically have been subject to disturbances that reduce or remove shrubs primarily by fire, although insect outbreaks and disease have also been important. Depending on site productivity, fire return in...

  4. Conserving and restoring habitat for Greater Sage-Grouse and other sagebrush-obligate wildlife: The crucial link of forbs and sagebrush diversity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kas Dumroese; Tara Luna; Bryce A. Richardson; Francis F. Kilkenny; Justin B. Runyon

    2015-01-01

    In the western US, Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus Bonaparte [Phasianidae]) have become an indicator species of the overall health of the sagebrush (Artemisia L. [Asteraceae]) dominated communities that support a rich diversity of flora and fauna. This species has an integral association with sagebrush, its understory forbs and grasses, and the...

  5. Is fire exclusion in mountain big sagebrush communities prudent? Soil nutrient, plant diversity, and arthropod response to burning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fire has largely been excluded from many mountain big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. vaseyana (Rydb.) Beetle) communities. Land and wildlife managers are especially reluctant to reintroduce fire in mountain big sagebrush plant communities, especially those communities without significan...

  6. Historical fire regimes, reconstructed from land-survey data, led to complexity and fluctuation in sagebrush landscapes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bukowski, Beth E; Baker, William L

    2013-04-01

    Sagebrush landscapes provide habitat for Sage-Grouse and other sagebrush obligates, yet historical fire regimes and the structure of historical sagebrush landscapes are poorly known, hampering ecological restoration and management. To remedy this, General Land Office Survey (GLO) survey notes were used to reconstruct over two million hectares of historical vegetation for four sagebrush-dominated (Artemisia spp.) study areas in the western United States. Reconstructed vegetation was analyzed for fire indicators used to identify historical fires and reconstruct historical fire regimes. Historical fire-size distributions were inverse-J shaped, and one fire > 100 000 ha was identified. Historical fire rotations were estimated at 171-342 years for Wyoming big sagebrush (A. tridentata ssp. wyomingensis) and 137-217 years for mountain big sagebrush (A. tridentata ssp. vaseyana). Historical fire and patch sizes were significantly larger in Wyoming big sagebrush than mountain big sagebrush, and historical fire rotations were significantly longer in Wyoming big sagebrush than mountain big sagebrush. Historical fire rotations in Wyoming were longer than those in other study areas. Fine-scale mosaics of burned and unburned area and larger unburned inclusions within fire perimeters were less common than in modern fires. Historical sagebrush landscapes were dominated by large, contiguous areas of sagebrush, though large grass-dominated areas and finer-scale mosaics of grass and sagebrush were also present in smaller amounts. Variation in sagebrush density was a common source of patchiness, and areas classified as "dense" made up 24.5% of total sagebrush area, compared to 16.3% for "scattered" sagebrush. Results suggest significant differences in historical and modern fire regimes. Modern fire rotations in Wyoming big sagebrush are shorter than historical fire rotations. Results also suggest that historical sagebrush landscapes would have fluctuated, because of infrequent

  7. Bumble bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) community structure on two sagebrush steppe sites in southern Idaho

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stephen P. Cook; Sara M. Birch; Frank W. Merickel; Carrie Caselton Lowe; Deborah Page-Dumroese

    2011-01-01

    Although sagebrush, Artemisia spp., does not require an insect pollinator, there are several native species of bumble bees, Bombus spp. (Hymenoptera: Apidae), that are present in sagebrush steppe ecosystems where they act as pollinators for various forbs and shrubs. These native pollinators contribute to plant productivity and reproduction. We captured 12 species of...

  8. Restoration handbook for sagebrush steppe ecosystems with emphasis on greater sage-grouse habitat - Part 1

    Science.gov (United States)

    David A. Pyke; Jeanne C. Chambers; Mike Pellant; Steven T. Knick; Richard F. Miller; Jeffrey L. Beck; Paul S. Doescher; Eugene W. Schupp; Bruce A. Roundy; Mark Brunson; James D. McIver

    2015-01-01

    Sagebrush steppe ecosystems in the United States currently occur on only about one-half of their historical land area because of changes in land use, urban growth, and degradation of land, including invasions of non-native plants. The existence of many animal species depends on the existence of sagebrush steppe habitat. The greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus...

  9. Genetic and environmental effects on seed weight in subspecies of big sagebrush: Applications for restoration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bryce A. Richardson; Hector G. Ortiz; Stephanie L. Carlson; Deidre M. Jaeger; Nancy L. Shaw

    2015-01-01

    The sagebrush steppe is a patchwork of species and subspecies occupying distinct environmental niches across the intermountain regions of western North America. These ecosystems face degradation from disturbances and exotic weeds. Using sagebrush seed that is matched to its appropriate niche is a critical component to successful restoration, improving habitat for the...

  10. Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) in a shifting climate context: Assessment of seedling responses to climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martha A. Brabec

    2014-01-01

    The loss of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) throughout the Great Basin Desert has motivated efforts to restore it because of fire and other disturbance effects on sagebrush-dependent wildlife and ecosystem function. Initial establishment is the first challenge to restoration, and appropriateness of seeds, climate, and weather variability are factors that may...

  11. Greater sage-grouse as an umbrella species for sagebrush-associated vertebrates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mary M. Rowland; Michael J. Wisdom; Lowell Suring; Cara W. Meinke

    2006-01-01

    Widespread degradation of the sagebrush ecosystem in the western United States, including the invasion of cheatgrass, has prompted resource managers to consider a variety of approaches to restore and conserve habitats for sagebrush-associated species. One such approach involves the use of greater sage-grouse, a species of prominent conservation interest, as an umbrella...

  12. Effects of using winter grazing as a fuel treatment on Wyoming big sagebrush plant communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    More frequent wildfires and incidences of mega-fires have increased the pressure for fuel treatments in sagebrush (Artemisia) communities. Winter grazing has been one of many fuel treatments proposed for Wyoming big sagebrush (A. tridentata Nutt. subsp. wyomingensis Beetle and A. Young) communitie...

  13. Wyoming big sagebrush: Efforts towards development of target plants for restoration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kayla R. Herriman

    2009-01-01

    Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. wyomingensis) is a dominant shrub throughout much of the interior western United States. It is a key component of sagebrush steppe ecosystems, which have been degraded due to European settlement, improper land use, and changing fire regimes resulting from the invasion of exotic...

  14. Restoring big sagebrush after controlling encroaching western juniper with fire: aspect and subspecies effects

    Science.gov (United States)

    The need for restoration of shrubs is increasingly recognized around the world. In the western USA, restoration of mountain big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. vaseyana (Rydb.) Beetle) after controlling encroaching conifers is a priority to improve sagebrush-associated wildlife habitat. ...

  15. Effects of land cover and regional climate variations on long-term spatiotemporal changes in sagebrush ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xian, George Z.; Homer, Collin G.; Aldridge, Cameron L.

    2012-01-01

    This research investigated the effects of climate and land cover change on variation in sagebrush ecosystems. We combined information of multi-year sagebrush distribution derived from multitemporal remote sensing imagery and climate data to study the variation patterns of sagebrush ecosystems under different potential disturbances. We found that less than 40% of sagebrush ecosystem changes involved abrupt changes directly caused by landscape transformations and over 60% of the variations involved gradual changes directly related to climatic perturbations. The primary increases in bare ground and declines in sagebrush vegetation abundance were significantly correlated with the 1996-2006 decreasing trend in annual precipitation.

  16. The response of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) to interannual climate variation changes across its range.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kleinhesselink, Andrew R; Adler, Peter B

    2018-05-01

    Understanding how annual climate variation affects population growth rates across a species' range may help us anticipate the effects of climate change on species distribution and abundance. We predict that populations in warmer or wetter parts of a species' range should respond negatively to periods of above average temperature or precipitation, respectively, whereas populations in colder or drier areas should respond positively to periods of above average temperature or precipitation. To test this, we estimated the population sensitivity of a common shrub species, big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), to annual climate variation across its range. Our analysis includes 8,175 observations of year-to-year change in sagebrush cover or production from 131 monitoring sites in western North America. We coupled these observations with seasonal weather data for each site and analyzed the effects of spring through fall temperatures and fall through spring accumulated precipitation on annual changes in sagebrush abundance. Sensitivity to annual temperature variation supported our hypothesis: years with above average temperatures were beneficial to sagebrush in colder locations and detrimental to sagebrush in hotter locations. In contrast, sensitivity to precipitation did not change significantly across the distribution of sagebrush. This pattern of responses suggests that regional abundance of this species may be more limited by temperature than by precipitation. We also found important differences in how the ecologically distinct subspecies of sagebrush responded to the effects of precipitation and temperature. Our model predicts that a short-term temperature increase could produce an increase in sagebrush cover at the cold edge of its range and a decrease in cover at the warm edge of its range. This prediction is qualitatively consistent with predictions from species distribution models for sagebrush based on spatial occurrence data, but it provides new mechanistic

  17. Simulated big sagebrush regeneration supports predicted changes at the trailing and leading edges of distribution shifts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schlaepfer, Daniel R.; Taylor, Kyle A.; Pennington, Victoria E.; Nelson, Kellen N.; Martin, Trace E.; Rottler, Caitlin M.; Lauenroth, William K.; Bradford, John B.

    2015-01-01

    Many semi-arid plant communities in western North America are dominated by big sagebrush. These ecosystems are being reduced in extent and quality due to economic development, invasive species, and climate change. These pervasive modifications have generated concern about the long-term viability of sagebrush habitat and sagebrush-obligate wildlife species (notably greater sage-grouse), highlighting the need for better understanding of the future big sagebrush distribution, particularly at the species' range margins. These leading and trailing edges of potential climate-driven sagebrush distribution shifts are likely to be areas most sensitive to climate change. We used a process-based regeneration model for big sagebrush, which simulates potential germination and seedling survival in response to climatic and edaphic conditions and tested expectations about current and future regeneration responses at trailing and leading edges that were previously identified using traditional species distribution models. Our results confirmed expectations of increased probability of regeneration at the leading edge and decreased probability of regeneration at the trailing edge below current levels. Our simulations indicated that soil water dynamics at the leading edge became more similar to the typical seasonal ecohydrological conditions observed within the current range of big sagebrush ecosystems. At the trailing edge, an increased winter and spring dryness represented a departure from conditions typically supportive of big sagebrush. Our results highlighted that minimum and maximum daily temperatures as well as soil water recharge and summer dry periods are important constraints for big sagebrush regeneration. Overall, our results confirmed previous predictions, i.e., we see consistent changes in areas identified as trailing and leading edges; however, we also identified potential local refugia within the trailing edge, mostly at sites at higher elevation. Decreasing

  18. Conversion of sagebrush shrublands to exotic annual grasslands negatively impacts small mammal communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ostoja, S.M.; Schupp, E.W.

    2009-01-01

    Aim The exotic annual cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) is fast replacing sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) communities throughout the Great Basin Desert and nearby regions in the Western United States, impacting native plant communities and altering fire regimes, which contributes to the long-term persistence of this weedy species. The effect of this conversion on native faunal communities remains largely unexamined. We assess the impact of conversion from native perennial to exotic annual plant communities on desert rodent communities. Location Wyoming big sagebrush shrublands and nearby sites previously converted to cheatgrass-dominated annual grasslands in the Great Basin Desert, Utah, USA. Methods At two sites in Tooele County, Utah, USA, we investigated with Sherman live trapping whether intact sagebrush vegetation and nearby converted Bromus tectorum-dominated vegetation differed in rodent abundance, diversity and community composition. Results Rodent abundance and species richness were considerably greater in sagebrush plots than in cheatgrass-dominated plots. Nine species were captured in sagebrush plots; five of these were also trapped in cheatgrass plots, all at lower abundances than in the sagebrush. In contrast, cheatgrass-dominated plots had no species that were not found in sagebrush. In addition, the site that had been converted to cheatgrass longer had lower abundances of rodents than the site more recently converted to cheatgrass-dominated plots. Despite large differences in abundances and species richness, Simpson's D diversity and Shannon-Wiener diversity and Brillouin evenness indices did not differ between sagebrush and cheatgrass-dominated plots. Main conclusions This survey of rodent communities in native sagebrush and in converted cheatgrass-dominated vegetation suggests that the abundances and community composition of rodents may be shifting, potentially at the larger spatial scale of the entire Great Basin, where cheatgrass continues to invade

  19. U.S. Geological Survey sage-grouse and sagebrush ecosystem research annual report for 2017

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hanser, Steven E.

    2017-09-08

    The sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystem extends across a large portion of the Western United States, and the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) is one of the iconic species of this ecosystem. Greater sage-grouse populations occur in 11 States and are dependent on relatively large expanses of sagebrush-dominated habitat. Sage-grouse populations have been experiencing long-term declines owing to multiple stressors, including interactions among fire, exotic plant invasions, and human land uses, which have resulted in significant loss, fragmentation, and degradation of landscapes once dominated by sagebrush. In addition to the sage-grouse, over 350 species of plants and animals are dependent on the sagebrush ecosystem.Increasing knowledge about how these species and the sagebrush ecosystem respond to these stressors and to management actions can inform and improve strategies to maintain existing areas of intact sagebrush and restore degraded landscapes. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has a broad research program focused on providing the science needed to inform these strate-gies and to help land and resource managers at the Federal, State, Tribal, and local levels as they work towards sustainable sage-grouse populations and restored landscapes for the broad range of uses critical to stakeholders in the Western United States.USGS science has provided a foundation for major land and resource management decisions including those that precluded the need to list the greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act. The USGS is continuing to build on that foundation to inform science-based decisions to help support local economies and the continued conservation, management, and restoration of the sagebrush ecosystem.This report contains descriptions of USGS sage-grouse and sagebrush ecosystem research projects that are ongoing or were active during 2017 and is organized into five thematic areas: Fire, Invasive Species, Restoration, Sagebrush and Sage

  20. Multiscale sagebrush rangeland habitat modeling in the Gunnison Basin of Colorado

    Science.gov (United States)

    Homer, Collin G.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Meyer, Debra K.; Schell, Spencer J.

    2013-01-01

    North American sagebrush-steppe ecosystems have decreased by about 50 percent since European settlement. As a result, sagebrush-steppe dependent species, such as the Gunnison sage-grouse, have experienced drastic range contractions and population declines. Coordinated ecosystem-wide research, integrated with monitoring and management activities, is needed to help maintain existing sagebrush habitats; however, products that accurately model and map sagebrush habitats in detail over the Gunnison Basin in Colorado are still unavailable. The goal of this project is to provide a rigorous large-area sagebrush habitat classification and inventory with statistically validated products and estimates of precision across the Gunnison Basin. This research employs a combination of methods, including (1) modeling sagebrush rangeland as a series of independent objective components that can be combined and customized by any user at multiple spatial scales; (2) collecting ground measured plot data on 2.4-meter QuickBird satellite imagery in the same season the imagery is acquired; (3) modeling of ground measured data on 2.4-meter imagery to maximize subsequent extrapolation; (4) acquiring multiple seasons (spring, summer, and fall) of Landsat Thematic Mapper imagery (30-meter) for optimal modeling; (5) using regression tree classification technology that optimizes data mining of multiple image dates, ratios, and bands with ancillary data to extrapolate ground training data to coarser resolution Landsat Thematic Mapper; and 6) employing accuracy assessment of model predictions to enable users to understand their dependencies. Results include the prediction of four primary components including percent bare ground, percent herbaceous, percent shrub, and percent litter, and four secondary components including percent sagebrush (Artemisia spp.), percent big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), percent Wyoming sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata wyomingensis), and shrub height (centimeters

  1. Outplanting Wyoming big sagebrush following wldfire: stock performance and economics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dettweiler-Robinson, Eva; Bakker, Jonathan D.; Evans, James R.; Newsome, Heidi; Davies, G. Matt; Wirth, Troy A.; Pyke, David A.; Easterly, Richard T.; Salstrom, Debra; Dunwiddle, Peter W.

    2013-01-01

    Finding ecologically and economically effective ways to establish matrix species is often critical for restoration success. Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata subsp. wyomingensis) historically dominated large areas of western North America, but has been extirpated from many areas by large wildfires; its re-establishment in these areas often requires active management. We evaluated the performance (survival, health) and economic costs of container and bare-root stock based on operational plantings of more than 1.5 million seedlings across 2 200 ha, and compared our plantings with 30 other plantings in which sagebrush survival was tracked for up to 5 yr. Plantings occurred between 2001 and 2007, and included 12 combinations of stock type, planting amendment, and planting year.We monitored 10 500 plants for up to 8 yr after planting. Survival to Year 3 averaged 21% and was higher for container stock (30%) than bare-root stock (17%). Survival did not differ among container stock plantings, whereas survival of bare-root stock was sometimes enhanced by a hydrogel dip before planting, but not by

  2. 2004 annual progress report: Stratton Sagebrush Hydrology Study Area: Establishment of a long-term research site in a high-elevation sagebrush steppe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schoenecker, Kate; Lange, Bob; Calton, Mike

    2005-01-01

    In 2004 the U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Collins Science Center (FORT) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Rawlins Field Office (RFO), began a cooperative effort to reestablish the Stratton Sagebrush Hydrology Study Area (Stratton) as a research location, with the goal of making it a site for long-term research on sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecology. No other long-term research sites in high-elevation sagebrush habitat currently exist, and the Stratton area, with its 30+ year history of research and baseline data, was a logical location to restart investigations aimed at answering pertinent and timely questions about sagebrush ecology and sagebrush-obligate species. During the first year of the study, USGS scientists conducted an in-depth literature search to locate publications from research conducted at Stratton. We contacted previous researchers to acquire literature and unpublished reports of work conducted at Stratton. Collated papers and published manuscripts were presented in an annotated bibliography (Burgess and Schoenecker, 2004).

  3. Mechanical mastication of Utah juniper encroaching sagebrush steppe increases inorganic soil N

    Science.gov (United States)

    Juniper (Juniperus spp.) has encroached millions of hectares of sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) steppe. Juniper mechanical mastication increases cover of understory species, but could increase resource availability and subsequently invasive plant species. We quantified the effects of juniper mastication ...

  4. Mountain big sagebrush age distribution and relationships on the northern Yellowstone Winter Range

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carl L. Wambolt; Trista L. Hoffman

    2001-01-01

    This study was conducted within the Gardiner Basin, an especially critical wintering area for native ungulates utilizing the Northern Yellowstone Winter Range. Mountain big sagebrush plants on 33 sites were classified as large (≥22 cm canopy cover), small (

  5. Short-term regeneration dynamics of Wyoming big sagebrush at two sites in northern Utah

    Science.gov (United States)

    The herbicide tebuthiuron has been used historically to control cover of Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis - complete taxonomic designation), a widespread shrub across the western United States, with the intent of increasing herbaceous plant cover. Although the tebuthiur...

  6. Attempting to restore herbaceous understories in Wyoming big sagebrush communities with mowing and seeding

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shrub steppe communities with depleted perennial herbaceous understories need to be restored to increase resilience, provide quality wildlife habitat, and improve ecosystem function. Mowing has been applied to Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. wyomingensis Beetle &Young) steppe...

  7. Success of seeding native compared with introduced perennial vegetation for revegetating medusahead-invaded sagebrush rangeland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Millions of hectares of Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. wyomingensis Beetle &Young) rangeland have been invaded by medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae [L.] Nevski), an exotic annual grass that degrades wildlife habitat, reduces forage production, and decreases biodiversity....

  8. Protocols for sagebrush seed processing and seedling production at the Lucky Peak Nursery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark D. Fleege

    2010-01-01

    This paper presents the production protocols currently practiced at the USDA Forest Service Lucky Peak Nursery (Boise, ID) for seed processing and bareroot and container seedling production for three subspecies of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata).

  9. Modeling regeneration responses of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) to abiotic conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schlaepfer, Daniel R.; Lauenroth, William K.; Bradford, John B.

    2014-01-01

    Ecosystems dominated by big sagebrush, Artemisia tridentata Nuttall (Asteraceae), which are the most widespread ecosystems in semiarid western North America, have been affected by land use practices and invasive species. Loss of big sagebrush and the decline of associated species, such as greater sage-grouse, are a concern to land managers and conservationists. However, big sagebrush regeneration remains difficult to achieve by restoration and reclamation efforts and there is no regeneration simulation model available. We present here the first process-based, daily time-step, simulation model to predict yearly big sagebrush regeneration including relevant germination and seedling responses to abiotic factors. We estimated values, uncertainty, and importance of 27 model parameters using a total of 1435 site-years of observation. Our model explained 74% of variability of number of years with successful regeneration at 46 sites. It also achieved 60% overall accuracy predicting yearly regeneration success/failure. Our results identify specific future research needed to improve our understanding of big sagebrush regeneration, including data at the subspecies level and improved parameter estimates for start of seed dispersal, modified wet thermal-time model of germination, and soil water potential influences. We found that relationships between big sagebrush regeneration and climate conditions were site specific, varying across the distribution of big sagebrush. This indicates that statistical models based on climate are unsuitable for understanding range-wide regeneration patterns or for assessing the potential consequences of changing climate on sagebrush regeneration and underscores the value of this process-based model. We used our model to predict potential regeneration across the range of sagebrush ecosystems in the western United States, which confirmed that seedling survival is a limiting factor, whereas germination is not. Our results also suggested that modeled

  10. Sagebrush, greater sage-grouse, and the occurrence and importance of forbs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pennington, Victoria E.; Schlaepfer, Daniel R.; Beck, Jeffrey L.; Bradford, John B.; Palmquist, Kyle A.; Lauenroth, William K.

    2016-01-01

    Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) ecosystems provide habitat for sagebrush-obligate wildlife species such as the Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). The understory of big sagebrush plant communities is composed of grasses and forbs that are important sources of cover and food for wildlife. The grass component is well described in the literature, but the composition, abundance, and habitat role of forbs in these communities is largely unknown. Our objective was to synthesize information about forbs and their importance to Greater Sage-Grouse diets and habitats, how rangeland management practices affect forbs, and how forbs respond to changes in temperature and precipitation. We also sought to identify research gaps and needs concerning forbs in big sagebrush plant communities. We searched for relevant literature including journal articles and state and federal agency reports. Our results indicated that in the spring and summer, Greater Sage-Grouse diets consist of forbs (particularly species in the Asteraceae family), arthropods, and lesser amounts of sagebrush. The diets transition to sagebrush in fall and winter. Forbs provide cover for Greater Sage-Grouse individuals at their lekking, nesting, and brood-rearing sites, and the species has a positive relationship with arthropod presence. The effect of grazing on native forbs may be compounded by invasion of nonnative species and differs depending on grazing intensity. The effect of fire on forbs varies greatly and may depend on time elapsed since burning. In addition, chemical and mechanical treatments affect annual and perennial forbs differently. Temperature and precipitation influence forb phenology, biomass, and abundance differently among species. Our review identified several uncertainties and research needs about forbs in big sagebrush ecosystems. First, in many cases the literature about forbs is reported only at the genus or functional type level. Second, information about forb

  11. Restoration handbook for sagebrush steppe ecosystems with emphasis on greater sage-grouse habitat - Part 3: Site level restoration decisions

    Science.gov (United States)

    David A. Pyke; Jeanne C. Chambers; Mike Pellant; Richard F. Miller; Jeffrey L. Beck; Paul S. Doescher; Bruce A. Roundy; Eugene W. Schupp; Steven T. Knick; Mark Brunson; James D. McIver

    2017-01-01

    Sagebrush steppe ecosystems in the United States currently (2016) occur on only about one-half of their historical land area because of changes in land use, urban growth, and degradation of land, including invasions of non-native plants. The existence of many animal species depends on the existence of sagebrush steppe habitat. The greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus...

  12. The Sagebrush Steppe Treatment Evaluation Project (SageSTEP): a test of state-and-transition theory

    Science.gov (United States)

    James D. McIver; Mark Brunson; Steve C. Bunting; Jeanne Chambers; Nora Devoe; Paul Doescher; James Grace; Dale Johnson; Steve Knick; Richard Miller; Mike Pellant; Fred Pierson; David Pyke; Kim Rollins; Bruce Roundy; Eugene Schupp; Robin Tausch; David Turner

    2010-01-01

    The Sagebrush Steppe Treatment Evaluation Project (SageSTEP) is a comprehensive, integrated, long-term study that evaluates the ecological effects of fire and fire surrogate treatments designed to reduce fuel and to restore sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) communities of the Great Basin and surrounding areas. SageSTEP has several features that make it ideal for testing...

  13. The role of symbiotic nitrogen fixation in nitrogen availability, competition and plant invasion into the sagebrush steppe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erin M. Goergen

    2009-01-01

    In the semi-arid sagebrush steppe of the Northeastern Sierra Nevada, resources are both spatially and temporally variable, arguably making resource availability a primary factor determining invasion success. N fixing plant species, primarily native legumes, are often relatively abundant in sagebrush steppe and can contribute to ecosystem nitrogen budgets. ...

  14. Effectiveness of prescribed fire to re-establish sagebrush vegetation and ecohydrologic function on woodland-encroached sagebrush steppe, Great Basin, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, C. J.; Pierson, F. B.; Kormos, P.; Al-Hamdan, O. Z.; Nouwakpo, S.; Weltz, M.; Vega, S.; Lindsay, K.

    2017-12-01

    Range expansion of pinyon (Pinus spp.) and juniper (Juniperus spp.) conifers into sagebrush steppe (Artemisia spp.) communities has imperiled a vast domain in the western US. Encroachment of sagebrush ecosystems by pinyon and juniper conifers has negative ramifications to ecosystem structure and function and delivery of goods and services. Scientists, land management agencies, and private land owners throughout the western US are challenged with selecting from a suite of options to reduce pinyon and juniper woody fuels and re-establish sagebrush steppe structure and function. This study evaluated the effectiveness of prescribed fire to re-establish sagebrush vegetation and ecohydrologic function over a 9 yr period. Nine years post-fire hydrologic and erosion responses reflect the combination of pre-fire site conditions, perennial grass recruitment, delayed litter cover, and inherent site characteristics. Burning initially increased bare ground, runoff, and erosion for well-vegetated areas underneath tree and shrub canopies, but had minimal impact on hydrology and erosion for degraded interspaces between plants. The degraded interspaces were primarily bare ground and exhibited high runoff and erosion rates prior to burning. Initial fire effects persisted for two years, but increased productivity of grasses improved hydrologic function of interspaces over the full 9 yr period. At the hillslope scale, grass recruitment in the intercanopy between trees reduced runoff from rainsplash, sheetflow, and concentrated overland flow at one site, but did not reduce the high levels of runoff and erosion from a more degraded site. In areas formerly occupied by trees (tree zones), burning increased invasive annual grass cover due to fire removal of limited native perennial plants and competition for resources. The invasive annual grass cover had no net effect on runoff and erosion from tree zones however. Runoff and erosion increased in tree zones at the more degraded site due to

  15. Common raven occurrence in relation to energy transmission line corridors transiting human-altered sagebrush steppe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coates, Peter S.; Howe, Kristy B.; Casazza, Michael L.; Delehanty, David J.

    2014-01-01

    Energy-related infrastructure and other human enterprises within sagebrush steppe of the American West often results in changes that promote common raven (Corvus corax; hereafter, raven) populations. Ravens, a generalist predator capable of behavioral innovation, present a threat to many species of conservation concern. We evaluate the effects of detailed features of an altered landscape on the probability of raven occurrence using extensive raven survey (n= 1045) and mapping data from southern Idaho, USA. We found nonlinear relationships between raven occurrence and distances to transmission lines, roads, and facilities. Most importantly, raven occurrence was greater with presence of transmission lines up to 2.2 km from the corridor.We further explain variation in raven occurrence along anthropogenic features based on the amount of non-native vegetation and cover type edge, such that ravens select fragmented sagebrush stands with patchy, exotic vegetative introgression. Raven occurrence also increased with greater length of edge formed by the contact of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentate spp.) with non-native vegetation cover types. In consideration of increasing alteration of sagebrush steppe, these findings will be useful for planning energy transmission corridor placement and other management activities where conservation of sagebrush obligate species is a priority.

  16. Ecohydrology of adjacent sagebrush and lodgepole pine ecosystems: the consequences of climate change and disturbance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bradford, John B.; Schlaepfer, Daniel R.; Lauenroth, William K.

    2014-01-01

    Sagebrush steppe and lodgepole pine forests are two of the most widespread vegetation types in the western United States and they play crucial roles in the hydrologic cycle of these water-limited regions. We used a process-based ecosystem water model to characterize the potential impact of climate change and disturbance (wildfire and beetle mortality) on water cycling in adjacent sagebrush and lodgepole pine ecosystems. Despite similar climatic and topographic conditions between these ecosystems at the sites examined, lodgepole pine, and sagebrush exhibited consistent differences in water balance, notably more evaporation and drier summer soils in the sagebrush and greater transpiration and less water yield in lodgepole pine. Canopy disturbances (either fire or beetle) have dramatic impacts on water balance and availability: reducing transpiration while increasing evaporation and water yield. Results suggest that climate change may reduce snowpack, increase evaporation and transpiration, and lengthen the duration of dry soil conditions in the summer, but may have uncertain effects on drainage. Changes in the distribution of sagebrush and lodgepole pine ecosystems as a consequence of climate change and/or altered disturbance regimes will likely alter ecosystem water balance.

  17. Characterization of a sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis) die-off on the Handford Site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cardenas, A.; Lewinsohn, J.; Auger, C.; Downs, J.L.; Cadwell, L.L.; Burrows, R.

    1997-09-01

    The Hanford Site contains one of the few remaining contiguous areas of shrub-steppe habitat left in Washington State. This habitat is home to many native plant and wildlife species, some of which are threatened with extinction or are unique to the Site. The importance of the Hanford Site increases as other lands surrounding the Site are developed, and these native species and habitats are lost. Stands of Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis) on the Site are a particularly important component of shrub-steppe habitat, because a number of wildlife require big sagebrush for food and cover. Since 1993, researchers and field biologists have made anecdotal observations of dying and declining sagebrush in stands of shrubs near the 100 Areas. This study was initiated to delineate and document the general boundary where sagebrush stands appear to be declining. We mapped the areal extent of the die-off using a global positioning system and found that the central portion of the die-off encompasses 280 hectares. Shrub stand defoliation was estimated to be near or greater than 80% in this area. The remainder of the die-off area exhibits varying mixtures of completely defoliated, partially defoliated, and healthy-looking stands. Declining sagebrush stands comprise a total of 1776 hectares

  18. Characterization of a sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis) die-off on the Handford Site

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Cardenas, A.; Lewinsohn, J.; Auger, C.; Downs, J.L.; Cadwell, L.L.; Burrows, R.

    1997-09-01

    The Hanford Site contains one of the few remaining contiguous areas of shrub-steppe habitat left in Washington State. This habitat is home to many native plant and wildlife species, some of which are threatened with extinction or are unique to the Site. The importance of the Hanford Site increases as other lands surrounding the Site are developed, and these native species and habitats are lost. Stands of Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis) on the Site are a particularly important component of shrub-steppe habitat, because a number of wildlife require big sagebrush for food and cover. Since 1993, researchers and field biologists have made anecdotal observations of dying and declining sagebrush in stands of shrubs near the 100 Areas. This study was initiated to delineate and document the general boundary where sagebrush stands appear to be declining. We mapped the areal extent of the die-off using a global positioning system and found that the central portion of the die-off encompasses 280 hectares. Shrub stand defoliation was estimated to be near or greater than 80% in this area. The remainder of the die-off area exhibits varying mixtures of completely defoliated, partially defoliated, and healthy-looking stands. Declining sagebrush stands comprise a total of 1776 hectares.

  19. Nest mortality of sagebrush songbirds due to a severe hailstorm

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hightower, Jessica N.; Carlisle, Jason D.; Chalfoun, Anna D.

    2018-01-01

    Demographic assessments of nesting birds typically focus on failures due to nest predation or brood parasitism. Extreme weather events such as hailstorms, however, can also destroy eggs and injure or kill juvenile and adult birds at the nest. We documented the effects of a severe hailstorm on 3 species of sagebrush-associated songbirds: Sage Thrasher (Oreoscoptes montanus), Brewer's Sparrow (Spizella breweri), and Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus), nesting at eight 24 ha study plots in central Wyoming, USA. Across all plots, 17% of 128 nests failed due to the hailstorm; however, all failed nests were located at a subset of study plots (n = 3) where the hailstorm was most intense, and 45% of all nests failures on those plots were due to hail. Mortality rates varied by species, nest architecture, and nest placement. Nests with more robust architecture and those sited more deeply under the shrub canopy were more likely to survive the hailstorm, suggesting that natural history traits may modulate mortality risk due to hailstorms. While sporadic in nature, hailstorms may represent a significant source of nest failure to songbirds in certain locations, especially with increasing storm frequency and severity forecasted in some regions with ongoing climate change.

  20. Resilience and resistance of sagebrush ecosystems: implications for state and transition models and management treatments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chambers, Jeanne C.; Miller, Richard F.; Board, David I.; Pyke, David A.; Roundy, Bruce A.; Grace, James B.; Schupp, Eugene W.; Tausch, Robin J.

    2014-01-01

    In sagebrush ecosystems invasion of annual exotics and expansion of piñon (Pinus monophylla Torr. and Frem.) and juniper (Juniperus occidentalis Hook., J. osteosperma [Torr.] Little) are altering fire regimes and resulting in large-scale ecosystem transformations. Management treatments aim to increase resilience to disturbance and enhance resistance to invasive species by reducing woody fuels and increasing native perennial herbaceous species. We used Sagebrush Steppe Treatment Evaluation Project data to test predictions on effects of fire vs. mechanical treatments on resilience and resistance for three site types exhibiting cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.) invasion and/or piñon and juniper expansion: 1) warm and dry Wyoming big sagebrush (WY shrub); 2) warm and moist Wyoming big sagebrush (WY PJ); and 3) cool and moist mountain big sagebrush (Mtn PJ). Warm and dry (mesic/aridic) WY shrub sites had lower resilience to fire (less shrub recruitment and native perennial herbaceous response) than cooler and moister (frigid/xeric) WY PJ and Mtn PJ sites. Warm (mesic) WY Shrub and WY PJ sites had lower resistance to annual exotics than cool (frigid to cool frigid) Mtn PJ sites. In WY shrub, fire and sagebrush mowing had similar effects on shrub cover and, thus, on perennial native herbaceous and exotic cover. In WY PJ and Mtn PJ, effects were greater for fire than cut-and-leave treatments and with high tree cover in general because most woody vegetation was removed increasing resources for other functional groups. In WY shrub, about 20% pretreatment perennial native herb cover was necessary to prevent increases in exotics after treatment. Cooler and moister WY PJ and especially Mtn PJ were more resistant to annual exotics, but perennial native herb cover was still required for site recovery. We use our results to develop state and transition models that illustrate how resilience and resistance influence vegetation dynamics and management options.

  1. Fungal and bacterial contributions to nitrogen cycling in cheatgrass-invaded and uninvaded native sagebrush soils of the western USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeCrappeo, Nicole; DeLorenze, Elizabeth J.; Giguere, Andrew T; Pyke, David A.; Bottomley, Peter J.

    2017-01-01

    AimThere is interest in determining how cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.) modifies N cycling in sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) soils of the western USA.MethodsTo gain insight into the roles of fungi and bacteria in N cycling of cheatgrass-invaded and uninvaded sagebrush soils, the fungal protein synthesis inhibitor, cycloheximide (CHX), and the bacteriocidal compound, bronopol (BRO) were combined with a 15NH4+ isotope pool dilution approach.ResultsCHX reduced gross N mineralization to the same rate in both sagebrush and cheatgrass soils indicating a role for fungi in N mineralization in both soil types. In cheatgrass soils BRO completely inhibited gross N mineralization, whereas, in sagebrush soils a BRO-resistant gross N mineralization rate was detected that was slower than CHX sensitive gross N mineralization, suggesting that the microbial drivers of gross N mineralization were different in sagebrush and cheatgrass soils. Net N mineralization was stimulated to a higher rate in sagebrush than in cheatgrass soils by CHX, implying that a CHX inhibited N sink was larger in the former than the latter soils. Initial gross NH4+ consumption rates were reduced significantly by both CHX and BRO in both soil types, yet, consumption rates recovered significantly between 24 and 48 h in CHX-treated sagebrush soils. The recovery of NH4+ consumption in sagebrush soils corresponded with an increase in the rate of net nitrification.ConclusionsThese results suggest that cheatgrass invasion of sagebrush soils of the northern Great Basin reduces the capacity of the fungal N consumption sink, enhances the capacity of a CHX resistant N sink and alters the contributions of bacteria and fungi to gross N mineralization.

  2. 75 FR 77801 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Endangered Status for Dunes Sagebrush Lizard

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-12-14

    ... public lands in Texas. It is evident that the dunes sagebrush lizard is still present at the park, but... expected to contribute to habitat loss, modification, or fragmentation in the future include wind and solar... and Solar Energy Development Eastern New Mexico and western Texas are highly suitable areas for wind...

  3. Tapping soil survey information for rapid assessment of sagebrush ecosystem resilience and resistance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jeremy D. Maestas; Steven B. Campbell; Jeanne C. Chambers; Mike Pellant; Richard F. Miller

    2016-01-01

    A new ecologically-based approach to risk abatement has emerged that can aid land managers in grappling with escalating impacts of large-scale wildfire and invasive annual grasses in sagebrush ecosystems, particularly in the Great Basin. Specifically, ecosystem resilience and resistance (R&R) concepts have been more fully operationalized from regional...

  4. Selecting sagebrush seed sources for restoration in a variable climate: ecophysiological variation among genotypes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Germino, Matthew J.

    2012-01-01

    Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) communities dominate a large fraction of the United States and provide critical habitat for a number of wildlife species of concern. Loss of big sagebrush due to fire followed by poor restoration success continues to reduce ecological potential of this ecosystem type, particularly in the Great Basin. Choice of appropriate seed sources for restoration efforts is currently unguided due to knowledge gaps on genetic variation and local adaptation as they relate to a changing landscape. We are assessing ecophysiological responses of big sagebrush to climate variation, comparing plants that germinated from ~20 geographically distinct populations of each of the three subspecies of big sagebrush. Seedlings were previously planted into common gardens by US Forest Service collaborators Drs. B. Richardson and N. Shaw, (USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station, Provo, Utah and Boise, Idaho) as part of the Great Basin Native Plant Selection and Increase Project. Seed sources spanned all states in the conterminous Western United States. Germination, establishment, growth and ecophysiological responses are being linked to genomics and foliar palatability. New information is being produced to aid choice of appropriate seed sources by Bureau of Land Management and USFS field offices when they are planning seed acquisitions for emergency post-fire rehabilitation projects while considering climate variability and wildlife needs.

  5. Birds of a Great Basin Sagebrush Habitat in East-Central Nevada

    OpenAIRE

    United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service

    1992-01-01

    Breeding bird populations ranged from 3.35 to 3.48 individuals/ha over a 3-year study conducted from 1981 to 1983. Brewer's sparrows, sage sparrows, sage thrashers, and black-throated sparrows were numerically dominant. Horned larks and western meadowlarks were less common. Results are compared with bird populations in Great Basin sagebrush habitats elsewhere in the United States.

  6. Attempting to restore mountain big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. vaseyana) four years after fire

    Science.gov (United States)

    Restoration of shrubs is increasingly needed throughout the world because of altered fire regimes, anthropogenic disturbance, and over-utilization. The native shrub mountain big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. vaseyana (Rydb.) Beetle) is a restoration priority in western North America be...

  7. Do container volume, site preparation, and field fertilization affect restoration potential of Wyoming big sagebrush?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kayla R. Herriman; Anthony S. Davis; Kent G. Apostol; Olga. A. Kildisheva; Amy L. Ross-Davis; Kas Dumroese

    2016-01-01

    Land management practices, invasive species expansion, and changes in the fire regime greatly impact the distribution of native plants in natural areas. Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis), a keystone species in the Great Basin, has seen a 50% reduction in its distribution. For many dryland species, reestablishment efforts have...

  8. Evaluating winter/spring seeding of a native perennial bunchgrass in the sagebrush steppe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) plant communities in the US Great Basin region are being severely impacted by increasingly frequent wildfires in association with the expansion of exotic annual grasses. Maintenance of native perennial bunchgrasses is key to controlling annual grass expansion,...

  9. Variation in sagebrush communities historically seeded with crested wheatgrass in the eastern great basin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Although crested wheatgrass (CWG; Agropyron cristatum [L.] Gaertn.) has been one of the most commonly seeded exotic species in the western United States, long-term successional trajectories of seeded sites are poorly characterized, especially for big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentana Nutt.) ecosystems...

  10. Challenges of establishing big sgebrush (Artemisia tridentata) in rangeland restoration: effects of herbicide, mowing, whole-community seeding, and sagebrush seed sources

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brabec, Martha M.; Germino, Matthew J.; Shinneman, Douglas J.; Pilliod, David S.; McIlroy, Susan K.; Arkle, Robert S.

    2015-01-01

    The loss of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) on sites disturbed by fire has motivated restoration seeding and planting efforts. However, the resulting sagebrush establishment is often lower than desired, especially in dry areas. Sagebrush establishment may be increased by addressing factors such as seed source and condition or management of the plant community. We assessed initial establishment of seeded sagebrush and four populations of small outplants (from different geographies, climates, and cytotypes) and small sagebrush outplants in an early seral community where mowing, herbicide, and seeding of other native plants had been experimentally applied. No emergence of seeded sagebrush was detected. Mowing the site before planting seedlings led to greater initial survival probabilities for sagebrush outplants, except where seeding also occurred, and these effects were related to corresponding changes in bare soil exposure. Initial survival probabilities were > 30% greater for the local population of big sagebrush relative to populations imported to the site from typical seed transfer distances of ~320–800 km. Overcoming the high first-year mortality of outplanted or seeded sagebrush is one of the most challenging aspects of postfire restoration and rehabilitation, and further evaluation of the impacts of herb treatments and sagebrush seed sources across different site types and years is needed.

  11. Crop type influences edge effects on the reproduction of songbirds in sagebrush habitat near agriculture

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elly C. Knight

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available Extensive fragmentation of the sagebrush shrubsteppe of western North America could be contributing to observed population declines of songbirds in sagebrush habitat. We examined whether habitat fragmentation impacts the reproduction of songbirds in sagebrush edge habitat near agriculture, and if potential impacts vary depending on the adjacent crop type. Specifically, we evaluated whether nest abundance and nest survival varied between orchard edge habitat, vineyard edge habitat, and interior habitat. We then examined whether the local nest predator community and vegetation could explain the differences detected. We detected fewer nests in edge than interior habitat. Nest abundance per songbird was also lower in edge than interior habitat, although only adjacent to vineyards. Nest predation was more frequent in orchard edge habitat than vineyard edge or interior habitat. Predators identified with nest cameras were primarily snakes, however, reduced nest survival in orchard edge habitat was not explained by differences in the abundance of snakes or any other predator species identified. Information theoretic analysis of daily survival rates showed that greater study plot shrub cover and lower grass height at nests were partially responsible for the lower rate of predation-specific daily nest survival rate (PDSR observed in orchard edge habitat, but additional factors are likely important. Results of this study suggest that different crop types have different edge effects on songbirds nesting in sagebrush shrubsteppe, and that these reproductive edge effects may contribute to observed declines of these species. Habitat managers should avoid the creation of new orchard-sagebrush habitat edges to avoid further impacts on already declining songbird populations.

  12. Ecosystem functional response across precipitation extremes in a sagebrush steppe.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tredennick, Andrew T; Kleinhesselink, Andrew R; Taylor, J Bret; Adler, Peter B

    2018-01-01

    Precipitation is predicted to become more variable in the western United States, meaning years of above and below average precipitation will become more common. Periods of extreme precipitation are major drivers of interannual variability in ecosystem functioning in water limited communities, but how ecosystems respond to these extremes over the long-term may shift with precipitation means and variances. Long-term changes in ecosystem functional response could reflect compensatory changes in species composition or species reaching physiological thresholds at extreme precipitation levels. We conducted a five year precipitation manipulation experiment in a sagebrush steppe ecosystem in Idaho, United States. We used drought and irrigation treatments (approximately 50% decrease/increase) to investigate whether ecosystem functional response remains consistent under sustained high or low precipitation. We recorded data on aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP), species abundance, and soil moisture. We fit a generalized linear mixed effects model to determine if the relationship between ANPP and soil moisture differed among treatments. We used nonmetric multidimensional scaling to quantify community composition over the five years. Ecosystem functional response, defined as the relationship between soil moisture and ANPP, was similar among irrigation and control treatments, but the drought treatment had a greater slope than the control treatment. However, all estimates for the effect of soil moisture on ANPP overlapped zero, indicating the relationship is weak and uncertain regardless of treatment. There was also large spatial variation in ANPP within-years, which contributes to the uncertainty of the soil moisture effect. Plant community composition was remarkably stable over the course of the experiment and did not differ among treatments. Despite some evidence that ecosystem functional response became more sensitive under sustained drought conditions, the response

  13. Comparison of radionuclide levels in soil, sagebrush, plant litter, cryptogams, and small mammals

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Landeen, D.S.

    1994-09-01

    Soil, sagebrush, plant litter, cryptogam, and small mammal samples were collected and analyzed for cesium-137, strontium-90, plutonium-238, plutonium 239/240, technetium-99, and iodine-129 from 1981 to 1986 at the US Department of Energy Hanford Site in southeastern Washington State as part of site characterization and environmental monitoring activities. Samples were collected on the 200 Areas Plateau, downwind from ongoing waste management activities. Plant litter, cryptogams, and small mammals are media that are not routinely utilized in monitoring or characterization efforts for determination of radionuclide concentrations. Studies at Hanford, other US Department of Energy sites, and in eastern Europe have indicated that plant litter and cryptogams may serve as effective ''natural'' monitors of air quality. Plant litter in this study consists of fallen leaves from sagebrush and ''cryptogams'' describes that portion of the soil crust composed of mosses, lichens, algae, and fungi. Comparisons of cesium-137 and strontium-90 concentrations in the soil, sagebrush, litter, and cryptogams revealed significantly higher (p<0.05) levels in plant litter and cryptogams. Technetium-99 values were the highest in sagebrush and litter. Plutonium-238 and 239/40 and iodine-129 concentrations never exceeded 0.8 pCi/gm in all media. No evidence of any significant amounts of any radionuclides being incorporated into the small mammal community was discovered. The data indicate that plant litter and cryptogams may be better, indicators of environmental quality than soil or vegetation samples. Augmenting a monitoring program with samples of litter and cryptogams may provide a more accurate representation of radionuclide environmental uptake and/or contamination levels in surrounding ecosystems. The results of this study may be applied directly to other radioecological monitoring conducted at other nuclear sites and to the monitoring of other pollutants

  14. Seasonal soil CO2 flux under big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Michael C. Amacher; Cheryl L. Mackowiak

    2011-01-01

    Soil respiration is a major contributor to atmospheric CO2, but accurate landscape-scale estimates of soil CO2 flux for many ecosystems including shrublands have yet to be established. We began a project to measure, with high spatial and temporal resolution, soil CO2 flux in a stand (11 x 25 m area) of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) at the Logan, Utah,...

  15. Restoration handbook for sagebrush steppe ecosystems with emphasis on greater sage-grouse habitat—Part 1. Concepts for understanding and applying restoration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pyke, David A.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Pellant, Mike; Knick, Steven T.; Miller, Richard F.; Beck, Jeffrey L.; Doescher, Paul S.; Schupp, Eugene W.; Roundy, Bruce A.; Brunson, Mark; McIver, James D.

    2015-10-26

    Sagebrush steppe ecosystems in the United States currently occur on only about one-half of their historical land area because of changes in land use, urban growth, and degradation of land, including invasions of non-native plants. The existence of many animal species depends on the existence of sagebrush steppe habitat. The greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) is a landscape-dependent bird that requires intact habitat and combinations of sagebrush and perennial grasses to exist. In addition, other sagebrush-obligate animals also have similar requirements and restoration of landscapes for greater sage-grouse also will benefit these animals. Once sagebrush lands are degraded, they may require restoration actions to make those lands viable habitat for supporting sagebrushobligate animals. This restoration handbook is the first in a three-part series on restoration of sagebrush ecosystems. In Part 1, we discuss concepts surrounding landscape and restoration ecology of sagebrush ecosystems and greater sage-grouse that habitat managers and restoration practitioners need to know to make informed decisions regarding where and how to restore specific areas. We will describe the plant dynamics of sagebrush steppe ecosystems and their responses to major disturbances, fire, and defoliation. We will introduce the concepts of ecosystem resilience to disturbances and resistance to invasions of annual grasses within sagebrush steppe. An introduction to soils and ecological site information will provide insights into the specific plants that can be restored in a location. Soil temperature and moisture regimes are described as a tool for determining resilience and resistance and the potential for various restoration actions. Greater sage-grouse are considered landscape birds that require large areas of intact sagebrush steppe; therefore, we describe concepts of landscape ecology that aid our decisions regarding habitat restoration. We provide a brief overview of

  16. Big sagebrush in pinyon-juniper woodlands: Using forest inventory and analysis data as a management tool for quantifying and monitoring mule deer habitat

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chris Witt; Paul L. Patterson

    2011-01-01

    We used Interior West Forest Inventory and Analysis (IW-FIA) data to identify conditions where pinyon-juniper woodlands provide security cover, thermal cover, and suitable amounts of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata spp.) forage to mule deer in Utah. Roughly one quarter of Utah's pinyon-juniper woodlands had a big sagebrush component in their understory....

  17. Narrow hybrid zone between two subspecies of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata: Asteraceae): XI. Plant-insect interactions in reciprocal transplant gardens

    Science.gov (United States)

    John H. Graham; E. Durant McArthur; D. Carl Freeman

    2001-01-01

    Basin big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata) and mountain big sagebrush (A. t. ssp. vaseyana) hybridize in a narrow zone near Salt Creek, Utah. Reciprocal transplant experiments in this hybrid zone demonstrate that hybrids are more fit than either parental subspecies, but only in the hybrid zone. Do hybrids experience greater, or lesser, use by...

  18. W-519 Sagebrush Mitigation Project FY-2004 Final Review and Status

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Durham, Robin E.; Sackschewsky, Michael R.

    2004-09-30

    This report summarizes activities conducted as mitigation for loss of sagebrush-steppe habitats due to Project W-519, the construction of the infrastructure for the Tank Waste Remediation System Vitrification Plant. The focus of this report is to provide a review and final status of mitigation actions performed through FY2004. Data collected since FY1999 have been included where appropriate. The Mitigation Action Plan (MAP) for Project W-519 prescribed three general actions to be performed as mitigation for the disturbance of approximately 40 ha (100 acres) of mature sagebrush-steppe habitat. These actions included: (1) transplanting approximately 130,000 sagebrush seedlings on the Fitzner-Eberhardt Arid Lands Ecology Reserve (ALE); (2) rectification of the new transmission line corridor via seeding with native grasses and sagebrush; and (3) research on native plant species with a goal of increasing species diversity in future mitigation or restoration actions. Nearly 130,000 Wyoming big sagebrush seedlings where planted on ALE during FY2000 and FY2001. About 39,000 of those seedlings were burned during the 24-Command Fire of June 2000. The surviving and subsequent replanting has resulted in about 91,000 seedlings that were planted across four general areas on ALE. A 50% survival rate at any monitoring period was defined as the performance standard in the MAP for this project. Data collected in 2004 indicate that of the over 5000 monitored plants, 51.1% are still alive, and of those the majority are thriving and blooming. These results support the potential for natural recruitment and the ultimate goal of wildlife habitat replacement. Thus, the basic performance standard for sagebrush survival within the habitat compensation planting has been met. Monitoring activities conducted in 2004 indicate considerable variation in seedling survival depending on the type of plant material, site conditions, and to a lesser extent, treatments performed at the time of planting

  19. W-519 Sagebrush Mitigation Project FY-2004 Final Review and Status

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Durham, Robin E.; Sackschewsky, Michael R.

    2004-01-01

    This report/SUMmarizes activities conducted as mitigation for loss of sagebrush-steppe habitats due to Project W-519, the construction of the infrastructure for the Tank Waste Remediation System Vitrification Plant. The focus of this report is to provide a review and final status of mitigation actions performed through FY2004. Data collected since FY1999 have been included where appropriate. The Mitigation Action Plan (MAP) for Project W-519 prescribed three general actions to be performed as mitigation for the disturbance of approximately 40 ha (100 acres) of mature sagebrush-steppe habitat. These actions included: (1) transplanting approximately 130,000 sagebrush seedlings on the Fitzner-Eberhardt Arid Lands Ecology Reserve (ALE); (2) rectification of the new transmission line corridor via seeding with native grasses and sagebrush; and (3) research on native plant species with a goal of increasing species diversity in future mitigation or restoration actions. Nearly 130,000 Wyoming big sagebrush seedlings where planted on ALE during FY2000 and FY2001. About 39,000 of those seedlings were burned during the 24-Command Fire of June 2000. The surviving and subsequent replanting has resulted in about 91,000 seedlings that were planted across four general areas on ALE. A 50% survival rate at any monitoring period was defined as the performance standard in the MAP for this project. Data collected in 2004 indicate that of the over 5000 monitored plants, 51.1% are still alive, and of those the majority are thriving and blooming. These results support the potential for natural recruitment and the ultimate goal of wildlife habitat replacement. Thus, the basic performance standard for sagebrush survival within the habitat compensation planting has been met. Monitoring activities conducted in 2004 indicate considerable variation in seedling survival depending on the type of plant material, site conditions, and to a lesser extent, treatments performed at the time of planting

  20. Multi-scale remote sensing sagebrush characterization with regression trees over Wyoming, USA: laying a foundation for monitoring

    Science.gov (United States)

    Homer, Collin G.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Meyer, Debra K.; Schell, Spencer J.

    2012-01-01

    agebrush ecosystems in North America have experienced extensive degradation since European settlement. Further degradation continues from exotic invasive plants, altered fire frequency, intensive grazing practices, oil and gas development, and climate change – adding urgency to the need for ecosystem-wide understanding. Remote sensing is often identified as a key information source to facilitate ecosystem-wide characterization, monitoring, and analysis; however, approaches that characterize sagebrush with sufficient and accurate local detail across large enough areas to support this paradigm are unavailable. We describe the development of a new remote sensing sagebrush characterization approach for the state of Wyoming, U.S.A. This approach integrates 2.4 m QuickBird, 30 m Landsat TM, and 56 m AWiFS imagery into the characterization of four primary continuous field components including percent bare ground, percent herbaceous cover, percent litter, and percent shrub, and four secondary components including percent sagebrush (Artemisia spp.), percent big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), percent Wyoming sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Wyomingensis), and shrub height using a regression tree. According to an independent accuracy assessment, primary component root mean square error (RMSE) values ranged from 4.90 to 10.16 for 2.4 m QuickBird, 6.01 to 15.54 for 30 m Landsat, and 6.97 to 16.14 for 56 m AWiFS. Shrub and herbaceous components outperformed the current data standard called LANDFIRE, with a shrub RMSE value of 6.04 versus 12.64 and a herbaceous component RMSE value of 12.89 versus 14.63. This approach offers new advancements in sagebrush characterization from remote sensing and provides a foundation to quantitatively monitor these components into the future.

  1. Uptake and kinetics of 226Ra, 210Pb and 210Po in big sagebrush

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Simon, S.L.

    1985-01-01

    Root uptake of 226 Ra, 210 Pb and 210 Po by mature sagebrush was studied using a soil injection method for spiking the soil with minimal root disturbance. The main objective was to measure vegetation concentrations and determine concentration ratios (CR's) due to root uptake as a function of time in mature big sagebrush. Concentration ratios obtained in mature vegetation and in steady-state situations may be valuable in assessing the impact of uranium mining and milling. The vegetation was sampled approximately every 3 months for a 2 year period. Significant levels of activity were detected in the vegetation beginning at the first sampling (81 days after soil injection for 226 Ra, 28 days for 210 Pb and 210 Po). There was an exponential decrease in concentration to an apparent steady-state value. Mean values (geometric) of the data pooled over the second year period indicated that the steady-state CR's for 226 Ra, 210 Pb and 210 Po, as determined in mature sagebrush, were 0.04, 0.009, and 0.08, respectively. A three compartment mathematical model was formulated to help understand mechanisms of plant uptake and to predict, if possible, the concentration of 226 Ra, 210 Pb and 210 Po in vegetation as a function of time after soil spiking. A numerical solution was determined by 'calibrating' the general model solution with constants determined from regressions of concentrations in vegetation, soil leaching and leaf leaching data. Validation of the model is currently not possible because of an absence of similar time-dependent uptake studies. 168 refs., 19 figs., 18 tabs

  2. A cross-scale approach to understand drought-induced variability of sagebrush ecosystem productivity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Assal, T.; Anderson, P. J.

    2016-12-01

    Sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) mortality has recently been reported in the Upper Green River Basin (Wyoming, USA) of the sagebrush steppe of western North America. Numerous causes have been suggested, but recent drought (2012-13) is the likely mechanism of mortality in this water-limited ecosystem which provides critical habitat for many species of wildlife. An understanding of the variability in patterns of productivity with respect to climate is essential to exploit landscape scale remote sensing for detection of subtle changes associated with mortality in this sparse, uniformly vegetated ecosystem. We used the standardized precipitation index to characterize drought conditions and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite imagery (250-m resolution) to characterize broad characteristics of growing season productivity. We calculated per-pixel growing season anomalies over a 16-year period (2000-2015) to identify the spatial and temporal variability in productivity. Metrics derived from Landsat satellite imagery (30-m resolution) were used to further investigate trends within anomalous areas at local scales. We found evidence to support an initial hypothesis that antecedent winter drought was most important in explaining reduced productivity. The results indicate drought effects were inconsistent over space and time. MODIS derived productivity deviated by more than four standard deviations in heavily impacted areas, but was well within the interannual variability in other areas. Growing season anomalies highlighted dramatic declines in productivity during the 2012 and 2013 growing seasons. However, large negative anomalies persisted in other areas during the 2014 growing season, indicating lag effects of drought. We are further investigating if the reduction in productivity is mediated by local biophysical properties. Our analysis identified spatially explicit patterns of ecosystem properties altered by severe drought which are consistent with

  3. Spatial variability in cost and success of revegetation in a Wyoming big sagebrush community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boyd, Chad S; Davies, Kirk W

    2012-09-01

    The ecological integrity of the Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. wyomingensis Beetle and A. Young) alliance is being severely interrupted by post-fire invasion of non-native annual grasses. To curtail this invasion, successful post-fire revegetation of perennial grasses is required. Environmental factors impacting post-fire restoration success vary across space within the Wyoming big sagebrush alliance; however, most restorative management practices are applied uniformly. Our objectives were to define probability of revegetation success over space using relevant soil-related environmental factors, use this information to model cost of successful revegetation and compare the importance of vegetation competition and soil factors to revegetation success. We studied a burned Wyoming big sagebrush landscape in southeast Oregon that was reseeded with perennial grasses. We collected soil and vegetation data at plots spaced at 30 m intervals along a 1.5 km transect in the first two years post-burn. Plots were classified as successful (>5 seedlings/m(2)) or unsuccessful based on density of seeded species. Using logistic regression we found that abundance of competing vegetation correctly predicted revegetation success on 51 % of plots, and soil-related variables correctly predicted revegetation performance on 82.4 % of plots. Revegetation estimates varied from $167.06 to $43,033.94/ha across the 1.5 km transect based on probability of success, but were more homogenous at larger scales. Our experimental protocol provides managers with a technique to identify important environmental drivers of restoration success and this process will be of value for spatially allocating logistical and capital expenditures in a variable restoration environment.

  4. Integrated disposal Facility Sagebrush Habitat Mitigation Project: FY2007 Compensation Area Monitoring Report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Durham, Robin E.; Sackschewsky, Michael R.

    2007-09-01

    This report summarizes the first year survival of sagebrush seedlings planted as compensatory mitigation for the Integrated Disposal Facility Project. Approximately 42,600 bare root seedlings and 26,000 pluglings were planted at a mitigation site along Army Loop Road in February 2007. Initial baseline monitoring occurred in March 2007, and first summer survival was assessed in September 2007. Overall survival was 19%, with bare root survival being marginally better than pluglings (21% versus 14%). Likely major factors contributing to low survival were late season planting and insufficient soil moisture during seedling establishment.

  5. History of fire and Douglas-fir establishment in a savanna and sagebrush-grassland mosaic, southwestern Montana, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Emily K. Heyerdahl; Richard F. Miller; Russell A. Parsons

    2006-01-01

    Over the past century, trees have encroached into grass- and shrublands across western North America. These include Douglas-fir trees (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco var. glauca (Beissn.) Franco) encroaching into mountain big sagebrush Nutt. ssp. vaseyana (Rydb.) Beetle) from stable islands of savanna in...

  6. Conservation and restoration of sagebrush ecosystems and sage-grouse: An assessment of USDA Forest Service Science

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deborah M. Finch; Douglas A. Boyce; Jeanne C. Chambers; Chris J. Colt; Kas Dumroese; Stanley G. Kitchen; Clinton McCarthy; Susan E. Meyer; Bryce A. Richardson; Mary M. Rowland; Mark A. Rumble; Michael K. Schwartz; Monica S. Tomosy; Michael J. Wisdom

    2016-01-01

    Sagebrush ecosystems are among the largest and most threatened ecosystems in North America. Greater sage-grouse has served as the bellwether for species conservation in these ecosystems and has been considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act eight times. In September 2015, the decision was made not to list greater sage-grouse, but to reevaluate its status...

  7. The effect of herbaceous species removal, fire and cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) on soil water availability in sagebrush steppe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alison Whittaker; Bruce Roundy; Jeanne Chambers; Susan Meyer; Robert Blank; Stanley Kitchen; John Korfmacher

    2008-01-01

    Over the past several decades, cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) has been continually expanding in the sagebrush steppe ecosystem. There has been very little research that examines why cheatgrass is able to invade these communities. To determine the effects of herbaceous vegetation removal and fire on available water for cheatgrass invasion, as well as...

  8. Evolutionary and ecological implications of genome size in the North American endemic sagebrushes and allies (Artemisia, Asteraceae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sonia Garcia; Miguel A. Canela; Teresa Garnatje; E. Durant McArthur; Jaume Pellicer; Stewart C. Sanderson; Joan Valles

    2008-01-01

    The genome size of 51 populations of 20 species of the North American endemic sagebrushes (subgenus Tridentatae), related species, and some hybrid taxa were assessed by flow cytometry, and were analysed in a phylogenetic framework. Results were similar for most Tridentatae species, with the exception of three taxonomically conflictive species: Artemisia bigelovii Gray...

  9. Plant age, communication, and resistance to herbivores: young sagebrush plants are better emitters and receivers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shiojiri, Kaori; Karban, Richard

    2006-08-01

    Plants progress through a series of distinct stages during development, although the role of plant ontogeny in their defenses against herbivores is poorly understood. Recent work indicates that many plants activate systemic induced resistance after herbivore attack, although the relationship between resistance and ontogeny has not been a focus of this work. In addition, for sagebrush and a few other species, individuals near neighbors that experience simulated herbivory become more resistant to subsequent attack. Volatile, airborne cues are required for both systemic induced resistance among branches and for communication among individuals. We conducted experiments in stands of sagebrush of mixed ages to determine effects of plant age on volatile signaling between branches and individuals. Young and old control plants did not differ in levels of chewing damage that they experienced. Systemic induced resistance among branches was only observed for young plants. Young plants showed strong evidence of systemic resistance only if airflow was permitted among branches; plants with only vascular connections showed no systemic resistance. We also found evidence for volatile communication between individuals. For airborne communication, young plants were more effective emitters of cues as well as more responsive receivers of volatile cues.

  10. Selection of anthropogenic features and vegetation characteristics by nesting Common Ravens in the sagebrush ecosystem

    Science.gov (United States)

    Howe, Kristy B.; Coates, Peter S.; Delehanty, David J.

    2014-01-01

    Common Raven (Corvus corax) numbers and distribution are increasing throughout the sagebrush steppe, influencing avian communities in complex ways. Anthropogenic structures are thought to increase raven populations by providing food and nesting subsidies, which is cause for concern because ravens are important nest predators of sensitive species, including Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). During 2007–2009, we located raven nests in southeastern Idaho and conducted a resource selection analysis. We measured variables at multiple spatial scales for 72 unique nest locations, including landscape-level vegetation characteristics and anthropogenic structures. Using generalized linear mixed models and an information-theoretic approach, we found a 31% decrease in the odds of nesting by ravens for every 1 km increase in distance away from a transmission line. Furthermore, a 100-m increase in distance away from the edge of two different land cover types decreased the odds of nesting by 20%, and an increase in the amount of edge by 1 km within an area of 102.1 ha centered on the nest increased the odds of nesting by 49%. A post hoc analysis revealed that ravens were most likely to nest near edges of adjoining big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) and land cover types that were associated with direct human disturbance or fire. These findings contribute to our understanding of raven expansion into rural environments and could be used to make better-informed conservation decisions, especially in the face of increasing renewable energy development.

  11. A conservation paradox in the Great Basin—Altering sagebrush landscapes with fuel breaks to reduce habitat loss from wildfire

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shinneman, Douglas J.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Coates, Peter S.; Germino, Matthew J.; Pilliod, David S.; Vaillant, Nicole M.

    2018-03-15

    Interactions between fire and nonnative, annual plant species (that is, “the grass/fire cycle”) represent one of the greatest threats to sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystems and associated wildlife, including the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). In 2015, U.S. Department of the Interior called for a “science-based strategy to reduce the threat of large-scale rangeland fire to habitat for the greater sage-grouse and the sagebrush-steppe ecosystem.” An associated guidance document, the “Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy Actionable Science Plan,” identified fuel breaks as high priority areas for scientific research. Fuel breaks are intended to reduce fire size and frequency, and potentially they can compartmentalize wildfire spatial distribution in a landscape. Fuel breaks are designed to reduce flame length, fireline intensity, and rates of fire spread in order to enhance firefighter access, improve response times, and provide safe and strategic anchor points for wildland fire-fighting activities. To accomplish these objectives, fuel breaks disrupt fuel continuity, reduce fuel accumulation, and (or) increase plants with high moisture content through the removal or modification of vegetation in strategically placed strips or blocks of land.Fuel breaks are being newly constructed, enhanced, or proposed across large areas of the Great Basin to reduce wildfire risk and to protect remaining sagebrush ecosystems (including greater sage-grouse habitat). These projects are likely to result in thousands of linear miles of fuel breaks that will have direct ecological effects across hundreds of thousands of acres through habitat loss and conversion. These projects may also affect millions of acres indirectly because of edge effects and habitat fragmentation created by networks of fuel breaks. Hence, land managers are often faced with a potentially paradoxical situation: the need to substantially alter sagebrush habitats with fuel breaks

  12. Simulating the Dependence of Sagebrush Steppe Vegetation on Redistributed Snow in a Semi-Arid Watershed.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soderquist, B.; Kavanagh, K.; Link, T. E.; Strand, E. K.; Seyfried, M. S.

    2014-12-01

    In mountainous regions across the western USA, the composition of aspen (Populus tremuloides) and sagebrush steppe plant communities is often closely related to heterogeneous soil moisture subsidies resulting from redistributed snow. With decades of climate and precipitation data across elevational and precipitation gradients, the Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed (RCEW) and critical zone observatory (CZO) in southwest Idaho provides a unique opportunity to study the relationship between vegetation types and redistributed snow. Within the RCEW, the total amount of precipitation has remained unchanged over the past 50 years, however the percentage of the precipitation falling as snow has declined by approximately 4% per decade at mid-elevation sites. As shifts in precipitation phase continue, future trends in vegetation composition and net primary productivity (NPP) of different plant functional types remains a critical question. We hypothesize that redistribution of snow may supplement drought sensitive species like aspen more so than drought tolerant species like mountain big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata spp. vaseyana). To assess the importance of snowdrift subsidies on sagebrush steppe vegetation, NPP of aspen, shrub, and grass species was simulated at three sites using the biogeochemical process model BIOME-BGC. Each site is located directly downslope from snowdrifts providing soil moisture inputs to aspen stands and neighboring vegetation. Drifts vary in size with the largest containing up to four times the snow water equivalent (SWE) of a uniform precipitation layer. Precipitation inputs used by BIOME-BGC were modified to represent the redistribution of snow and simulations were run using daily climate data from 1985-2013. Simulated NPP of annual grasses at each site was not responsive to subsidies from drifting snow. However, at the driest site, aspen and shrub annual NPP was increased by as much as 44 and 30%, respectively, with the redistribution of

  13. Assessing long-term variations in sagebrush habitat: characterization of spatial extents and distribution patterns using multi-temporal satellite remote-sensing data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xian, George; Homer, Collin G.; Aldridge, Cameron L.

    2012-01-01

    An approach that can generate sagebrush habitat change estimates for monitoring large-area sagebrush ecosystems has been developed and tested in southwestern Wyoming, USA. This prototype method uses a satellite-based image change detection algorithm and regression models to estimate sub-pixel percentage cover for five sagebrush habitat components: bare ground, herbaceous, litter, sagebrush and shrub. Landsat images from three different months in 1988, 1996 and 2006 were selected to identify potential landscape change during these time periods using change vector (CV) analysis incorporated with an image normalization algorithm. Regression tree (RT) models were used to estimate percentage cover for five components on all change areas identified in 1988 and 1996, using unchanged 2006 baseline data as training for both estimates. Over the entire study area (24 950 km2), a net increase of 98.83 km2, or 0.7%, for bare ground was measured between 1988 and 2006. Over the same period, the other four components had net losses of 20.17 km2, or 0.6%, for herbaceous vegetation; 30.16 km2, or 0.7%, for litter; 32.81 km2, or 1.5%, for sagebrush; and 33.34 km2, or 1.2%, for shrubs. The overall accuracy for shrub vegetation change between 1988 and 2006 was 89.56%. Change patterns within sagebrush habitat components differ spatially and quantitatively from each other, potentially indicating unique responses by these components to disturbances imposed upon them.

  14. Investigation of Great Basin big sagebrush and black greasewood as biogeochemical indicators of uranium mineralization. Final report. National Uranium Resource Evaluation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Diebold, F.E.; McGrath, S.

    1982-11-01

    The effects of varying phosphate concentrations in natural aqueous systems upon the uptake of uranium by big sagebrush (Artemesia tridentata subsp. tridentata) and black greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus (Hook) Torr.) were investigated. Two separate growth experiments with five drip-flow hyroponic units were used and plant seedlings were grown for 60 days in solutions of varying phosphate and uranium concentrations. Successful growth experiments were obtained only for big sagebrush; black greasewood did not sustain sufficient growth. The phosphate concentration of the water did affect the uptake of uranium by the big sagebrush, and this effect is most pronounced in the region of higher concentrations of uranium in the water. The ratio of the concentration of uranium in the plant to that in the water was observed to decrease with increasing uranium concentration in solution. This is indicative of an absorption barrier in the plants. The field data shows that big sagebrush responds to uranium concentrations in the soil water and not the groundwater. The manifestation of these results is that the use of big sagebrush as a biogeochemical indicator of uranium is not recommended. Since the concentration of phosphate must also be knwon in the water supplying the uranium to the plant, one should analyze this natural aqueous phase as a hydrochemical indicator rather than the big sagebrush

  15. Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to Assess Vegetative Cover in Sagebrush Steppe Ecosytstems

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Robert P. Breckenridge

    2005-09-01

    The Idaho National Laboratory (INL), in conjunction with the University of Idaho, is evaluating novel approaches for using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as a quicker and safer method for monitoring biotic resources. Evaluating vegetative cover is an important factor in understanding the sustainability of many ecosystems. In assessing vegetative cover, methods that improve accuracy and cost efficiency could revolutionize how biotic resources are monitored on western federal lands. Sagebrush steppe ecosystems provide important habitat for a variety of species, some of which are important indicator species (e.g., sage grouse). Improved methods are needed to support monitoring these habitats because there are not enough resource specialists or funds available for comprehensive ground evaluation of these ecosystems. In this project, two types of UAV platforms (fixed wing and helicopter) were used to collect still-frame imagery to assess cover in sagebrush steppe ecosystems. This paper discusses the process for collecting and analyzing imagery from the UAVs to (1) estimate total percent cover, (2) estimate percent cover for six different types of vegetation, and (3) locate sage grouse based on representative decoys. The field plots were located on the INL site west of Idaho Falls, Idaho, in areas with varying amounts and types of vegetative cover. A software program called SamplePoint developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) was used to evaluate the imagery for percent cover for the six vegetation types (bare ground, litter, shrubs, dead shrubs, grasses, and forbs). Results were compared against standard field measurements to assess accuracy.

  16. Forecasting sagebrush ecosystem components and greater sage-grouse habitat for 2050: learning from past climate patterns and Landsat imagery to predict the future

    Science.gov (United States)

    Homer, Collin G.; Xian, George Z.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Meyer, Debra K.; Loveland, Thomas R.; O'Donnell, Michael S.

    2015-01-01

    Sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystems constitute the largest single North American shrub ecosystem and provide vital ecological, hydrological, biological, agricultural, and recreational ecosystem services. Disturbances have altered and reduced this ecosystem historically, but climate change may ultimately represent the greatest future risk. Improved ways to quantify, monitor, and predict climate-driven gradual change in this ecosystem is vital to its future management. We examined the annual change of Daymet precipitation (daily gridded climate data) and five remote sensing ecosystem sagebrush vegetation and soil components (bare ground, herbaceous, litter, sagebrush, and shrub) from 1984 to 2011 in southwestern Wyoming. Bare ground displayed an increasing trend in abundance over time, and herbaceous, litter, shrub, and sagebrush showed a decreasing trend. Total precipitation amounts show a downward trend during the same period. We established statistically significant correlations between each sagebrush component and historical precipitation records using a simple least squares linear regression. Using the historical relationship between sagebrush component abundance and precipitation in a linear model, we forecasted the abundance of the sagebrush components in 2050 using Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) precipitation scenarios A1B and A2. Bare ground was the only component that increased under both future scenarios, with a net increase of 48.98 km2 (1.1%) across the study area under the A1B scenario and 41.15 km2 (0.9%) under the A2 scenario. The remaining components decreased under both future scenarios: litter had the highest net reductions with 49.82 km2 (4.1%) under A1B and 50.8 km2 (4.2%) under A2, and herbaceous had the smallest net reductions with 39.95 km2 (3.8%) under A1B and 40.59 km2 (3.3%) under A2. We applied the 2050 forecast sagebrush component values to contemporary (circa 2006) greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus

  17. Mercury distribution in two Sierran forest and one desert sagebrush steppe ecosystems and the effects of fire

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Engle, Mark A.; Sexauer Gustin, Mae; Johnson, Dale W.; Murphy, James F.; Miller, Wally W.; Walker, Roger F.; Wright, Joan; Markee, Melissa

    2006-01-01

    Mercury (Hg) concentration, reservoir mass, and Hg reservoir size were determined for vegetation components, litter, and mineral soil for two Sierran forest sites and one desert sagebrush steppe site. Mercury was found to be held primarily in the mineral soil (maximum depth of 60 to 100 cm), which contained more than 90% of the total ecosystem reservoir. However, Hg in foliage, bark, and litter plays a more dominant role in Hg cycling than the mineral soil. Mercury partitioning into ecosystem components at the Sierran forest sites was similar to that observed for other US forest sites. Vegetation and litter Hg reservoirs were significantly smaller in the sagebrush steppe system because of lower biomass. Data collected from these ecosystems after wildfire and prescribed burns showed a significant decrease in the Hg pool from certain reservoirs. No loss from mineral soil was observed for the study areas but data from fire severity points suggested that Hg in the upper few millimeters of surface soil may be volatilized due to exposure to elevated temperatures. Comparison of data from burned and unburned plots suggested that the only significant source of atmospheric Hg from the prescribed burn was combustion of litter. Differences in unburned versus burned Hg reservoirs at the forest wildfire site demonstrated that drastic reduction in the litter and above ground live biomass Hg reservoirs after burning had occurred. Sagebrush and litter were absent in the burned plots after a wildfire suggesting that both reservoirs were released during the fire. Mercury emissions due to fire from the forest prescribed burn, forest wildfire, and sagebrush steppe wildfire sites were roughly estimated at 2.0 to 5.1, 2.2 to 4.9, and 0.36 ± 0.13 g ha -1 , respectively, with litter and vegetation being the most important sources

  18. A synopsis of short-term response to alternative restoration treatments in sagebrush-steppe: the SageSTEP project

    Science.gov (United States)

    McIver, James; Brunson, Mark; Bunting, Steve; Chambers, Jeanne; Doescher, Paul; Grace, James; Hulet, April; Johnson, Dale; Knick, Steven T.; Miller, Richard; Pellant, Mike; Pierson, Fred; Pyke, David; Rau, Benjamin; Rollins, Kim; Roundy, Bruce; Schupp, Eugene; Tausch, Robin; Williams, Jason

    2014-01-01

    The Sagebrush Steppe Treatment Evaluation Project (SageSTEP) is an integrated long-term study that evaluates ecological effects of alternative treatments designed to reduce woody fuels and to stimulate the herbaceous understory of sagebrush steppe communities of the Intermountain West. This synopsis summarizes results through 3 yr posttreatment. Woody vegetation reduction by prescribed fire, mechanical treatments, or herbicides initiated a cascade of effects, beginning with increased availability of nitrogen and soil water, followed by increased growth of herbaceous vegetation. Response of butterflies and magnitudes of runoff and erosion closely followed herbaceous vegetation recovery. Effects on shrubs, biological soil crust, tree cover, surface woody fuel loads, and sagebrush-obligate bird communities will take longer to be fully expressed. In the short term, cool wet sites were more resilient than warm dry sites, and resistance was mostly dependent on pretreatment herbaceous cover. At least 10 yr of posttreatment time will likely be necessary to determine outcomes for most sites. Mechanical treatments did not serve as surrogates for prescribed fire in how each influenced the fuel bed, the soil, erosion, and sage-obligate bird communities. Woody vegetation reduction by any means resulted in increased availability of soil water, higher herbaceous cover, and greater butterfly numbers. We identified several trade-offs (desirable outcomes for some variables, undesirable for others), involving most components of the study system. Trade-offs are inevitable when managing complex natural systems, and they underline the importance of asking questions about the whole system when developing management objectives. Substantial spatial and temporal heterogeneity in sagebrush steppe ecosystems emphasizes the point that there will rarely be a “recipe” for choosing management actions on any specific area. Use of a consistent evaluation process linked to monitoring may be the

  19. Legacy effects of no-analogue disturbances alter plant community diversity and composition in semi-arid sagebrush steppe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ripplinger, Julie; Franklin, Janet; Edwards, Thomas C.

    2015-01-01

    Questions(i) What role does the type of managed disturbance play in structuring sagebrush steppe plant communities? (ii) How does the composition of post-disturbance plant communities change with time since disturbance? (iii) Does plant community diversity change over time following managed disturbance?LocationField study within the sagebrush steppe ecosystem. Rich County, Utah, USA.MethodsWe developed a chronosequence spanning up to 50 yrs post-treatment to study sagebrush steppe vegetation dynamics. Direct ordination was used to examine plant community composition by managed disturbance type and time since disturbance, and factorial analysis of covariance was used to examine diversity dynamics following disturbance. Indicator species values were calculated in order to identify characteristic species for each disturbance type.ResultsPlant communities experienced a shift toward distinct community composition for each of the three managed disturbance types, and gave no indication of returning to untreated community composition or diversity. Small post-disturbance increases in the number of non-native grass species were observed in the treatments relative to reference, with native forb species making the largest contribution to altered composition. On fire- and chemically-treated sites the proportional native forb species richness increased over time since disturbance, while the proportional contribution of non-native forbs to total species richness decreased. For all three treatment types, native grasses contributed less on average to total richness than on reference sites, while non-native grasses made up a higher proportion of total richness.ConclusionsCommon shrubland management techniques have legacy effects on the composition and diversity of sagebrush steppe plant communities, and no-analogue disturbances, such as chemical or mechanical treatments, have more pronounced legacy effects than treatments similar to natural disturbance regimes (fire). This study

  20. Gold and other metals in big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) as an exploration tool, Gold Run District, Humboldt County, Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erdman, J.A.; Cookro, T.M.; O'Leary, R. M.; Harms, T.F.

    1988-01-01

    Big sagebrush - a cold-desert species that dominates the terrain over large parts of western United States - was sampled along several traverses that crossed thermally metamorphosed limestone, phyllitic shale, and schist of the Middle and Upper Cambrian Preble Formation that host skarn-, disseminated gold and silver-, and hot springs gold-type mineral occurrences. Patterns of detectable levels of gold (8 to 28 ppb or ng g-1) in ash of new growth were consistent with areas affected by known or suspected gold mineralization. Soils collected along one of the traverses where a selenium-indicator plant was common contained no gold above background levels of 2ppb, but were consistently high in As, Sb, and Zn, and several samples were unusually high in Se (maximum 11 ppm or ??g g-1). Sagebrush along this traverse contained Li at levels above norms for this species. We also found a puzzling geochemical anomaly at a site basinward from active hot springs along a range-front fault scarp. Sagebrush at this site contained a trace of gold and an unusually high concentration of Cd (13 ppm) and the soil had anomalous concentrations of Cd and Bi (3.2 and 6 ppm, respectively). The source of this anomaly could be either metal-rich waters from an irrigation ditch or leakage along a buried fault. Despite the limited nature of the study, we conclude that gold in sagebrush could be a cost-effective guide to drilling locations in areas where the geology seems favorable for disseminated and vein precious metals. ?? 1988.

  1. Range-wide assessment of livestock grazing across the sagebrush biome

    Science.gov (United States)

    Veblen, Kari E.; Pyke, David A.; Jones, Christopher A.; Casazza, Michael L.; Assal, Timothy J.; Farinha, Melissa A.

    2011-01-01

    Domestic livestock grazing occurs in virtually all sagebrush habitats and is a prominent disturbance factor. By affecting habitat condition and trend, grazing influences the resources required by, and thus, the distribution and abundance of sagebrush-obligate wildlife species (for example, sage-grouse Centrocercus spp.). Yet, the risks that livestock grazing may pose to these species and their habitats are not always clear. Although livestock grazing intensity and associated habitat condition may be known in many places at the local level, we have not yet been able to answer questions about use, condition, and trend at the landscape scale or at the range-wide scale for wildlife species. A great deal of information about grazing use, management regimes, and ecological condition exists at the local level (for individual livestock management units) under the oversight of organizations such as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). However, the extent, quality, and types of existing data are unknown, which hinders the compilation, mapping, or analysis of these data. Once compiled, these data may be helpful for drawing conclusions about rangeland status, and we may be able to identify relationships between those data and wildlife habitat at the landscape scale. The overall objective of our study was to perform a range-wide assessment of livestock grazing effects (and the relevant supporting data) in sagebrush ecosystems managed by the BLM. Our assessments and analyses focused primarily on local-level management and data collected at the scale of BLM grazing allotments (that is, individual livestock management units). Specific objectives included the following: 1. Identify and refine existing range-wide datasets to be used for analyses of livestock grazing effects on sagebrush ecosystems. 2. Assess the extent, quality, and types of livestock grazing-related natural resource data collected by BLM range-wide (i.e., across allotments, districts and regions). 3. Compile and

  2. Using resistance and resilience concepts to reduce impacts of invasive annual grasses and altered fire regimes on the sagebrush ecosystem and greater sage-grouse: A strategic multi-scale approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jeanne C. Chambers; David A. Pyke; Jeremy D. Maestas; Mike Pellant; Chad S. Boyd; Steven B. Campbell; Shawn Espinosa; Douglas W. Havlina; Kenneth E. Mayer; Amarina Wuenschel

    2014-01-01

    This Report provides a strategic approach for conservation of sagebrush ecosystems and Greater Sage- Grouse (sage-grouse) that focuses specifically on habitat threats caused by invasive annual grasses and altered fire regimes. It uses information on factors that influence (1) sagebrush ecosystem resilience to disturbance and resistance to invasive annual grasses and (2...

  3. Science framework for conservation and restoration of the sagebrush biome: Linking the Department of the Interior’s Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy to long-term strategic conservation actions

    Science.gov (United States)

    J.C. Chambers; J.L. Beck; J.B. Bradford; J. Bybee; S. Campbell; J. Carlson; T.J. Christiansen; K.J. Clause; G. Collins; M.R. Crist; J.B. Dinkins; K.E. Doherty; F. Edwards; S. Espinosa; K.A. Griffin; P. Griffin; J.R. Haas; S.E. Hanser; D.W. Havlina; K.F. Henke; J.D. Hennig; L.A. Joyce; F.M. Kilkenny; S.M. Kulpa; L.L. Kurth; J.D. Maestas; M. Manning; K.E. Mayer; B.A. Mealor; C. McCarthy; M. Pellant; M.A. Perea; K.L. Prentice; D.A. Pyke; L.A. Wiechman; A. Wuenschel

    2017-01-01

    The Science Framework is intended to link the Department of the Interior’s Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy with long-term strategic conservation actions in the sagebrush biome. The Science Framework provides a multiscale approach for prioritizing areas for management and determining effective management strategies within the sagebrush biome. The emphasis...

  4. Using resilience and resistance concepts to manage threats to sagebrush ecosystems, Gunnison sage-grouse, and Greater sage-grouse in their eastern range: A strategic multi-scale approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jeanne C. Chambers; Jeffrey L. Beck; Steve Campbell; John Carlson; Thomas J. Christiansen; Karen J. Clause; Jonathan B. Dinkins; Kevin E. Doherty; Kathleen A. Griffin; Douglas W. Havlina; Kenneth F. Henke; Jacob D. Hennig; Laurie L. Kurth; Jeremy D. Maestas; Mary Manning; Kenneth E. Mayer; Brian A. Mealor; Clinton McCarthy; Marco A. Perea; David A. Pyke

    2016-01-01

    This report provides a strategic approach developed by a Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies interagency working group for conservation of sagebrush ecosystems, Greater sage-grouse, and Gunnison sage-grouse. It uses information on (1) factors that influence sagebrush ecosystem resilience to disturbance and resistance to nonnative invasive annual grasses...

  5. Insect community responses to climate and weather across elevation gradients in the Sagebrush Steppe, eastern Oregon

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pilliod, David S.; Rohde, Ashley T.

    2016-11-17

    Executive SummaryIn this study, the U.S. Geological Survey investigated the use of insects as bioindicators of climate change in sagebrush steppe shrublands and grasslands in the Upper Columbia Basin. The research was conducted in the Stinkingwater and Pueblo mountain ranges in eastern Oregon on lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management.We used a “space-for-time” sampling design that related insect communities to climate and weather along elevation gradients. We analyzed our insect dataset at three levels of organization: (1) whole-community, (2) feeding guilds (detritivores, herbivores, nectarivores, parasites, and predators), and (3) orders within nectarivores (i.e., pollinators). We captured 59,517 insects from 176 families and 10 orders at the Pueblo Mountains study area and 112,305 insects from 185 families and 11 orders at the Stinkingwater Mountains study area in 2012 and 2013. Of all the individuals captured at the Stinkingwater Mountains study area, 77,688 were from the family Cecidomyiidae (Diptera, gall gnats).We found that the composition of insect communities was associated with variability in long-term (30-yr) temperature and interannual fluctuations in temperature. We found that captures of certain fly, bee, moth, and butterfly pollinators were more strongly associated with some climate and vegetation variables than others. We found that timing of emergence, as measured by first detection of families, was associated with elevation. When analyzed by feeding guilds, we found that all guilds emerged later at high elevations except for detritivores, which emerged earlier at high elevations. The abundance of most taxa varied through time, mostly in response to temperature and precipitation. Of the pollinators, bees (particularly, Halictidae and Megachilidae) peaked in abundance in late June and early July, whereas butterflies and moths peaked in August. Flies peaked in abundance in July.Overall, our interpretation of these patterns is that

  6. Aeolian nutrient fluxes following wildfire in sagebrush steppe: implications for soil carbon storage

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    N. J. Hasselquist

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available Pulses of aeolian transport following fire can profoundly affect the biogeochemical cycling of nutrients in semi-arid and arid ecosystems. Our objective was to determine horizontal nutrient fluxes occurring in the saltation zone during an episodic pulse of aeolian transport that occurred following a wildfire in a semi-arid sagebrush steppe ecosystem in southern Idaho, USA. We also examined how temporal trends in nutrient fluxes were affected by changes in particle sizes of eroded mass as well as nutrient concentrations associated with different particle size classes. In the burned area, total carbon (C and nitrogen (N fluxes were as high as 235 g C m−1 d−1 and 19 g N m−1 d−1 during the first few months following fire, whereas C and N fluxes were negligible in an adjacent unburned area throughout the study. Temporal variation in C and N fluxes following fire was largely attributable to the redistribution of saltation-sized particles. Total N and organic C concentrations in the soil surface were significantly lower in the burned relative to the unburned area one year after fire. Our results show how an episodic pulse of aeolian transport following fire can affect the spatial distribution of soil C and N, which, in turn, can have important implications for soil C storage. These findings demonstrate how an ecological disturbance can exacerbate a geomorphic process and highlight the need for further research to better understand the role aeolian transport plays in the biogeochemical cycling of C and N in recently burned landscapes.

  7. Weak interspecific interactions in a sagebrush steppe? Conflicting evidence from observations and experiments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adler, Peter B; Kleinhesselink, Andrew; Giles, Hooker; Taylor, J Bret; Teller, Brittany; Ellner, Stephen P

    2018-04-28

    Stable coexistence requires intraspecific limitations to be stronger than interspecific limitations. The greater the difference between intra- and interspecific limitations, the more stable the coexistence, and the weaker the competitive release any species should experience following removal of competitors. We conducted a removal experiment to test whether a previously estimated model, showing surprisingly weak interspecific competition for four dominant species in a sagebrush steppe, accurately predicts competitive release. Our treatments were 1) removal of all perennial grasses and 2) removal of the dominant shrub, Artemisia tripartita. We regressed survival, growth and recruitment on the locations, sizes, and species identities of neighboring plants, along with an indicator variable for removal treatment. If our "baseline" regression model, which accounts for local plant-plant interactions, accurately explains the observed responses to removals, then the removal coefficient should be non-significant. For survival, the removal coefficients were never significantly different from zero, and only A. tripartita showed a (negative) response to removals at the recruitment stage. For growth, the removal treatment effect was significant and positive for two species, Poa secunda and Pseudoroegneria spicata, indicating that the baseline model underestimated interspecific competition. For all three grass species, population models based on the vital rate regressions that included removal effects projected 1.4 to 3-fold increases in equilibrium population size relative to the baseline model (no removal effects). However, we found no evidence of higher response to removal in quadrats with higher pretreatment cover of A. tripartita, or by plants experiencing higher pre-treatment crowding by A. tripartita, raising questions about the mechanisms driving the positive response to removal. While our results show the value of combining observations with a simple removal experiment

  8. Consequences of pre-inoculation with native arbuscular mycorrhizae on root colonization and survival of Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis (Wyoming big sagebrush) seedlings after transplanting

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bill Eugene Davidson

    2015-01-01

    Inoculation of seedlings with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) is a common practice aimed at improving seedling establishment. The success of this practice largely depends on the ability of the inoculum to multiply and colonize the growing root system after transplanting. These events were investigated in Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis (Wyoming big sagebrush...

  9. Indicators of ecosystem function identify alternate states in the sagebrush steppe.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kachergis, Emily; Rocca, Monique E; Fernandez-Gimenez, Maria E

    2011-10-01

    Models of ecosystem change that incorporate nonlinear dynamics and thresholds, such as state-and-transition models (STMs), are increasingly popular tools for land management decision-making. However, few models are based on systematic collection and documentation of ecological data, and of these, most rely solely on structural indicators (species composition) to identify states and transitions. As STMs are adopted as an assessment framework throughout the United States, finding effective and efficient ways to create data-driven models that integrate ecosystem function and structure is vital. This study aims to (1) evaluate the utility of functional indicators (indicators of rangeland health, IRH) as proxies for more difficult ecosystem function measurements and (2) create a data-driven STM for the sagebrush steppe of Colorado, USA, that incorporates both ecosystem structure and function. We sampled soils, plant communities, and IRH at 41 plots with similar clayey soils but different site histories to identify potential states and infer the effects of management practices and disturbances on transitions. We found that many IRH were correlated with quantitative measures of functional indicators, suggesting that the IRH can be used to approximate ecosystem function. In addition to a reference state that functions as expected for this soil type, we identified four biotically and functionally distinct potential states, consistent with the theoretical concept of alternate states. Three potential states were related to management practices (chemical and mechanical shrub treatments and seeding history) while one was related only to ecosystem processes (erosion). IRH and potential states were also related to environmental variation (slope, soil texture), suggesting that there are environmental factors within areas with similar soils that affect ecosystem dynamics and should be noted within STMs. Our approach generated an objective, data-driven model of ecosystem dynamics

  10. Using resistance and resilience concepts to reduce impacts of annual grasses and altered fire regimes on the sagebrush ecosystem and sage-grouse- A strategic multi-scale approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chambers, Jeanne C.; Pyke, David A.; Maestas, Jeremy D.; Boyd, Chad S.; Campbell, Steve; Espinosa, Shawn; Havlina, Doug; Mayer, Kenneth F.; Wuenschel, Amarina

    2014-01-01

    This Report provides a strategic approach for conservation of sagebrush ecosystems and Greater Sage- Grouse (sage-grouse) that focuses specifically on habitat threats caused by invasive annual grasses and altered fire regimes. It uses information on factors that influence (1) sagebrush ecosystem resilience to disturbance and resistance to invasive annual grasses and (2) distribution, relative abundance, and persistence of sage-grouse populations to develop management strategies at both landscape and site scales. A sage-grouse habitat matrix links relative resilience and resistance of sagebrush ecosystems with sage-grouse habitat requirements for landscape cover of sagebrush to help decision makers assess risks and determine appropriate management strategies at landscape scales. Focal areas for management are assessed by overlaying matrix components with sage-grouse Priority Areas for Conservation (PACs), breeding bird densities, and specific habitat threats. Decision tools are discussed for determining the suitability of focal areas for treatment and the most appropriate management treatments.

  11. Science framework for conservation and restoration of the sagebrush biome: Linking the Department of the Interior’s Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy to long-term strategic conservation actions, Part 1. Science basis and applications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chambers, Jeanne C.; Beck, Jeffrey L.; Bradford, John B.; Bybee, Jared; Campbell, Steve; Carlson, John; Christiansen, Thomas J; Clause, Karen J.; Collins, Gail; Crist, Michele R.; Dinkins, Jonathan B.; Doherty, Kevin E.; Edwards, Fred; Espinosa, Shawn; Griffin, Kathleen A.; Griffin, Paul; Haas, Jessica R.; Hanser, Steven E.; Havlina, Douglas W.; Henke, Kenneth F.; Hennig, Jacob D.; Joyce, Linda A; Kilkenny, Francis F.; Kulpa, Sarah M; Kurth, Laurie L; Maestas, Jeremy D; Manning, Mary E.; Mayer, Kenneth E.; Mealor, Brian A.; McCarthy, Clinton; Pellant, Mike; Perea, Marco A.; Prentice, Karen L.; Pyke, David A.; Wiechman , Lief A.; Wuenschel, Amarina

    2017-01-01

    The Science Framework is intended to link the Department of the Interior’s Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy with long-term strategic conservation actions in the sagebrush biome. The Science Framework provides a multiscale approach for prioritizing areas for management and determining effective management strategies within the sagebrush biome. The emphasis is on sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystems and Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). The approach provided in the Science Framework links sagebrush ecosystem resilience to disturbance and resistance to nonnative, invasive plant species to species habitat information based on the distribution and abundance of focal species. A geospatial process is presented that overlays information on ecosystem resilience and resistance, species habitats, and predominant threats and that can be used at the mid-scale to prioritize areas for management. A resilience and resistance habitat matrix is provided that can help decisionmakers evaluate risks and determine appropriate management strategies. Prioritized areas and management strategies can be refined by managers and stakeholders at the local scale based on higher resolution data and local knowledge. Decision tools are discussed for determining appropriate management actions for areas that are prioritized for management. Geospatial data, maps, and models are provided through the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) ScienceBase and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Landscape Approach Data Portal. The Science Framework is intended to be adaptive and will be updated as additional data become available on other values and species at risk. It is anticipated that the Science Framework will be widely used to: (1) inform emerging strategies to conserve sagebrush ecosystems, sagebrush dependent species, and human uses of the sagebrush system, and (2) assist managers in prioritizing and planning on-the-ground restoration and mitigation actions across the sagebrush biome.

  12. Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to Assess Vegetative Cover and Identify Biotic Resources in Sagebrush Steppe Ecosystems: Preliminary Evaluation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Robert P. Breckenridge

    2006-04-01

    The Idaho National Laboratory (INL), in conjunction with the University of Idaho, is evaluating novel approaches for using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as a quicker and safer method for monitoring biotic resources. Evaluating vegetative cover is an important factor in understanding the sustainability of many ecosystems. In assessing vegetative cover, methods that improve accuracy and cost efficiency could revolutionize how biotic resources are monitored on western federal lands. Sagebrush steppe ecosystems provide important habitat for a variety of species, some of which are important indicator species (e.g., sage grouse). Improved methods are needed to support monitoring these habitats because there are not enough resource specialists or funds available for comprehensive ground evaluation of these ecosystems. In this project, two types of UAV platforms (fixed wing and helicopter) were used to collect still-frame imagery to assess cover in sagebrush steppe ecosystems. This paper discusses the process for collecting and analyzing imagery from the UAVs to (1) estimate total percent cover, (2) estimate percent cover for six different types of vegetation, and (3) locate sage grouse based on representative decoys. The field plots were located on the INL site west of Idaho Falls, Idaho, in areas with varying amounts and types of vegetative cover. A software program called SamplePoint developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service was used to evaluate the imagery for percent cover for the six vegetation types (bare ground, litter, shrubs, dead shrubs, grasses, and forbs). Results were compared against standard field measurements to assess accuracy.

  13. Data resources for range-wide assessment of livestock grazing across the sagebrush biome

    Science.gov (United States)

    Assal, T.J.; Veblen, K.E.; Farinha, M.A.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Casazza, Michael L.; Pyke, D.A.

    2012-01-01

    The data contained in this series were compiled, modified, and analyzed for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report "Range-Wide Assessment of Livestock Grazing Across the Sagebrush Biome." This report can be accessed through the USGS Publications Warehouse (online linkage: http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2011/1263/). The dataset contains spatial and tabular data related to Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Grazing Allotments. We reviewed the BLM national grazing allotment spatial dataset available from the GeoCommunicator National Integrated Land System (NILS) website in 2007 (http://www.geocommunicator.gov). We identified several limitations in those data and learned that some BLM State and/or field offices had updated their spatial data to rectify these limitations, but maintained the data outside of NILS. We contacted appropriate BLM offices (State or field, 25 in all) to obtain the most recent data, assessed the data, established a data development protocol, and compiled data into a topologically enforced dataset throughout the area of interest for this project (that is, the pre-settlement distribution of Greater Sage-Grouse in the Western United States). The final database includes three spatial datasets: Allotments (BLM Grazing Allotments), OUT_Polygons (nonallotment polygons used to ensure topology), and Duplicate_Polygon_Allotments. See Appendix 1 of the aforementioned report for complete methods. The tabular data presented here consists of information synthesized by the Land Health Standard (LHS) analysis (Appendix 2), and data obtained from the BLM Rangeland Administration System (http://www.blm.gov/ras/). In 2008, available LHS data for all allotments in all regions were compiled by BLM in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made by a private organization. The BLM provided us with a copy of these data. These data provided three major types of information that were of interest: (1) date(s) (if any) of the most recent LHS evaluation for each

  14. Data Report: Meteorological and Evapotranspiration Data from Sagebrush and Pinyon Pine/Juniper Communities at Pahute Mesa, Nevada National Security Site, 2011-2012

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jasoni, Richard L [DRI; Larsen, Jessica D [DRI; Lyles, Brad F. [DRI; Healey, John M [DRI; Cooper, Clay A [DRI; Hershey, Ronald L [DRI; Lefebre, Karen J [DRI

    2013-04-01

    Pahute Mesa is a groundwater recharge area at the Nevada National Security Site. Because underground nuclear testing was conducted at Pahute Mesa, groundwater recharge may transport radionuclides from underground test sites downward to the water table; the amount of groundwater recharge is also an important component of contaminant transport models. To estimate the amount of groundwater recharge at Pahute Mesa, an INFIL3.0 recharge-runoff model is being developed. Two eddy covariance (EC) stations were installed on Pahute Mesa to estimate evapotranspiration (ET) to support the groundwater recharge modeling project. This data report describes the methods that were used to estimate ET and collect meteorological data. Evapotranspiration was estimated for two predominant plant communities on Pahute Mesa; one site was located in a sagebrush plant community, the other site in a pinyon pine/juniper community. Annual ET was estimated to be 310±13.9 mm for the sagebrush site and 347±15.9 mm for the pinyon pine/juniper site (March 26, 2011 to March 26, 2012). Annual precipitation measured with unheated tipping bucket rain gauges was 179 mm at the sagebrush site and 159 mm at the pinyon pine/juniper site. Annual precipitation measured with bulk precipitation gauges was 222 mm at the sagebrush site and 227 mm at the pinyon pine/juniper site (March 21, 2011 to March 28, 2012). A comparison of tipping bucket versus bulk precipitation data showed that total precipitation measured by the tipping bucket rain gauges was 17 to 20 percent lower than the bulk precipitation gauges. These differences were most likely the result of the unheated tipping bucket precipitation gauges not measuring frozen precipitation as accurately as the bulk precipitation gauges. In this one-year study, ET exceeded precipitation at both study sites because estimates of ET included precipitation that fell during the winter of 2010-2011 prior to EC instrumentation and the precipitation gauges started

  15. Genotype, soil type, and locale effects on reciprocal transplant vigor, endophyte growth, and microbial functional diversity of a narrow sagebrush hybrid zone in Salt Creek Canyon, Utah

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miglia, K.J.; McArthur, E.D.; Redman, R.S.; Rodriguez, R.J.; Zak, J.C.; Freeman, D.C.

    2007-01-01

    When addressing the nature of ecological adaptation and environmental factors limiting population ranges and contributing to speciation, it is important to consider not only the plant's genotype and its response to the environment, but also any close interactions that it has with other organisms, specifically, symbiotic microorganisms. To investigate this, soils and seedlings were reciprocally transplanted into common gardens of the big sagebrush hybrid zone in Salt Creek Canyon, Utah, to determine location and edaphic effects on the fitness of parental and hybrid plants. Endophytic symbionts and functional microbial diversity of indigenous and transplanted soils and sagebrush plants were also examined. Strong selection occurred against the parental genotypes in the middle hybrid zone garden in middle hybrid zone soil; F1 hybrids had the highest fitness under these conditions. Neither of the parental genotypes had superior fitness in their indigenous soils and habitats; rather F1 hybrids with the nonindigenous maternal parent were superiorly fit. Significant garden-by-soil type interactions indicate adaptation of both plant and soil microorganisms to their indigenous soils and habitats, most notably in the middle hybrid zone garden in middle hybrid zone soil. Contrasting performances of F1 hybrids suggest asymmetrical gene flow with mountain, rather than basin, big sagebrush acting as the maternal parent. We showed that the microbial community impacted the performance of parental and hybrid plants in different soils, likely limiting the ranges of the different genotypes.

  16. Susceptibility and antibody response of Vesper Sparrows (Pooecetes gramineus) to West Nile virus: A potential amplification host in sagebrush-grassland habitat

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hofmeister, Erik K.; Dusek, Robert J.; Fassbinder-Orth, Carol; Owen, Benjamin; Franson, J. Christian

    2016-01-01

    West Nile virus (WNV) spread to the US western plains states in 2003, when a significant mortality event attributed to WNV occurred in Greater Sage-grouse ( Centrocercus urophasianus ). The role of avian species inhabiting sagebrush in the amplification of WNV in arid and semiarid regions of the North America is unknown. We conducted an experimental WNV challenge study in Vesper Sparrows ( Pooecetes gramineus ), a species common to sagebrush and grassland habitats found throughout much of North America. We found Vesper Sparrows to be moderately susceptible to WNV, developing viremia considered sufficient to transmit WNV to feeding mosquitoes, but the majority of birds were capable of surviving infection and developing a humoral immune response to the WNV nonstructural 1 and envelope proteins. Despite clearance of viremia, after 6 mo, WNV was detected molecularly in three birds and cultured from one bird. Surviving Vesper Sparrows were resistant to reinfection 6 mo after the initial challenge. Vesper sparrows could play a role in the amplification of WNV in sagebrush habitat and other areas of their range, but rapid clearance of WNV may limit their importance as competent amplification hosts of WNV.

  17. Prescribed Fire Effects on Runoff, Erosion, and Soil Water Repellency on Steeply-Sloped Sagebrush Rangeland over a Five Year Period

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, C. J.; Pierson, F. B.; Al-Hamdan, O. Z.

    2014-12-01

    Fire is an inherent component of sagebrush steppe rangelands in western North America and can dramatically affect runoff and erosion processes. Post-fire flooding and erosion events pose substantial threats to proximal resources, property, and human life. Yet, prescribed fire can serve as a tool to manage vegetation and fuels on sagebrush rangelands and to reduce the potential for large catastrophic fires and mass erosion events. The impact of burning on event hydrologic and erosion responses is strongly related to the degree to which burning alters vegetation, ground cover, and surface soils and the intensity and duration of precipitation. Fire impacts on hydrologic and erosion response may be intensified or reduced by inherent site characteristics such as topography and soil properties. Parameterization of these diverse conditions in predictive tools is often limited by a lack of data and/or understanding for the domain of interest. Furthermore, hydrologic and erosion functioning change as vegetation and ground cover recover in the years following burning and few studies track these changes over time. In this study, we evaluated the impacts of prescribed fire on vegetation, ground cover, soil water repellency, and hydrologic and erosion responses 1, 2, and 5 yr following burning of a mountain big sagebrush community on steep hillslopes with fine-textured soils. The study site is within the Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed, southwestern Idaho, USA. Vegetation, ground cover, and soil properties were measured over plot scales of 0.5 m2 to 9 m2. Rainfall simulations (0.5 m2) were used to assess the impacts of fire on soil water repellency, infiltration, runoff generation, and splash-sheet erosion. Overland flow experiments (9 m2) were used to assess the effects of fire-reduced ground cover on concentrated-flow runoff and erosion processes. The study results provide insight regarding fire impacts on runoff, erosion, and soil water repellency in the immediate and

  18. Evaluating greater sage-grouse seasonal space use relative to leks: Implications for surface use designations in sagebrush ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Casazza, Michael L.; Coates, Peter S.

    2013-01-01

    The development of anthropogenic structures, especially those related to energy resources, in sagebrush ecosystems is an important concern among developers, conservationists, and land managers in relation to greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereafter, sage-grouse) populations. Sage-grouse are dependent on sagebrush ecosystems to meet their seasonal life-phase requirements, and research indicates that anthropogenic structures can adversely affect sage-grouse populations. Land management agencies have attempted to reduce the negative effects of anthropogenic development by assigning surface use (SU) designations, such as no surface occupancy, to areas around leks (breeding grounds). However, rationale for the size of these areas is often challenged. To help inform this issue, we used a spatial analysis of sage-grouse utilization distributions (UDs) to quantify seasonal (spring, summer and fall, winter) sage-grouse space use in relation to leks. We sampled UDs from 193 sage-grouse (11,878 telemetry locations) across 4 subpopulations within the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment (DPS, bordering California and Nevada) during 2003–2009. We quantified the volume of each UD (vUD) within a range of areas that varied in size and were centered on leks, up to a distance of 30 km from leks. We also quantified the percentage of nests within those areas. We then estimated the diminishing gains of vUD as area increased and produced continuous response curves that allow for flexibility in land management decisions. We found nearly 90% of the total vUD (all seasons combined) was contained within 5 km of leks, and we identified variation in vUD for a given distance related to season and migratory status. Five kilometers also represented the 95th percentile of the distribution of nesting distances. Because diminishing gains of vUD was not substantial until distances exceeded 8 km, managers should consider the theoretical optimal distances for SU designation

  19. Calibration of remotely sensed, coarse resolution NDVI to CO2 fluxes in a sagebrush-steppe ecosystem

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wylie, B.K.; Johnson, D.A.; Laca, Emilio; Saliendra, Nicanor Z.; Gilmanov, T.G.; Reed, B.C.; Tieszen, L.L.; Worstell, B.B.

    2003-01-01

    The net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of carbon flux can be partitioned into gross primary productivity (GPP) and respiration (R). The contribution of remote sensing and modeling holds the potential to predict these components and map them spatially and temporally. This has obvious utility to quantify carbon sink and source relationships and to identify improved land management strategies for optimizing carbon sequestration. The objective of our study was to evaluate prediction of 14-day average daytime CO2 fluxes (Fday) and nighttime CO2 fluxes (Rn) using remote sensing and other data. Fday and Rn were measured with a Bowen ratio-energy balance (BREB) technique in a sagebrush (Artemisia spp.)-steppe ecosystem in northeast Idaho, USA, during 1996-1999. Micrometeorological variables aggregated across 14-day periods and time-integrated Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (iNDVI) were determined during four growing seasons (1996-1999) and used to predict Fday and Rn. We found that iNDVI was a strong predictor of Fday (R2 = 0.79, n = 66, P improved predictions of Fday (R2= 0.82, n = 66, P management strategies, carbon certification, and validation and calibration of carbon flux models. ?? 2003 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.

  20. Land use and habitat conditions across the southwestern Wyoming sagebrush steppe: development impacts, management effectiveness and the distribution of invasive plants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manier, Daniel J.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Anderson, Patrick; Chong, Geneva; Homer, Collin G.; O'Donnell, Michael S.; Schell, Spencer

    2011-01-01

    For the past several years, USGS has taken a multi-faceted approach to investigating the condition and trends in sagebrush steppe ecosystems. This recent effort builds upon decades of work in semi-arid ecosystems providing a specific, applied focus on the cumulative impacts of expanding human activities across these landscapes. Here, we discuss several on-going projects contributing to these efforts: (1) mapping and monitoring the distribution and condition of shrub steppe communities with local detail at a regional scale, (2) assessing the relationships between specific, land-use features (for example, roads, transmission lines, industrial pads) and invasive plants, including their potential (environmentally defined) distribution across the region, and (3) monitoring the effects of habitat treatments on the ecosystem, including wildlife use and invasive plant abundance. This research is focused on the northern sagebrush steppe, primarily in Wyoming, but also extending into Montana, Colorado, Utah and Idaho. The study area includes a range of sagebrush types (including, Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata, Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis, Artemisia tridentata ssp. vaseyana, Artemisia nova) and other semi-arid shrubland types (for example, Sarcobatus vermiculatus, Atriplex confertifolia, Atriplex gardneri), impacted by extensive interface between steppe ecosystems and industrial energy activities resulting in a revealing multiple-variable analysis. We use a combination of remote sensing (AWiFS (1 Any reference to platforms, data sources, equipment, software, patented or trade-marked methods is for information purposes only. It does not represent endorsement of the U.S.D.I., U.S.G.S. or the authors), Landsat and Quickbird platforms), Geographic Information System (GIS) design and data management, and field-based, replicated sampling to generate multiple scales of data representing the distribution of shrub communities for the habitat inventory. Invasive plant

  1. Carbon dioxide effluxes and their environmental controls in sagebrush steppe ecosystems along an elevation gradient in the Reynolds Creek Critical Zone Observatory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lohse, K. A.; Fellows, A.; Flerchinger, G. N.; Seyfried, M. S.

    2017-12-01

    The spatial and temporal variation of carbon dioxide effluxes and their environmental controls are poorly constrained in cold shrub steppe ecosystems. The objectives of this study were to 1) analyze environmental parameters in determining soil CO2 efflux, 2) assess the level of agreement between manual chambers and force diffusion (FD) soil CO2 efflux chambers, when both measurements are extrapolated across the growing season, and lastly to compare respiration fluxes to modeled ecosystem respiration fluxes. We installed FD chambers at four sites co-located with eddy covariance (EC) towers and soil moisture and temperature sensors along an elevation gradient in the Reynolds Creek Critical Zone Observatory in SW Idaho. FD chamber fluxes were collected continuously at 15-minute intervals. We sampled soil CO2 efflux with manual chambers at plant and interplant spaces in five plots at each site biweekly to monthly during the growing season. The sites included a Wyoming big sagebrush site, a low sagebrush site, a post-fire mountain big sagebrush site, and a mountain big sagebrush site located at elevations of 1425, 1680, 1808 and 2111 m. Climate variation followed the montane elevation gradient; mean annual precipitation (MAP) at the sites is 290, 337, 425, and 795 mm, respectively, and mean annual temperature is 8.9, 8.4, 6.1, 5.4°C. Automated force diffusion chambers detected large differences in carbon dioxide pulse dynamics along the elevation gradient. Growing season carbon dioxide fluxes were 3 times higher at the 425 mm MAP site compared than the lowest elevation sites at 290 and 337 MAP sites and >1.5 higher than the 795 mm MAP site over the same period. Manual fluxes showed similar seasonal patterns as FD chamber fluxes but often higher and greater spatial variability in fluxes than FD chamber fluxes. Plant and interplant flux differences were surprisingly similar, especially at higher elevations. Soil respiration ranged from 0.2-0.48 of ecosystem respiration

  2. Response of bird community structure to habitat management in piñon-juniper woodland-sagebrush ecotones

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knick, Steven T.; Hanser, Steven E.; Grace, James B.; Hollenbeck, Jeff P.; Leu, Matthias

    2017-01-01

    Piñon (Pinus spp.) and juniper (Juniperus spp.) woodlands have been expanding their range across the intermountain western United States into landscapes dominated by sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) shrublands. Management actions using prescribed fire and mechanical cutting to reduce woodland cover and control expansion provided opportunities to understand how environmental structure and changes due to these treatments influence bird communities in piñon-juniper systems. We surveyed 43 species of birds and measured vegetation for 1–3 years prior to treatment and 6–7 years post-treatment at 13 locations across Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah. We used structural equation modeling to develop and statistically test our conceptual model that the current bird assembly at a site is structured primarily by the previous bird community with additional drivers from current and surrounding habitat conditions as well as external regional bird dynamics. Treatment reduced woodland cover by >5% at 80 of 378 survey sites. However, habitat change achieved by treatment was highly variable because actual disturbance differed widely in extent and intensity. Biological inertia in the bird community was the strongest single driver; 72% of the variation in the bird assemblage was explained by the community that existed seven years earlier. Greater net reduction in woodlands resulted in slight shifts in the bird community to one having ecotone or shrubland affinities. However, the overall influence of woodland changes from treatment were relatively small and were buffered by other extrinsic factors. Regional bird dynamics did not significantly influence the structure of local bird communities at our sites. Our results suggest that bird communities in piñon-juniper woodlands can be highly stable when management treatments are conducted in areas with more advanced woodland development and at the level of disturbance measured in our study.

  3. Direct and indirect effects of petroleum production activities on the western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis) as a surrogate for the dunes sagebrush lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weir, Scott M; Knox, Ami; Talent, Larry G; Anderson, Todd A; Salice, Christopher J

    2016-05-01

    The dunes sagebrush lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus) is a habitat specialist of conservation concern limited to shin oak sand dune systems of New Mexico and Texas (USA). Because much of the dunes sagebrush lizard's habitat occurs in areas of high oil and gas production, there may be direct and indirect effects of these activities. The congeneric Western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis) was used as a surrogate species to determine direct effects of 2 contaminants associated with oil and gas drilling activities in the Permian Basin (NM and TX, USA): herbicide formulations (Krovar and Quest) and hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S). Lizards were exposed to 2 concentrations of H2 S (30 ppm or 90 ppm) and herbicide formulations (1× or 2× label application rate) representing high-end exposure scenarios. Sublethal behavioral endpoints were evaluated, including sprint speed and time to prey detection and capture. Neither H2S nor herbicide formulations caused significant behavioral effects compared to controls. To understand potential indirect effects of oil and gas drilling on the prey base, terrestrial invertebrate biomass and order diversity were quantified at impacted sites to compare with nonimpacted sites. A significant decrease in biomass was found at impacted sites, but no significant effects on diversity. The results suggest little risk from direct toxic effects, but the potential for indirect effects should be further explored. © 2015 SETAC.

  4. Science framework for the conservation and restoration strategy of DOI secretarial order 3336: Utilizing resilience and resistance concepts to assess threats to sagebrush ecosystems and greater sage-grouse, prioritize conservation and restoration actions, and inform management strategies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chambers, Jeanne C.; Campbell, Steve; Carlson, John; Beck, Jeffrey L.; Clause, Karen J.; Dinkins, Jonathan B.; Doherty, Kevin E.; Espinosa, Shawn; Griffin, Kathleen A.; Christiansen, Thomas J.; Crist, Michele R.; Hanser, Steven E.; Havlina, Douglas W.; Henke, Kenneth F.; Hennig, Jacob D.; Kurth, Laurie L.; Maestas, Jeremy D.; Mayer, Kenneth E.; Manning, Mary E.; Mealor, Brian A.; McCarthy, Clinton; Pellant, Mike; Prentice, Karen L.; Perea, Marco A.; Pyke, David A.; Wiechman , Lief A.; Wuenschel, Amarina

    2016-01-01

    The Science Framework for the Conservation and Restoration Strategy of the Department of the Interior, Secretarial Order 3336 (SO 3336), Rangeland Fire Prevention, Management and Restoration, provides a strategic, multiscale approach for prioritizing areas for management and determining effective management strategies across the sagebrush biome. The emphasis of this version is on sagebrush ecosystems and greater sage-grouse. The Science Framework uses a six step process in which sagebrush ecosystem resilience to disturbance and resistance to nonnative, invasive annual grasses is linked to species habitat information based on the distribution and abundance of focal species. The predominant ecosystem and anthropogenic threats are assessed, and a habitat matrix is developed that helps decision makers evaluate risks and determine appropriate management strategies at regional and local scales. Areas are prioritized for management action using a geospatial approach that overlays resilience and resistance, species habitat information, and predominant threats. Decision tools are discussed for determining the suitability of priority areas for management and the most appropriate management actions at regional to local scales. The Science Framework and geospatial crosscut are intended to complement the mitigation strategies associated with the Greater Sage-Grouse Land Use Plan amendments for the Department of the Interior Bureaus, such as the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Forest Service.

  5. Using resilience and resistance concepts to manage threats to sagebrush ecosystems, Gunnison sage-grouse, and Greater sage-grouse in their eastern range: A strategic multi-scale approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chambers, Jeanne C.; Beck, Jeffrey L.; Campbell, Steve; Carlson, John; Christiansen, Thomas J.; Clause, Karen J.; Dinkins, Jonathan B.; Doherty, Kevin E.; Griffin, Kathleen A.; Havlina, Douglas W.; Mayer, Kenneth F.; Hennig, Jacob D.; Kurth, Laurie L.; Maestas, Jeremy D.; Manning, Mary E.; Mealor, Brian A.; McCarthy, Clinton; Perea, Marco A.; Pyke, David A.

    2016-01-01

    This report provides a strategic approach developed by a Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies interagency working group for conservation of sagebrush ecosystems, Greater sage-grouse, and Gunnison sage-grouse. It uses information on (1) factors that influence sagebrush ecosystem resilience to disturbance and resistance to nonnative invasive annual grasses and (2) distribution and relative abundance of sage-grouse populations to address persistent ecosystem threats, such as invasive annual grasses and wildfire, and land use and development threats, such as oil and gas development and cropland conversion, to develop effective management strategies. A sage-grouse habitat matrix links relative resilience and resistance of sagebrush ecosystems with modeled sage-grouse breeding habitat probabilities to help decisionmakers assess risks and determine appropriate management strategies at both landscape and site scales. Areas for targeted management are assessed by overlaying matrix components with Greater sage-grouse Priority Areas for Conservation and Gunnison sage-grouse critical habitat and linkages, breeding bird concentration areas, and specific habitat threats. Decision tools are discussed for determining the suitability of target areas for management and the most appropriate management actions. A similar approach was developed for the Great Basin that was incorporated into the Federal land use plan amendments and served as the basis of a Bureau of Land Management Fire and Invasives Assessment Tool, which was used to prioritize sage-grouse habitat for targeted management activities.

  6. Reclamation after oil and gas development does not speed up succession or plant community recovery in big sagebrush ecosystems in Wyoming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rottler, Caitlin M.; Burke, Ingrid C.; Palmquist, Kyle A.; Bradford, John B.; Lauenroth, William K.

    2018-01-01

    Article for intended outlet: Restoration Ecology. Abstract: Reclamation is an application of treatment(s) following a disturbance to promote succession and accelerate the return of target conditions. Previous studies have framed reclamation in the context of succession by studying its effectiveness in re-establishing late-successional plant communities. Re-establishment of these plant communities is especially important and potentially challenging in regions such as drylands and shrub steppe ecosystems where succession proceeds slowly. Dryland shrub steppe ecosystems are frequently associated with areas rich in fossil-fuel energy sources, and as such the need for effective reclamation after disturbance from fossil-fuel-related energy development is great. Past research in this field has focused primarily on coal mines; few researchers have studied reclamation after oil and gas development. To address this research gap and to better understand the effect of reclamation on rates of succession in dryland shrub steppe ecosystems, we sampled oil and gas wellpads and adjacent undisturbed big sagebrush plant communities in Wyoming, USA and quantified the extent of recovery for major functional groups on reclaimed and unreclaimed (recovered via natural succession) wellpads relative to the undisturbed plant community. Reclamation increased the rate of recovery for all forb and grass species as a group and for perennial grasses, but did not affect other functional groups. Rather, analyses comparing recovery to environmental variables and time since wellpad abandonment showed that recovery of other groups were affected primarily by soil texture and time since wellpad abandonment. This is consistent with studies in other ecosystems where reclamation has been implemented, suggesting that reclamation may not help re-establish late-successional plant communities more quickly than they would re-establish naturally.

  7. Science Framework for the Conservation and Restoration Strategy of the Department of the Interior, Secretarial Order 3336: Using resilience and resistance concepts to assess threats to sagebrush ecosystems and sage-grouse, prioritize conservation and restoration actions, and inform management strategies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jeanne C. Chambers; Jeffrey L. Beck; Steve Campbell; John Carlson; Thomas J. Christiansen; Karen J. Clause; Michele R. Crist; Jonathan B. Dinkins; Kevin E. Doherty; Shawn Espinosa; Kathleen A. Griffin; Steven E. Hanser; Douglas W. Havlina; Kenneth F. Henke; Jacob D. Hennig; Laurie L. Kurth; Jeremy D. Maestas; Mary Manning; Kenneth E. Mayer; Brian A. Mealor; Clinton McCarthy; Mike Pellant; Marco A. Perea; Karen L. Prentice; David A. Pyke; Lief A. Wiechman; Amarina Wuenschel

    2016-01-01

    The Science Framework for the Conservation and Restoration Strategy of the Department of the Interior, Secretarial Order 3336 (SO 3336), Rangeland Fire Prevention, Management and Restoration, provides a strategic, multiscale approach for prioritizing areas for management and determining effective management strategies across the sagebrush biome. The emphasis of this...

  8. Sagebrush-associated species of conservation concern

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mary M. Rowland; Lowell H. Suring; Matthias Leu; Steven T. Knick; Michael J. Wisdom

    2011-01-01

    Selection of species of concern is a critical early step in conducting broad-scale ecological assessments for conservation planning and management. Many criteria can be used to guide this selection, such as conservation status, existing knowledge base, and association with plant communities of interest. In conducting the Wyoming Basins Ecoregional Assessment (WBEA), we...

  9. Characterization of small mammal populations inhabiting the B-C cribs environs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hedlund, J.D.; Rogers, L.E.

    1976-12-01

    The purpose of this study was to document the current status of small mammal populations inhibiting the 200 Area plateau near the B-C Crib management area and to compare them with populations inhabiting a protected (control) area within the confines of the Hanford ALE Reserve. Sampling sessions were conducted over two field seasons (1974 and 1975). A total of five species was detected within intensive study areas. These included the Great Basin pocket mouse (Perognathus parvus), deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus), northern grasshopper mouse (Onychomys leucogaster), sagebrush vole (Lagurus curtatus), and western harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys megalotis). These species are probably representative of those found throughout the area at this particular elevation. Townsends ground squirrel (Spermophilus townsendii) also occurs in this area but did not occur on the sampling plots during the study duration. The pocket mouse was the only species present in sufficient numbers to permit a detailed analysis of population parameters. A discussion concerning the role small mammals play in mineral cycling and energy transfer processes is included along with a diagram depicting food web interrelationships for consumers inhabiting the 200 Area plateau region. Estimates of small mammal density and biomass provided in this document are needed for an overall understanding of the role biota play in the transfer of waste nuclides

  10. Conditions favouring Bromus tectorum dominance of endangered sagebrush steppe ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reisner, Michael D.; Grace, James B.; Pyke, David A.; Doescher, Paul S.

    2013-01-01

    1. Ecosystem invasibility is determined by combinations of environmental variables, invader attributes, disturbance regimes, competitive abilities of resident species and evolutionary history between residents and disturbance regimes. Understanding the relative importance of each factor is critical to limiting future invasions and restoring ecosystems.

  11. IDF Sagebrush Habitat Mitigation Project: FY2008 Compensation Area Monitoring Report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Durham, Robin E.; Sackschewsky, Michael R.

    2008-09-01

    This document provides a review and status of activities conducted in support of the CH2MHill Hanford Group (CHG) Compensatory Mitigation Implementation Plan (MIP) for the Integrated Disposal Facility (IDF). It includes time-zero monitoring results for planting activities conducted in December 2007, annual survival monitoring for all planting years, a summary of artificial burrow observations, and recommendations for the successful completion of DOE mitigation commitments for this project.

  12. Soil water repellency and infiltration in coarse-textured soils of burned and unburned sagebrush ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    F. B. Pierson; P. R. Robichaud; C. A. Moffet; K. E. Spaeth; C. J. Williams; S. P. Hardegree; P. E. Clark

    2008-01-01

    Millions of dollars are spent each year in the United States to mitigate the effects of wildfires and reduce the risk of flash floods and debris flows. Research from forested, chaparral, and rangeland communities indicate that severe wildfires can cause significant increases in soil water repellency resulting in increased runoff and erosion. Few data are available to...

  13. The Use of California Sagebrush (Artemisia californica) Liniment to Control Pain

    OpenAIRE

    Adams, James D.

    2012-01-01

    The incidence of arthritis is increasing every year, as does the need for pain medication. The current work reviews an American Indian liniment that is traditionally used for pain therapy. The chemistry, therapeutic use and safety of the liniment are reviewed. The liniment contains monoterpenoids, sesquiterpenes, flavonoids, alkaloids and other compounds.

  14. The Use of California Sagebrush (Artemisia californica) Liniment to Control Pain.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adams, James D

    2012-09-27

    The incidence of arthritis is increasing every year, as does the need for pain medication. The current work reviews an American Indian liniment that is traditionally used for pain therapy. The chemistry, therapeutic use and safety of the liniment are reviewed. The liniment contains monoterpenoids, sesquiterpenes, flavonoids, alkaloids and other compounds.

  15. The Use of California Sagebrush (Artemisia californica Liniment to Control Pain

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James D. Adams

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available The incidence of arthritis is increasing every year, as does the need for pain medication. The current work reviews an American Indian liniment that is traditionally used for pain therapy. The chemistry, therapeutic use and safety of the liniment are reviewed. The liniment contains monoterpenoids, sesquiterpenes, flavonoids, alkaloids and other compounds.

  16. Signals of speciation: Volatile organic compounds resolve closely related sagebrush taxa, suggesting their importance in evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deidre M. Jaeger; Justin B. Runyon; Bryce A. Richardson

    2016-01-01

    Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) play important roles in the environmental adaptation and fitness of plants. Comparison of the qualitative and quantitative differences in VOCs among closely related taxa and assessing the effects of environment on their emissions are important steps to deducing VOC function and evolutionary importance.

  17. Influence of climate and environment on post-fire recovery of mountain big sagebrush

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zachary J. Nelson; Peter J. Weisberg; Stanley G. Kitchen

    2014-01-01

    In arid and semi-arid landscapes around the world, wildfire plays a key role in maintaining species diversity. Dominant plant associations may depend upon particular fire regime characteristics for their persistence. Mountain shrub communities in high-elevation landscapes of the Intermountain West, USA, are strongly influenced by the post-fire recovery dynamics of the...

  18. Lichen ecology and diversity of a sagebrush steppe in Oregon: 1977 to the present

    Science.gov (United States)

    A lichen checklist is presented of 141 species from the Lawrence Memorial Grassland Preserve and nearby lands in Wasco County, Oregon, based on collections made in the 1970s and 1990s. Collections include epiphytic, lignicolous, saxicolous, muscicolous and terricolous species. To evaluate differenc...

  19. Salmon and Sagebrush: The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Collaborative Approach to Adaptation Planning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Petersen, A.; Nasser, E.; Stone, D.; Krosby, M.; Whitley-Binder, L.; Morgan, H.; Rupp, D. E.; Dello, K.; Dalton, M. M.; Fox, M.; Rodgers, K.

    2017-12-01

    The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes reside in the Upper Snake River Watershed in southeast Idaho. Their lives and culture are intertwined with the lands where they live; lands which continue to sustain the Tribes cultural, spiritual, dietary and economic needs. Climate change presents a new threat to the region requiring innovative approaches to prepare for changes as well as to protect the natural resources within the region. As a critical first step in building climate resilience, the Tribes worked with Adaptation International, the University of Washington's Climate Impacts Group (CIG) and the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute (OCCRI) to complete a collaborative climate change vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning process. This presentation provides an overview of collaborative process, shares the results of the project, and includes a 3-minute video presentation. The project started with the identification of 34 plant and animal species to focus the vulnerability assessment. OCCRI analyzed detailed downscaled climate projections for two key climate scenarios (RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5) and timescales (2050s and 2080s). CIG then used NatureServe's Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) to develop initial relative vulnerability results for these species. A core team of Tribal staff members from various departments refined these results, drawing upon and integrating rich local and traditional knowledges of the natural environmental and cultural resources. The adaptation planning phase of the project continued in a similar collaborative manner with the project team identifying promising adaptation actions and working directly with Tribal staff to refine and customize these strategies. Tailoring the actions to the local context provides a framework for action that the Tribes can continue to build on in the future. By engaging in these efforts to identify vulnerable species and adaptation strategies and actions to minimize the negative effects of climate change, the Tribes have demonstrated their continued commitment to protecting their vital natural resources. The Tribes will continue to implement projects across landscapes in the near term and utilize the information co-produced as part of this project to develop long-term strategies and projects to build resilience.

  20. 77 FR 11061 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Endangered Status for the Dunes Sagebrush...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-02-24

    ...; 4500030113] RIN 1018-AV97 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Endangered Status for the... lizard in Texas. We are reopening the comment period to allow all interested parties an opportunity to... date. ADDRESSES: Document availability: You may obtain copies of the proposed rule, the ``Texas...

  1. Ecosystem water availability in juniper versus sagebrush snow-dominated rangelands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Western Juniper (J. occidentalis Hook.) now dominates over 3.6 million ha of rangeland in the Intermountain Western US. Critical ecological relationships among snow distribution, water budgets, plant community transitions, and habitat requirements for wildlife, such as sage grouse, remain poorly und...

  2. A molecular phylogenetic approach to western North America endemic Artemisia and allies (Asteraceae): Untangling the sagebrushes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sonia Garcia; E. Durant McArthur; Jaume Pellicer; Stewart C. Sanderson; Joan Valles; Teresa Garnatje

    2011-01-01

    Premise of the study: Artemisia subgenus Tridentatae plants characterize the North American Intermountain West. These are landscape-dominant constituents of important ecological communities and habitats for endemic wildlife. Together with allied species and genera (Picrothamnus and Sphaeromeria), they make up an intricate series of taxa whose limits are uncertain,...

  3. Status and use of important native grasses adapted to sagebrush communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomas A. Jones; Steven R. Larson

    2005-01-01

    Due to the emphasis on restoration, native cool-season grass species are increasing in importance in the commercial seed trade in the Western U.S. Cultivated seed production of these native grasses has often been hampered by seed dormancy, seed shattering, and pernicious awns that are advantageous outside of cultivation. Relatively low seed yields and poor seedling...

  4. Identification and Mapping of Sagebrush/Grass Successional Stages with Landsat Thematic Mapper Data at Yakima Training Center, Washington

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Leedy, Craig

    2004-01-01

    .... This research attempted to identify and map successional changes on semiarid rangelands at Yakima Training Center, WA, using remote sensing techniques by developing a model derived from analysis...

  5. Effects of feral free-roaming horses on semi-arid rangeland ecosystems: an example from the sagebrush steppe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feral horses (Equus caballus) are viewed as a symbol of freedom and power; however, they are also a largely unmanaged, non-native grazer in North America, South America, and Australia. Information on their influence on vegetation and soil characteristics in semi-arid rangelands has been limited by ...

  6. Deep sequencing of amplicons reveals widespread intraspecific hybridization and multiple origins of polyploidy in big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata, Asteraceae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bryce A. Richardson; Justin T. Page; Prabin Bajgain; Stewart C. Sanderson; Joshua A. Udall

    2012-01-01

    Premise of the study: Hybridization has played an important role in the evolution and ecological adaptation of diploid and polyploid plants. Artemisia tridentata (Asteraceae) tetraploids are extremely widespread and of great ecological importance. These tetraploids are often taxonomically identified as A. tridentata subsp. wyomingensis or as autotetraploids of diploid...

  7. Seasonal relationships between foliar moisture content, heat content and biochemistry of lodge pole pine and big sagebrush foliage

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yi Qi; Matt Jolly; Philip E. Dennison; Rachael C. Kropp

    2016-01-01

    Wildland fires propagate by liberating energy contained within living and senescent plant biomass. The maximum amount of energy that can be generated by burning a given plant part can be quantified and is generally referred to as its heat content (HC). Many studies have examined heat content of wildland fuels but studies examining the seasonal variation in foliar HC...

  8. Composition of the essential oils from Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum), Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), and White Sage (Salvia apiana).

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hochrein, James Michael; Irwin, Adriane Nadine; Borek, Theodore Thaddeus III

    2003-09-01

    The essential oils of Juniperus scopulorum, Artemisia tridentata, and Salvia apiana obtained by steam extraction were analyzed by GC-MS and GC-FID. For J. scopulorum, twenty-five compounds were identified which accounts for 92.43% of the oil. The primary constituents were sabinene (49.91%), {alpha}-terpinene (9.95%), and 4-terpineol (6.79%). For A. tridentata, twenty compounds were identified which accounts for 84.32% of the oil. The primary constituents were camphor (28.63%), camphene (16.88%), and 1,8-cineole (13.23%). For S. apiana, fourteen compounds were identified which accounts for 96.76% of the oil. The primary component was 1,8-cineole (60.65%).

  9. Ribosomal DNA, heterochromatin, and correlation with genome size in diploid and polyploid North American endemic sagebrushes (Artemisia, Asteraceae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sonia Garcia; Teresa Garnatje; Jaume Pellicer; E. Durant McArthur; Sonja Siljak-Yakovlev; Joan Valles

    2009-01-01

    Subgenus Tridentatae (Artemisia, Asteraceae) can be considered a polyploid complex. Both polyploidy and hybridization have been documented in the Tridentatae. Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) and fluorochrome banding were used to detect and analyze ribosomal DNA changes linked to polyploidization in this group by studying four diploidpolyploid species pairs. In...

  10. Soil water repellency and ground cover effects on infiltration in response to prescribed burning of steeply-sloped sagebrush hillslopes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rangeland managers and scientists are in need of predictive tools to accurately simulate post-fire hydrologic responses and provide hydrologic risk assessment. Rangeland hydrologic modeling has advanced in recent years; however, model advancements have largely been associated with data from gently ...

  11. Effects of a spring prescribed burn on the soil seed bank in sagebrush steppe exhibiting pinyon-juniper expansion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elizabeth A. Allen; Jeanne C. Chambers; Robert S. Nowak

    2008-01-01

    Pinyon-juniper (Pinus monophylla-Juniperus osteosperma) woodlands are expanding into shrubsteppe ecosystems in western portions of the Great Basin. Often, highly competitive trees displace the understory, and prescribed fire is increasingly used as a restoration tool. To inform management decisions about post-fire recovery, we...

  12. The distribution, abundance, and the effects of fire on mound building termites (Trinervitermes and Cubitermes spp., Isoptera: Termitidae) in northern guinea savanna West Africa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benzie, John A H

    1986-11-01

    Termite mound densities in typical guinea savanna, Detarium, and grassland (boval) habitats in northern guinea savanna were determined by random quadratting of 2-3 sites in each habitat (100, 10x10 m quadrats per habitat). Dominant species in guinea savanna were T. geminatus (46 mounds ha -1 ) and T. oeconomus (21 mounds ha -1 ), in Detarium T. geminatus (59 mounds ha -1 ) and C. curtatus (45 mounds ha -1 ) and in boval C. curtatus (72 mounds ha -1 ) and T. geminatus (22 mounds ha -1 ). Only C. curtatus densities and total densities differed significantly between sites within habitats, but all species differed significantly in abundance between habitats. The composition of each community was related to general environment but no particular environmental variable was shown to be a major determinant of termite distribution. Evidence for the limitation of termite populations was obtained from indirect evidence of competition between colonies in Detarium, and by experimental manipulation of fire regimes in the typical guinea savanna habitat. Harvester termites increased four-five fold over two years in fire-protected plots as a result of increased food supplies. Total termite densities in the fire-protected community equilibrated to the new population density (100 mounds ha -1 ) after only two-three years.

  13. Effects of livestock exclusion on density, survival and biomass of the perennial sagebrush grass Hymenachne pernambucense (Poaceae) from a temperate fluvial wetland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Magnano, Andrea L.; Nanni, Analía S.; Krug, Pamela; Astrada, Elizabeth; Vicari, Ricardo; Quintana, Rubén D.

    2018-01-01

    In Argentina, the intensification of soybean production has displaced a substantial proportion of cattle ranching to fluvial wetlands such as those in the Delta of the Paraná River. Cattle grazing affects structure and dynamics of native forage plants but there is little information on this impact in populations from fluvial wetlands. This study addresses the effect of cattle ranching on density, survival, mean life-span and aerial biomass of Hymenachne pernambucense (Poaceae), an important forage species in the region. The study was carried out monthly for one year in permanents plots subject to continuous grazing and plots excluded from grazing in the Middle Delta of the Paraná River. In plots excluded from grazing, tillers showed significantly higher population density and survival, and a two-fold increase in mean life-span, while continuous grazing decreased survival of cohorts. The largest contribution to tiller density in ungrazed and grazed populations was made by spring and summer cohorts, respectively. Total and green biomass were significantly higher in the ungrazed population, with highest differences in late spring-early summer. Cattle grazing affected the relationship between tiller density and green biomass suggesting that cattle prefer sprouts because they are more palatable and nutritious than older tissue.

  14. Encapsulating model complexity and landscape-scale analyses of state-and-transition simulation models: an application of ecoinformatics and juniper encroachment in sagebrush steppe ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Donnell, Michael

    2015-01-01

    State-and-transition simulation modeling relies on knowledge of vegetation composition and structure (states) that describe community conditions, mechanistic feedbacks such as fire that can affect vegetation establishment, and ecological processes that drive community conditions as well as the transitions between these states. However, as the need for modeling larger and more complex landscapes increase, a more advanced awareness of computing resources becomes essential. The objectives of this study include identifying challenges of executing state-and-transition simulation models, identifying common bottlenecks of computing resources, developing a workflow and software that enable parallel processing of Monte Carlo simulations, and identifying the advantages and disadvantages of different computing resources. To address these objectives, this study used the ApexRMS® SyncroSim software and embarrassingly parallel tasks of Monte Carlo simulations on a single multicore computer and on distributed computing systems. The results demonstrated that state-and-transition simulation models scale best in distributed computing environments, such as high-throughput and high-performance computing, because these environments disseminate the workloads across many compute nodes, thereby supporting analysis of larger landscapes, higher spatial resolution vegetation products, and more complex models. Using a case study and five different computing environments, the top result (high-throughput computing versus serial computations) indicated an approximate 96.6% decrease of computing time. With a single, multicore compute node (bottom result), the computing time indicated an 81.8% decrease relative to using serial computations. These results provide insight into the tradeoffs of using different computing resources when research necessitates advanced integration of ecoinformatics incorporating large and complicated data inputs and models. - See more at: http://aimspress.com/aimses/ch/reader/view_abstract.aspx?file_no=Environ2015030&flag=1#sthash.p1XKDtF8.dpuf

  15. Wildfire and invasive species in the west: challenges that hinder current and future management and protection of the sagebrush-steppe ecosystem: a Gap Report

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mayer, Kenneth F.; Anderson, Pete; Chambers, Jeanne; Boyd, Chad; Christiansen, Tom; Davis, Dawn; Espinosa, Shawn; Havlina, Doug; Ielmini, Michael; Kemner, Don; Kurth, Laurie; Maestas, Jeremy; Mealor, Brian; Milesneck, Ted; Niell, Lara; Pellant, Mike; Pyke, David A.; Tague, Joe; Vernon, Jason

    2013-01-01

    The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) to satisfy the 45-day report requirement identified in Cooperative Agreement (F13AC00353) between WAFWA and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) submit this “Gap Report”. This report summarizes the policy, fiscal and science challenges that land managers encounter related to the control and reduction of the invasive plant/fire complex, especially as it relates to the threaten or endangered species listing status of the Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus).

  16. 76 FR 75858 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 6-Month Extension of Final Determination for the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-12-05

    ... of Final Determination for the Proposed Listing of the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard as Endangered AGENCY... of whether to list the dunes sagebrush lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus) (lizard) as endangered and... published a proposed rule (75 FR 77801) to list the dunes sagebrush lizard, a lizard known from southeastern...

  17. Abiotic and biotic influences on Bromus tectoreum invasion and Artemisia tridentata recovery after fire

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lea Condon; Peter J. Weisberg; Jeanne C. Chambers

    2011-01-01

    Native sagebrush ecosystems in the Great Basin (western USA) are often invaded following fire by exotic Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass), a highly flammable annual grass. Once B. tectorum is established, higher fire frequencies can lead to local extirpation of Artemisia tridentata ssp. vaseyana (mountain big sagebrush) and have cascading effects on sagebrush ecosystems and...

  18. 77 FR 36871 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Withdrawal of the Proposed Rule To List Dunes...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-06-19

    ... dunes sagebrush lizard is still at the park, but the negative survey data from 2007 suggests they may be... harm from solar energy development. Our Response: We acknowledge that solar energy development may be a..., and should be resurveyed to determine if dunes sagebrush lizards are still present, though BLM's 2011...

  19. Insects of the Idaho National Laboratory: A compilation and review

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nancy Hampton

    2005-01-01

    Large tracts of important sagebrush (Artemisia L.) habitat in southeastern Idaho, including thousands of acres at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), continue to be lost and degraded through wildland fire and other disturbances. The roles of most insects in sagebrush ecosystems are not well understood, and the effects of habitat loss and alteration...

  20. Management considerations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steven T. Knick; Steven E. Hanser; Matthias Leu; Cameron L. Aldridge; Scott E. Neilsen; Mary M. Rowland; Sean P. Finn; Michael J. Wisdom

    2011-01-01

    We conducted an ecoregional assessment of sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystems in the Wyoming Basins and surrounding regions (WBEA) to determine broad-scale species-environmental relationships. Our goal was to assess the potential influence from threats to the sagebrush ecosystem on associated wildlife through the use of spatially explicit...

  1. Greater sage-grouse winter habitat use on the eastern edge of their range

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christopher C. Swanson; Mark A. Rumble; Nicholas W. Kaczor; Robert W. Klaver; Katie M. Herman-Brunson; Jonathan A. Jenks; Kent C. Jensen

    2013-01-01

    Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) at the western edge of the Dakotas occur in the transition zone between sagebrush and grassland communities. These mixed sagebrush (Artemisia sp.) and grasslands differ from those habitats that comprise the central portions of the sage-grouse range; yet, no information is available on winter habitat selection within this...

  2. Ecology of greater sage-grouse in the Dakotas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christopher C. Swanson

    2009-01-01

    Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) populations and the sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) communities that they rely on have dramatically declined from historic levels. Moreover, information regarding sage-grouse annual life-history requirements at the eastern-most extension of sagebrush steppe communities is lacking....

  3. Restoring arid western habitats: Native plants maximize wildlife conservation effectiveness

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kas Dumroese; Jeremy Pinto; Deborah M. Finch

    2016-01-01

    Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) and other pollinating insects have garnered a lot of attention recently from federal and state wildlife officials. These two species and pollinators share dwindling sagebrush habitat in the western United States that is putting their populations at risk. Sagebrush...

  4. Quantifying phenology metrics from Great Basin plant communities and their relationship to seasonal water availability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Background/Question/Methods Sagebrush steppe is critical habitat in the Great Basin for wildlife and provides important ecosystem goods and services. Expansion of pinyon (Pinus spp.) and juniper (Juniperus spp.) in the Great Basin has reduced the extent of sagebrush steppe causing habitat, fire, and...

  5. 78 FR 76607 - Combined Notice of Filings #2

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-12-18

    ... Splitter Wind Farm, LLC submits Second Revised MBR to be effective 12/10/2013. Filed Date: 12/9/13...: Sagebrush Power Partners, LLC. Description: Sagebrush Power Partners, LLC submits First Rev MBR to be... Solutions LLC submits First Revised MBR Tariff to be effective 12/10/2013. Filed Date: 12/9/13. Accession...

  6. Prescribed fire, soil, and plants: burn effects and interactions in the central Great Basin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benjamin M. Rau; Jeanne C. Chambers; Robert R. Blank; Dale W. Johnson

    2008-01-01

    Pinyon and juniper expansion into sagebrush ecosystems results in decreased cover and biomass of perennial grasses and forbs. We examine the effectiveness of spring prescribed fire on restoration of sagebrush ecosystems by documenting burn effects on soil nutrients, herbaceous aboveground biomass, and tissue nutrient concentrations. This study was conducted in a...

  7. Apparent seed digestibility and germination of seeds after passage through the digestive system of northern bobwhite

    Science.gov (United States)

    Limited information is available regarding the digestibility or germination of seed after the passage through the digestive system of northern bobwhites (Colinus virginianus), especially of plants associated with the sand sagebrush (Artemisia filifolia)-mixed prairie community. Thus, our objectives...

  8. Predicted fire behavior and societal benefits in three eastern Sierra Nevada vegetation types

    Science.gov (United States)

    C.A. Dicus; K. Delfino; D.R. Weise

    2009-01-01

    We investigated potential fire behavior and various societal benefits (air pollution removal, carbon sequestration, and carbon storage) provided by woodlands of pinyon pine (Pinus monophylla) and juniper (Juniperus californica), shrublands of Great Basin sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) and rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa...

  9. Bird-habitat relationships in interior Columbia Basin shrubsteppe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Earnst, S.L.; Holmes, A.L.

    2012-01-01

    Vegetation structure is considered an important habitat feature structuring avian communities. In the sagebrush biome, both remotely-sensed and field-acquired measures of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) cover have proven valuable in understanding avian abundance. Differences in structure between the exotic annual cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) and native bunchgrasses are also expected to be important. We used avian abundance data from 318 point count stations, coupled with field vegetation measurements and a detailed vegetation map, to model abundance for four shrub- and four grassland-associated avian species in southeastern Washington shrubsteppe. Specifically, we ask whether species distinguish between bunchgrass and cheatgrass, and whether mapped, categorical cover types adequately explain species' abundance or whether fine-grained, field-measured differences in vegetation cover are also important. Results indicate that mapped cover types alone can be useful for predicting patterns of distribution and abundance within the sagebrush biome for several avian species (five of eight studied here). However, field-measured sagebrush cover was a strong positive predictor for Sage Sparrow (Amphispiza belli), the only sagebrush obligate in this study, and a strong negative predictor for two grassland associates, Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) and Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum). Likewise, shrub associates did not differ in abundance in sagebrush with a cheatgrass vs. bunchgrass understory, but grassland associates were more common in either bunchgrass (Horned Lark and Grasshopper Sparrow) or cheatgrass grasslands (Long-billed Curlew, Numenius americanus), or tended to use sagebrush-cheatgrass less than sagebrush-bunchgrass (Horned Lark, Grasshopper Sparrow, and Savannah Sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis).

  10. Investigating impacts of oil and gas development on greater sage-grouse

    Science.gov (United States)

    Green, Adam; Aldridge, Cameron L.; O'Donnell, Michael

    2017-01-01

    The sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystem is one of the largest ecosystems in western North America providing habitat for species found nowhere else. Sagebrush habitats have experienced dramatic declines since the 1950s, mostly due to anthropogenic disturbances. The greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) is a sagebrush-obligate species that has experienced population declines over the last several decades, which are attributed to a variety of disturbances including the more recent threat of oil and gas development. We developed a hierarchical, Bayesian state-space model to investigate the impacts of 2 measures of oil and gas development, and environmental and habitat conditions, on sage-grouse populations in Wyoming, USA using male lek counts from 1984 to 2008. Lek attendance of male sage-grouse declined by approximately 2.5%/year and was negatively related to oil and gas well density. We found little support for the influence of sagebrush cover and precipitation on changes in lek counts. Our results support those of other studies reporting negative impacts of oil and gas development on sage-grouse populations and our modeling approach allowed us to make inference to a longer time scale and larger spatial extent than in previous studies. In addition to sage-grouse, development may also negatively affect other sagebrush-obligate species, and active management of sagebrush habitats may be necessary to maintain some species. 

  11. Greater sage-grouse winter habitat use on the eastern edge of their range

    Science.gov (United States)

    Swanson, Christopher C.; Rumble, Mark A.; Grovenburg, Troy W.; Kaczor, Nicholas W.; Klaver, Robert W.; Herman-Brunson, Katie M.; Jenks, Jonathan A.; Jensen, Kent C.

    2013-01-01

    Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) at the western edge of the Dakotas occur in the transition zone between sagebrush and grassland communities. These mixed sagebrush (Artemisia sp.) and grasslands differ from those habitats that comprise the central portions of the sage-grouse range; yet, no information is available on winter habitat selection within this region of their distribution. We evaluated factors influencing greater sage-grouse winter habitat use in North Dakota during 2005–2006 and 2006–2007 and in South Dakota during 2006–2007 and 2007–2008. We captured and radio-marked 97 breeding-age females and 54 breeding-age males from 2005 to 2007 and quantified habitat selection for 98 of these birds that were alive during winter. We collected habitat measurements at 340 (177 ND, 163 SD) sage-grouse use sites and 680 random (340 each at 250 m and 500 m from locations) dependent sites. Use sites differed from random sites with greater percent sagebrush cover (14.75% use vs. 7.29% random; P 2 use vs. 0.94 plants/m2 random; P ≤ 0.001), but lesser percent grass cover (11.76% use vs. 16.01% random; P ≤ 0.001) and litter cover (4.34% use vs. 5.55% random; P = 0.001) and lower sagebrush height (20.02 cm use vs. 21.35 cm random; P = 0.13) and grass height (21.47 cm use vs. 23.21 cm random; P = 0.15). We used conditional logistic regression to estimate winter habitat selection by sage-grouse on continuous scales. The model sagebrush cover + sagebrush height + sagebrush cover × sagebrush height (wi = 0.60) was the most supported of the 13 models we considered, indicating that percent sagebrush cover strongly influenced selection. Logistic odds ratios indicated that the probability of selection by sage-grouse increased by 1.867 for every 1% increase in sagebrush cover (95% CI = 1.627–2.141) and by 1.041 for every 1 cm increase in sagebrush height (95% CI = 1.002–1.082). The

  12. Summary of science, activities, programs, and policies that influence the rangewide conservation of Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manier, D.J.; Wood, David J.A.; Bowen, Z.H.; Donovan, R.M.; Holloran, M.J.; Juliusson, L.M.; Mayne, K.S.; Oyler-McCance, S.J.; Quamen, F.R.; Saher, D.J.; Titolo, A.J.

    2013-01-01

    The Greater Sage-Grouse, has been observed, hunted, and counted for decades. The sagebrush biome, home to the Greater Sage-Grouse, includes sagebrush-steppe and Great Basin sagebrush communities, interspersed with grasslands, salt flats, badlands, mountain ranges, springs, intermittent creeks and washes, and major river systems, and is one of the most widespread and enigmatic components of Western U.S. landscapes. Over time, habitat conversion, degradation, and fragmentation have accumulated across the entire range such that local conditions as well as habitat distributions at local and regional scales are negatively affecting the long-term persistence of this species. Historic patterns of human use and settlement of the sagebrush ecosystem have contributed to the current condition and status of sage-grouse populations. The accumulation of habitat loss, persistent habitat degradation, and fragmentation by industry and urban infrastructure, as indicated by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) findings, presents a significant challenge for conservation of this species and sustainable management of the sagebrush ecosystem. Because of the wide variations in natural and human history across these landscapes, no single prescription for management of sagebrush ecosystems (including sage-grouse habitats) will suffice to guide the collective efforts of public and private entities to conserve the species and its habitat. This report documents and summarizes several decades of work on sage-grouse populations, sagebrush as habitat, and sagebrush community and ecosystem functions based on the recent assessment and findings of the USFWS under consideration of the Endangered Species Act. As reflected here, some of these topics receive a greater depth of discussion because of the perceived importance of the issue for sagebrush ecosystems and sage-grouse populations. Drawing connections between the direct effects on sagebrush ecosystems and the effect of ecosystem condition on

  13. Conservation of greater sage-grouse- a synthesis of current trends and future management

    Science.gov (United States)

    Connelly, John W.; Knick, Steven T.; Braun, Clait E.; Baker, William L.; Beever, Erik A.; Christiansen, Thomas J.; Doherty, Kevin E.; Garton, Edward O.; Hagen, Christian A.; Hanser, Steven E.; Johnson, Douglas H.; Leu, Matthias; Miller, Richard F.; Naugle, David E.; Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; Pyke, David A.; Reese, Kerry P.; Schroeder, Michael A.; Stiver, San J.; Walker, Brett L.; Wisdorn, Michael J.

    2011-01-01

    Recent analyses of Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) populations indicate substantial declines in many areas but relatively stable populations in other portions of the species? range. Sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) habitats neces-sary to support sage-grouse are being burned by large wildfires, invaded by nonnative plants, and developed for energy resources (gas, oil, and wind). Management on public lands, which con-tain 70% of sagebrush habitats, has changed over the last 30 years from large sagebrush control projects directed at enhancing livestock grazing to a greater emphasis on projects that often attempt to improve or restore ecological integrity. Never-theless, the mandate to manage public lands to provide traditional consumptive uses as well as recreation and wilderness values is not likely to change in the near future. Consequently, demand and use of resources contained in sagebrush land-scapes plus the associated infrastructure to sup-port increasing human populations in the western United States will continue to challenge efforts to conserve Greater Sage-Grouse. The continued widespread distribution of sage-grouse, albeit at very low densities in some areas, coupled with large areas of important sagebrush habitat that are relatively unaffected by the human footprint, sug-gest that Greater Sage-Grouse populations may be able to persist into the future. We summarize the status of sage-grouse populations and habitats, provide a synthesis of major threats and chal-lenges to conservation of sage-grouse, and suggest a roadmap to attaining conservation goals.

  14. Sage grouse

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zimmerman, Shawna; Timmer, Jennifer M.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; Braun, Clait E.; Young, Jessica R.

    2017-01-01

    Sage grouse are a group of chicken-sized birds with a unique breeding behavior and dependence on sagebrush shrubs (genus Artemisia) for food and shelter throughout their life cycle. In the last century, human population expansion throughout western North America has reduced the amount of sagebrush and degraded and fragmented the remaining areas. Vanishing sagebrush has resulted in sage grouse (genus Centrocercus) population declines and elevated conservation concern. Western Colorado is home to both species of sage grouse: greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and Gunnison sage grouse (Centrocercus minimus). Populations in the state, and throughout their range, have declined sufficiently to warrant consideration for federal protection for both species under the Endangered Species Act.

  15. Surface fluxes and water balance of spatially varying vegetation within a small mountainous headwater catchment

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    G. N. Flerchinger

    2010-06-01

    Full Text Available Precipitation variability and complex topography often create a mosaic of vegetation communities in mountainous headwater catchments, creating a challenge for measuring and interpreting energy and mass fluxes. Understanding the role of these communities in modulating energy, water and carbon fluxes is critical to quantifying the variability in energy, carbon, and water balances across landscapes. The focus of this paper was: (1 to demonstrate the utility of eddy covariance (EC systems in estimating the evapotranspiration component of the water balance of complex headwater mountain catchments; and (2 to compare and contrast the seasonal surface energy and carbon fluxes across a headwater catchment characterized by large variability in precipitation and vegetation cover. Eddy covariance systems were used to measure surface fluxes over sagebrush (Artemesia arbuscula and Artemesia tridentada vaseyana, aspen (Populus tremuloides and the understory of grasses and forbs beneath the aspen canopy. Peak leaf area index of the sagebrush, aspen, and aspen understory was 0.77, 1.35, and 1.20, respectively. The sagebrush and aspen canopies were subject to similar meteorological forces, while the understory of the aspen was sheltered from the wind. Missing periods of measured data were common and made it necessary to extrapolate measured fluxes to the missing periods using a combination of measured and simulated data. Estimated cumulative evapotranspiratation from the sagebrush, aspen trees, and aspen understory were 384 mm, 314 mm and 185 mm. A water balance of the catchment indicated that of the 699 mm of areal average precipitation, 421 mm was lost to evapotranspiration, and 254 mm of streamflow was measured from the catchment; water balance closure for the catchment was within 22 mm. Fluxes of latent heat and carbon for all sites were minimal through the winter. Growing season fluxes of latent heat and carbon were consistently higher

  16. Investigation of Artemisia tridentata as a biogeochemical uranium indicator

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Diebold, F E; McGrath, S [Montana Coll. of Mineral Science and Technology, Butte (USA)

    1985-01-01

    Hydroponic experiments were conducted with seedlings of Artemisia tridentata subsp. tridentata (big sagebrush) to test the effect of the phosphate speciation of uranium in solution on its uptake by big sagebrush. No single complex could be identified as being preferentially taken up by the plant, but the varying aqueous phosphate concentrations did affect uranium uptake by the plants at the higher uranium concentrations in solution. The data also substantiate the tendency for uranium to behave as an essential element in this plant species. The implications for the use of Artemisia tridentata as a biogeochemical uranium indicator are discussed.

  17. Data set on the effects of conifer control and slash burning on soil carbon, total N, organic matter and extractable micro-nutrients

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jonathan D. Bates

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available Conifer control in sagebrush steppe of the western United States causes various levels of site disturbance influencing vegetation recovery and resource availability. The data set presented in this article include growing season availability of soil micronutrients and levels of total soil carbon, organic matter, and N spanning a six year period following western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis spp. occidentalis reduction by mechanical cutting and prescribed fire of western juniper woodlands in southeast Oregon. These data can be useful to further evaluate the impacts of conifer woodland reduction to soil resources in sagebrush steppe plant communities.

  18. Multi-species benefits of the proposed North American sage-grouse management plan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clait E. Braun

    2005-01-01

    The population size and distribution of the two species of sage-grouse (Greater – Centrocercus urophasianus and Gunnison – C. minimus) populations have become greatly reduced throughout western North America because of habitat changes. Threats are ongoing to the remaining sagebrush (Artemisia ...

  19. 78 FR 21964 - Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge Humboldt and Washoe Counties, NV, and Lake County, OR; Record of...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-04-12

    ... National Wildlife Refuge Complex, P.O. Box 111, Lakeview, OR 97630. Fax: (541) 947-4414. In-person viewing... Refuge encompasses 575,000 acres of sagebrush-steppe habitat located in a remote area of northwest Nevada... management would continue, with the following key enhancements. Native habitat conditions would improve, by...

  20. Plant litter effects on soil nutrient availability and vegetation dynamics: changes that occur when annual grasses invade shrub-steppe communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sheel Bansal; Roger L. Sheley; Bob Blank; Edward A. Vasquez

    2014-01-01

    Changes in the quantity and quality of plant litter occur in many ecosystems as they are invaded by exotic species, which impact soil nutrient cycling and plant community composition. Such changes in sagebrush-steppe communities are occurring with invasion of annual grasses (AG) into a perennial grass (PG) dominated system. We conducted a 5-year litter manipulation...

  1. Grazing behavior and production characteristics among cows differing in residual feed intake while grazing late season Idaho rangeland

    Science.gov (United States)

    The objectives were to determine if cows classified as either low- or high-residual feed intake (LRFI or HRFI) differed in BW, BCS, and winter grazing activity over time. Thirty Hereford x Angus (LRFI = 16; HRFI = 14) 2-year-old cows grazed sagebrush-steppe for 78 d beginning 29 September 2016. Body...

  2. Occurrence and abundance of ants, reptiles, and mammals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steven E. Hanser; Matthias Leu; Cameron L. Aldridge; Scott E. Neilsen; Mary M. Rowland; Steven T. Knick

    2011-01-01

    Sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) associated wildlife are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation and by impacts associated with anthropogenic disturbances, including energy development. Understanding how species of concern as well as other wildlife including insects, reptiles, and mammals respond to type and spatial scale of disturbance is critical...

  3. Plant establishment and soil microenvironments in Utah juniper masticated woodlands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kert R. Young

    2012-01-01

    Juniper (Juniperus spp.) encroachment into sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) and bunchgrass communities has reduced understory plant cover and allowed juniper trees to dominate millions of hectares of semiarid rangelands. Trees are mechanically masticated or shredded to decrease wildfire potential and increase desirable understory plant cover. When trees are masticated after...

  4. Forecasting climate change impacts on plant populations over large spatial extents

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tredennick, Andrew T.; Hooten, Mevin B.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Homer, Collin G.; Kleinhesselink, Andrew R.; Adler, Peter B.

    2016-01-01

    Plant population models are powerful tools for predicting climate change impacts in one location, but are difficult to apply at landscape scales. We overcome this limitation by taking advantage of two recent advances: remotely sensed, species-specific estimates of plant cover and statistical models developed for spatiotemporal dynamics of animal populations. Using computationally efficient model reparameterizations, we fit a spatiotemporal population model to a 28-year time series of sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) percent cover over a 2.5 × 5 km landscape in southwestern Wyoming while formally accounting for spatial autocorrelation. We include interannual variation in precipitation and temperature as covariates in the model to investigate how climate affects the cover of sagebrush. We then use the model to forecast the future abundance of sagebrush at the landscape scale under projected climate change, generating spatially explicit estimates of sagebrush population trajectories that have, until now, been impossible to produce at this scale. Our broadscale and long-term predictions are rooted in small-scale and short-term population dynamics and provide an alternative to predictions offered by species distribution models that do not include population dynamics. Our approach, which combines several existing techniques in a novel way, demonstrates the use of remote sensing data to model population responses to environmental change that play out at spatial scales far greater than the traditional field study plot.

  5. Average biomass of four Northwest shrubs by fuel size class and crown cover.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robert E. Martin; David W. Frewing; James L. McClanahan

    1981-01-01

    The average biomass of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.), antelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata (Pursh) DC.), snowbrush ceanothus (Ceanothus velutinus Dougl. ex Hook.), and greenleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos patula Greene) was 6.1, 5.1, 10.7, and 16.2 tons per acre (13.9,...

  6. Diets of black-tailed hares on the Hanford Reservation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Uresk, D.W.; Cline, J.F.; Rickard, W.H.

    1975-04-01

    A fecal pellet analyses showed that black-tailed hares (jackrabbits) were selective in plants chosen as food. The most abundant herbaceous plant, cheatgrass, was not found in the pellets. Sagebrush and bitterbrush, woody plants, were not an important part of the hares' diet. Forbs, rabbitbrush, and certain grass species were preferred foods. (auth)

  7. Post-fire Downy Brome (Bromus tectorum) invasion at high elevation in Wyoming

    Science.gov (United States)

    The invasive annual grass downy brome is the most ubiquitous weed in sagebrush systems of western North America. The center of invasion has largely been the Great Basin region, but there is an increasing abundance and distribution in the Rocky Mountain States. We evaluated post-fire vegetation chang...

  8. Downy Brome: evidence for soil engineering

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bromus tectorum L. (downy brome, cheatgrass) is an invasive Eurasian grass largely responsible for landscape level conversion of sagebrush/bunchgrass communities to annual grass dominance. We tested the hypothesis that B. tectorum alters or “engineers” the soil to favor its growth. The hypothesis wa...

  9. Greater sage-grouse: general use and roost site occurrence with pellet counts as a measure of relative abundance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steven E. Hanser; Cameron L. Aldridge; Matthias Leu; Mary M. Rowland; Scott E. Nielsen; Steven T. Knick

    2011-01-01

    Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) have been declining both spatially and numerically throughout their range because of anthropogenic disturbance and loss and fragmentation of sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) habitats. Understanding how sage-grouse respond to these habitat alterations and disturbances, particularly the...

  10. USDA Forest Service Sage-Grouse Conservation Science Strategy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deborah Finch; Douglas Boyce; Jeanne Chambers; Chris Colt; Clint McCarthy; Stanley Kitchen; Bryce Richardson; Mary Rowland; Mark Rumble; Michael Schwartz; Monica Tomosy; Michael Wisdom

    2015-01-01

    Numerous federal and state agencies, research institutions and stakeholders have undertaken tremendous conservation and research efforts across 11 States in the western United States to reduce threats to Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and sagebrush (Artemisia spp) habitats. In 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) determined that the Greater...

  11. Using DNA from hairs left at depredated greater sage-grouse nests to detect mammalian nest predators

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christopher P. Kirol; Kristine L. Pilgrim; Andrew L. Sutphin; Thomas L. Maechtle

    2018-01-01

    Despite a multitude of studies on sage-grouse (Centrocercus spp.), there is still sparse information on the predator communities that influence sage-grouse productivity and how these predator communities may change when sagebrush habitats are altered by human activities. As a proof-of-concept, we used mammalian hairs collected at depredated greater sage-grouse (C....

  12. Greater sage-grouse apparent nest productivity and chick survival in Carbon County, Wyoming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leslie A. Schreiber; Christopher P. Hansen; Mark A. Rumble; Joshua J. Millspaugh; Frank R. Thompson; R. Scott Gamo; Jon W. Kehmeier; Nate Wojik

    2016-01-01

    Greater sage-grouse Centrocercus urophasianus populations across North America have been declining due to degradation and fragmentation of sagebrush habitat. As part of a study quantifying greater sage-grouse demographics prior to construction of a wind energy facility, we estimated apparent net nest productivity and survival rate of chicks associated with...

  13. Laboratory characterization of PM emissions from combustion of wildland biomass fuels

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seyedehsan Hosseini; Shawn Urbanski; P. Dixit; Qi Li; Ian Burling; Robert Yokelson; Timothy E. Johnson; Manish Sharivastava; Heejung Jung; David R. Weise; Wayne Miller; David Cocker

    2013-01-01

    Particle emissions from open burning of southwestern (SW) and southeastern (SE) U.S. fuel types during 77 controlled laboratory burns are presented. The fuels include SW vegetation types: ceanothus, chamise/scrub oak, coastal sage scrub, California sagebrush, manzanita, maritime chaparral, masticated mesquite, oak savanna, and oak woodland, as well as SE vegetation...

  14. Environmental Assessment, Minuteman III and Peacekeeper Silo Elimination, Malmstrom AFB, Montana; F. E. Warren AFB, Wyoming; and Vandenberg AFB, California

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-05-01

    Baccharis pilularis), California sagebrush (Artemisia californica), and poison hemlock ( Conium maculatum ) are common species in the area (Vandenberg AFB...spotted bat (Euderma maculatum ) and Preble’s shrew (Sorex preblei). Habitat for the spotted bat is most often in rough, rocky, semiarid, and arid

  15. 78 FR 46312 - Spruce Beetle Epidemic and Aspen Decline Management Response; Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-07-31

    ... treat affected stands, improve the resiliency of stands at risk of these large-scale epidemics and... across diverse vegetation ranging from sagebrush, pi[ntilde]on, juniper and ponderosa pine to Engelmann... past decade has been the hottest and driest in centuries. This climate pattern, together with...

  16. Nesting pair density and abundance of ferruginous hawks (Buteo regalis) and golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) from aerial surveys in Wyoming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lucretia E. Olson; Robert J. Oakleaf; John R. Squires; Zachary P. Wallace; Patricia L. Kennedy

    2015-01-01

    Raptors that inhabit sagebrush steppe and grassland ecosystems in the western United States may be threatened by continued loss and modification of their habitat due to energy development, conversion to agriculture, and human encroachment. Actions to protect these species are hampered by a lack of reliable data on such basic information as population size and...

  17. Studies of a new hybrid taxon in the Artemisia tridentata (Asteraceae: Anthemideae) complex

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heather D. Garrison; Leila M. Shultz; E. Durant McArthur

    2013-01-01

    Members of the Artemisia tridentata complex (ASTERACEAE: Anthemideae: Artemisia subgen. Tridentatae) have adapted to changing environmental conditions through geographic migration, introgression, and hybridization. These processes have resulted in morphologic and genetic variation. A presumed hybrid ("Bonneville" big sagebrush) of the complex occurs in the...

  18. A strategy for maximizing native plant material diversity for ecological restoration, germplasm conservation and genecology research

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berta Youtie; Nancy Shaw; Matt Fisk; Scott Jensen

    2012-01-01

    One of the most important steps in planning a restoration project is careful selection of ecologically adapted native plant material. As species-specific seed zone maps are not available for most species in the Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis (Wyoming big sagebrush) ecoregion in the Great Basin, USA, we are employing a provisional seed zone map based on annual...

  19. Biotic components

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Uresk, D.W.; Fitzner, R.E.; Rogers, L.E.; Rickard, W.H.

    1977-01-01

    Representative plant communities are described. The major community is dominated by sagebrush/cheatgrass-sandberg blue grass. Mammal, bird and insect species inhabiting the 200 Area plateau are representative of surrounding regions. Prairie falcons are the only species present possibly threatened with extinction. They do not nest on the plateau but probably forage over the area

  20. Status and Trend of Cottonwood Forests Along the Missouri River

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-03-03

    Rhamnus davurica), green ash, chokecherry ( Prunus virginiana ), and some Russian olive (Figure 30a). Younger cottonwood (all sapling stands, and...argentea), common chokecherry ( Prunus virginiana ), service berry (Amelanchier spp.) and rarely, red-osier dogwood (Cornus stolonifera) (Figure 32). In...sagebrush (Artemisia cana), common chokecherry ( Prunus virginiana ), and rarely, red-osier dogwood (Cornus stolonifera) (Ross and Hunter 1976, Scott

  1. Variation in ant populations with elevation, tree cover, and fire in a pinyon-juniper-dominated watershed

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eugenie M. MontBlanc; Jeanne C. Chambers; Peter E. Brussard

    2007-01-01

    Climate change and fire suppression have facilitated expansion of pinyon-juniper woodlands into sagebrush- steppe ecosystems of the Great Basin, USA, resulting in a loss of biological diversity. To assess the effects of using prescribed fire in restoration efforts, ant abundance, species richness, and composition were examined pre- and post-burn along the elevation and...

  2. Strong genetic differentiation in the invasive annual grass Bromus tectorum across the Mojave-Great Basin ecological transition zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Susan E. Meyer; Elizabeth A. Leger; Desiree R. Eldon; Craig E. Coleman

    2016-01-01

    Bromus tectorum, an inbreeding annual grass, is a dominant invader in sagebrush steppe habitat in North America. It is also common in warm and salt deserts, displaying a larger environmental tolerance than most native species. We tested the hypothesis that a suite of habitat-specific B. tectorum lineages dominates warm desert habitats. We sampled 30 B....

  3. Effects of fire and restoration seeding on establishment of squarrose knapweed (Centaurea virgata var. squarrosa)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alison Whittaker; Scott L. Jensen

    2008-01-01

    Squarrose knapweed (Centaurea virgata var. squarrosa), herein referred to simply as knapweed, is a noxious weed that invades both disturbed and healthy sagebrush communities. Fire, grazing, mining, recreation, and farming have all played a large part in the establishment of knapweed in Tintic Valley, Utah. This study was designed to look at the...

  4. Influence of habitat on behavior of Towndsend's ground squirrels (Spermophilus townsendii)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sharpe, Peter B.; Van Horne, Beatrice

    1998-01-01

    Trade-offs between foraging and predator avoidance may affect an animal's survival and reproduction. These trade-offs may be influenced by differences in vegetative cover, especially if foraging profitability and predation risk differ among habitats. We examined above-ground activity of Townsend's ground squirrels (Spermophilus townsendii) in four habitats in the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area in southwestern Idaho to determine if behavior of ground squirrels varied among habitats, and we assessed factors that might affect perceived predation risk (i. e. predator detectability, predation pressure, population density). The proportion of time spent in vigilance by ground squirrels in winterfat (Krascheninnikovia lanata) and mosaic habitats of winterfat-sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) was more than twice that of ground squirrels in burned and unburned sagebrush habitats. We found no evidence for the 'many-eyes' hypothesis as an explanation for differences in vigilance among habitats. Instead, environmental heterogeneity, especially vegetation structure, likely influenced activity budgets of ground squirrels. Differences in vigilance may have been caused by differences in predator detectability and refuge availability, because ground squirrels in the winterfat and mosaic habitats also spent more time in upright vigilant postures than ground squirrels in burned-sagebrush or sagebrush habitats. Such postures may enhance predator detection in low-growing winterfat.

  5. over time

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sara K. Hanna

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Sagebrush steppe ecosystems of the Intermountain West have experienced a decline over the past 150 years due to changing fire regimes, invasive species and conifer encroachment. Prescribed fire is a common and cost-effective tool used in sagebrush restoration and fuels management. We examined the post-fire succession of a sagebrush steppe community over a nearly 30-year period at two study sites in northeastern California. The long-term nature of this study was particularly significant, as invasive annual grasses dominated the plant community in the years immediately following fire, but native perennial grasses and shrubs successfully out-competed them in the long term. Shrubs were slow to recover but had returned to pre-fire levels by the end of the study period. There was also notable increase in western juniper throughout the study sites, particularly in areas that had not been burned. Our results indicate that mean fire return intervals of 50 years or less would help reduce western juniper encroachment and preserve sagebrush habitat, especially for potentially threatened species such as the sage grouse.

  6. The Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy Actionable Science Plan: U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington D.C.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy Actionable Science Plan Team

    2016-01-01

    The Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy (hereafter Strategy, DOI 2015) outlined the need for coordinated, science-based adaptive management to achieve long-term protection, conservation, and restoration of the sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystem. A key component of this management approach is the identification of knowledge gaps that limit...

  7. A modelling framework for improving plant establishment during ecological restoration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Plants seeded during ecological restoration projects often perish en masse, and researchers are currently searching for traits promoting increased survival. In this study of a big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) ecosystem, we found survivorship rankings of seeded grass species varied across 3...

  8. Flowering branches cause injuries to second-year main stems of Artemisia tridentata nutt. subspecies tridentata

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lance S. Evans; Angela Citta; Stewart C. Sanderson

    2012-01-01

    Eccentricity of stems of Artemisia tridentata Nutt. (big sagebrush) has been reported previously. Analysis of samples observed over 2 years documented that each stem terminal produces about 8-10 branches each year, and during second-year growth, 3-8 of these develop into short, flowering, determinate branches. Each flowering branch produces hundreds of seeds and then...

  9. Understory cover responses to pinon-juniper treatments across tree dominance gradients in the Great Basin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Piñon (Pinus spp.) and juniper (Juniperus spp.) trees are reduced to restore native vegetation and avoid high severity fires where they have invaded sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) communities. To recommend treatment implementation which avoids threshold-crossing to invasive plant dominance w...

  10. Mid-latitude shrub steppe plant communities: climate change consequences for soil water resources.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Palmquist, Kyle A; Schlaepfer, Daniel R; Bradford, John B; Lauenroth, William K

    2016-09-01

    In the coming century, climate change is projected to impact precipitation and temperature regimes worldwide, with especially large effects in drylands. We use big sagebrush ecosystems as a model dryland ecosystem to explore the impacts of altered climate on ecohydrology and the implications of those changes for big sagebrush plant communities using output from 10 Global Circulation Models (GCMs) for two representative concentration pathways (RCPs). We ask: (1) What is the magnitude of variability in future temperature and precipitation regimes among GCMs and RCPs for big sagebrush ecosystems, and (2) How will altered climate and uncertainty in climate forecasts influence key aspects of big sagebrush water balance? We explored these questions across 1980-2010, 2030-2060, and 2070-2100 to determine how changes in water balance might develop through the 21st century. We assessed ecohydrological variables at 898 sagebrush sites across the western US using a process-based soil water model, SOILWAT, to model all components of daily water balance using site-specific vegetation parameters and site-specific soil properties for multiple soil layers. Our modeling approach allowed for changes in vegetation based on climate. Temperature increased across all GCMs and RCPs, whereas changes in precipitation were more variable across GCMs. Winter and spring precipitation was predicted to increase in the future (7% by 2030-2060, 12% by 2070-2100), resulting in slight increases in soil water potential (SWP) in winter. Despite wetter winter soil conditions, SWP decreased in late spring and summer due to increased evapotranspiration (6% by 2030-2060, 10% by 2070-2100) and groundwater recharge (26% and 30% increase by 2030-2060 and 2070-2100). Thus, despite increased precipitation in the cold season, soils may dry out earlier in the year, resulting in potentially longer, drier summer conditions. If winter precipitation cannot offset drier summer conditions in the future, we expect big

  11. Mid-latitude shrub steppe plant communities: Climate change consequences for soil water resources

    Science.gov (United States)

    Palmquist, Kyle A.; Schlaepfer, Daniel R.; Bradford, John B.; Lauenroth, Willliam K.

    2016-01-01

    In the coming century, climate change is projected to impact precipitation and temperature regimes worldwide, with especially large effects in drylands. We use big sagebrush ecosystems as a model dryland ecosystem to explore the impacts of altered climate on ecohydrology and the implications of those changes for big sagebrush plant communities using output from 10 Global Circulation Models (GCMs) for two representative concentration pathways (RCPs). We ask: 1) What is the magnitude of variability in future temperature and precipitation regimes among GCMs and RCPs for big sagebrush ecosystems and 2) How will altered climate and uncertainty in climate forecasts influence key aspects of big sagebrush water balance? We explored these questions across 1980-2010, 2030-2060, and 2070-2100 to determine how changes in water balance might develop through the 21st century. We assessed ecohydrological variables at 898 sagebrush sites across the western US using a process-based soil water model, SOILWAT to model all components of daily water balance using site-specific vegetation parameters and site-specific soil properties for multiple soil layers. Our modeling approach allowed for changes in vegetation based on climate. Temperature increased across all GCMs and RCPs, while changes in precipitation were more variable across GCMs. Winter and spring precipitation was predicted to increase in the future (7% by 2030-2060, 12% by 2070-2100), resulting in slight increases in soil water potential (SWP) in winter. Despite wetter winter soil conditions, SWP decreased in late spring and summer due to increased evapotranspiration (6% by 2030-2060, 10% by 2070-2100) and groundwater recharge (26% and 30% increase by 2030-2060 and 2070-2100). Thus, despite increased precipitation in the cold season, soils may dry out earlier in the year, resulting in potentially longer drier summer conditions. If winter precipitation cannot offset drier summer conditions in the future, we expect big

  12. A conservation planning tool for Greater Sage-grouse using indices of species distribution, resilience, and resistance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ricca, Mark A; Coates, Peter S; Gustafson, K Benjamin; Brussee, Brianne E; Chambers, Jeanne C; Espinosa, Shawn P; Gardner, Scott C; Lisius, Sherri; Ziegler, Pilar; Delehanty, David J; Casazza, Michael L

    2018-06-01

    Managers require quantitative yet tractable tools that identify areas for restoration yielding effective benefits for targeted wildlife species and the ecosystems they inhabit. As a contemporary example of high national significance for conservation, the persistence of Greater Sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in the Great Basin is compromised by strongly interacting stressors of conifer expansion, annual grass invasion, and more frequent wildfires occurring in sagebrush ecosystems. Associated restoration treatments to a sagebrush-dominated state are often costly and may yield relatively little ecological benefit to sage-grouse if implemented without estimating how Sage-grouse may respond to treatments, or do not consider underlying processes influencing sagebrush ecosystem resilience to disturbance and resistance to invasive species. Here, we describe example applications of a spatially explicit conservation planning tool (CPT) to inform prioritization of: (1) removal of conifers (i.e., pinyon-juniper); and (2) wildfire restoration aimed at improving habitat conditions for the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment of Sage-grouse along the California-Nevada state line. The CPT measures ecological benefits to sage-grouse for a given management action through a composite index comprised of resource selection functions and estimates of abundance and space use. For pinyon-juniper removal, we simulated changes in land-cover composition following the removal of sparse trees with intact understories, and ranked treatments on the basis of changes in ecological benefits per dollar-unit of cost. For wildfire restoration, we formulated a conditional model to simulate scenarios for land cover changes (e.g., sagebrush to annual grass) given estimated fire severity and underlying ecosystem processes influencing resilience to disturbance and resistance to invasion by annual grasses. For both applications, we compared CPT rankings to land cover changes along with sagebrush

  13. Monoterpenes as inhibitors of digestive enzymes and counter-adaptations in a specialist avian herbivore.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kohl, Kevin D; Pitman, Elizabeth; Robb, Brecken C; Connelly, John W; Dearing, M Denise; Forbey, Jennifer Sorensen

    2015-05-01

    Many plants produce plant secondary metabolites (PSM) that inhibit digestive enzymes of herbivores, thus limiting nutrient availability. In response, some specialist herbivores have evolved digestive enzymes that are resistant to inhibition. Monoterpenes, a class of PSMs, have not been investigated with respect to the interference of specific digestive enzymes, nor have such interactions been studied in avian herbivores. We investigated this interaction in the Greater Sage-Grouse (Phasianidae: Centrocercus urophasianus), which specializes on monoterpene-rich sagebrush species (Artemisia spp.). We first measured the monoterpene concentrations in gut contents of free-ranging sage-grouse. Next, we compared the ability of seven individual monoterpenes present in sagebrush to inhibit a protein-digesting enzyme, aminopeptidase-N. We also measured the inhibitory effects of PSM extracts from two sagebrush species. Inhibition of aminopeptidase-N in sage-grouse was compared to inhibition in chickens (Gallus gallus). We predicted that sage-grouse enzymes would retain higher activity when incubated with isolated monoterpenes or sagebrush extracts than chicken enzymes. We detected unchanged monoterpenes in the gut contents of free-ranging sage-grouse. We found that three isolated oxygenated monoterpenes (borneol, camphor, and 1,8-cineole) inhibited digestive enzymes of both bird species. Camphor and 1,8-cineole inhibited enzymes from chickens more than from sage-grouse. Extracts from both species of sagebrush had similar inhibition of chicken enzymes, but did not inhibit sage-grouse enzymes. These results suggest that specific monoterpenes may limit the protein digestibility of plant material by avian herbivores. Further, this work presents additional evidence that adaptations of digestive enzymes to plant defensive compounds may be a trait of specialist herbivores.

  14. Multi-model comparison highlights consistency in predicted effect of warming on a semi-arid shrub

    Science.gov (United States)

    Renwick, Katherine M.; Curtis, Caroline; Kleinhesselink, Andrew R.; Schlaepfer, Daniel R.; Bradley, Bethany A.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Poulter, Benjamin; Adler, Peter B.

    2018-01-01

    A number of modeling approaches have been developed to predict the impacts of climate change on species distributions, performance, and abundance. The stronger the agreement from models that represent different processes and are based on distinct and independent sources of information, the greater the confidence we can have in their predictions. Evaluating the level of confidence is particularly important when predictions are used to guide conservation or restoration decisions. We used a multi-model approach to predict climate change impacts on big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), the dominant plant species on roughly 43 million hectares in the western United States and a key resource for many endemic wildlife species. To evaluate the climate sensitivity of A. tridentata, we developed four predictive models, two based on empirically derived spatial and temporal relationships, and two that applied mechanistic approaches to simulate sagebrush recruitment and growth. This approach enabled us to produce an aggregate index of climate change vulnerability and uncertainty based on the level of agreement between models. Despite large differences in model structure, predictions of sagebrush response to climate change were largely consistent. Performance, as measured by change in cover, growth, or recruitment, was predicted to decrease at the warmest sites, but increase throughout the cooler portions of sagebrush's range. A sensitivity analysis indicated that sagebrush performance responds more strongly to changes in temperature than precipitation. Most of the uncertainty in model predictions reflected variation among the ecological models, raising questions about the reliability of forecasts based on a single modeling approach. Our results highlight the value of a multi-model approach in forecasting climate change impacts and uncertainties and should help land managers to maximize the value of conservation investments.

  15. Quantifying restoration effectiveness using multi-scale habitat models: implications for sage-grouse in the Great Basin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arkle, Robert S.; Pilliod, David S.; Hanser, Steven E.; Brooks, Matthew L.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Grace, James B.; Knutson, Kevin C.; Pyke, David A.; Welty, Justin L.

    2014-01-01

    A recurrent challenge in the conservation of wide-ranging, imperiled species is understanding which habitats to protect and whether we are capable of restoring degraded landscapes. For Greater Sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), a species of conservation concern in the western United States, we approached this problem by developing multi-scale empirical models of occupancy in 211 randomly located plots within a 40 million ha portion of the species' range. We then used these models to predict sage-grouse habitat quality at 826 plots associated with 101 post-wildfire seeding projects implemented from 1990 to 2003. We also compared conditions at restoration sites to published habitat guidelines. Sage-grouse occupancy was positively related to plot- and landscape-level dwarf sagebrush (Artemisia arbuscula, A. nova, A. tripartita) and big sagebrush steppe prevalence, and negatively associated with non-native plants and human development. The predicted probability of sage-grouse occupancy at treated plots was low on average (0.09) and not substantially different from burned areas that had not been treated. Restoration sites with quality habitat tended to occur at higher elevation locations with low annual temperatures, high spring precipitation, and high plant diversity. Of 313 plots seeded after fire, none met all sagebrush guidelines for breeding habitats, but approximately 50% met understory guidelines, particularly for perennial grasses. This pattern was similar for summer habitat. Less than 2% of treated plots met winter habitat guidelines. Restoration actions did not increase the probability of burned areas meeting most guideline criteria. The probability of meeting guidelines was influenced by a latitudinal gradient, climate, and topography. Our results suggest that sage-grouse are relatively unlikely to use many burned areas within 20 years of fire, regardless of treatment. Understory habitat conditions are more likely to be adequate than overstory

  16. Grass-Shrub Associations over a Precipitation Gradient and Their Implications for Restoration in the Great Basin, USA.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maike F Holthuijzen

    Full Text Available As environmental stress increases positive (facilitative plant interactions often predominate. Plant-plant associations (or lack thereof can indicate whether certain plant species favor particular types of microsites (e.g., shrub canopies or plant-free interspaces and can provide valuable insights into whether "nurse plants" will contribute to seeding or planting success during ecological restoration. It can be difficult, however, to anticipate how relationships between nurse plants and plants used for restoration may change over large-ranging, regional stress gradients. We investigated associations between the shrub, Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis, and three common native grasses (Poa secunda, Elymus elymoides, and Pseudoroegneria spicata, representing short-, medium-, and deep-rooted growth forms, respectively, across an annual rainfall gradient (220-350 mm in the Great Basin, USA. We hypothesized that positive shrub-grass relationships would become more frequent at lower rainfall levels, as indicated by greater cover of grasses in shrub canopies than vegetation-free interspaces. We sampled aerial cover, density, height, basal width, grazing status, and reproductive status of perennial grasses in canopies and interspaces of 25-33 sagebrush individuals at 32 sites along a rainfall gradient. We found that aerial cover of the shallow rooted grass, P. secunda, was higher in sagebrush canopy than interspace microsites at lower levels of rainfall. Cover and density of the medium-rooted grass, E. elymoides were higher in sagebrush canopies than interspaces at all but the highest rainfall levels. Neither annual rainfall nor sagebrush canopy microsite significantly affected P. spicata cover. E. elymoides and P. spicata plants were taller, narrower, and less likely to be grazed in shrub canopy microsites than interspaces. Our results suggest that exploring sagebrush canopy microsites for restoration of native perennial

  17. Using object-based image analysis to conduct high-resolution conifer extraction at regional spatial scales

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coates, Peter S.; Gustafson, K. Benjamin; Roth, Cali L.; Chenaille, Michael P.; Ricca, Mark A.; Mauch, Kimberly; Sanchez-Chopitea, Erika; Kroger, Travis J.; Perry, William M.; Casazza, Michael L.

    2017-08-10

    The distribution and abundance of pinyon (Pinus monophylla) and juniper (Juniperus osteosperma, J. occidentalis) trees (hereinafter, "pinyon-juniper") in sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystems of the Great Basin in the Western United States has increased substantially since the late 1800s. Distributional expansion and infill of pinyon-juniper into sagebrush ecosystems threatens the ecological function and economic viability of these ecosystems within the Great Basin, and is now a major contemporary challenge facing land and wildlife managers. Particularly, pinyon-juniper encroachment into intact sagebrush ecosystems has been identified as a primary threat facing populations of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereinafter, "sage-grouse"), which is a sagebrush obligate species. Even seemingly innocuous scatterings of isolated pinyon-juniper in an otherwise intact sagebrush landscape can negatively affect survival and reproduction of sage-grouse. Therefore, accurate and high-resolution maps of pinyon-juniper distribution and abundance (indexed by canopy cover) across broad geographic extents would help guide land management decisions that better target areas for pinyon-juniper removal projects (for example, fuel reduction, habitat improvement for sage-grouse, and other sagebrush species) and facilitate science that further quantifies ecological effects of pinyon-juniper encroachment on sage-grouse populations and sagebrush ecosystem processes. Hence, we mapped pinyon-juniper (referred to as conifers for actual mapping) at a 1 × 1-meter (m) high resolution across the entire range of previously mapped sage-grouse habitat in Nevada and northeastern California.We used digital orthophoto quad tiles from National Agriculture Imagery Program (2010, 2013) as base imagery, and then classified conifers using automated feature extraction methodology with the program Feature Analyst™. This method relies on machine learning algorithms that extract features from

  18. Progress Report: Stratton Ecological Research Site - An Experimental Approach to Assess Effects of Various Grazing Treatments on Vegetation and Wildlife Communities Across Managed Burns and Habitat Controls

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erickson, Heidi J.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Hobbs, N. Thompson

    2009-01-01

    Understanding how management practices affect wildlife is fundamental to wise decisions for conservation of public lands. Prescribed fire and grazing timing are two management tools frequently used within publicly owned sagebrush ecosystems. We conducted a variety of surveys in order to assess the impacts of grazing timing strategies (early summer before peak green-up, mid-summer at peak green-up, and late summer after peak green-up) in conjunction with prescribed fire on avian and small mammal populations in a high-elevation sagebrush ecosystem. Avian surveys resulted in a large detection sample size for three bird species: Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri), horned lark (Eremophila alpestris), and vesper sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus). Brewer's sparrows had the lowest number of detections within the mid-summer grazing treatment compared to early and late summer grazing treatments, while horned larks and vesper sparrows had higher detection frequencies within the late summer grazing treatment. Summer and fall sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) pellet counts revealed that the greatest over-winter and over-summer use by sage-grouse occurred within the early summer grazing treatment with minimal use of burn treatment areas across all grazing treatments. Deer-mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) represented approximately 90 percent of small mammals captured and were most prevalent within the mid-summer grazing treatment. Sagebrush cover was greatest within the mid-summer grazing treatment. We monitored 50 and 103 nests in 2007 and 2008, respectively. The apparent success rate for shrub-obligate nesting species was 58 percent in 2007 and 63 percent in 2008. This research will support management of sagebrush ecosystems by providing public land managers with direct comparisons of wildlife response to management regimes.

  19. Tooele Army Depot - South Area Suspected Release Units. RCRA Facility Investigation - Phase 2, for SWMUs 1, 25, and 27

    Science.gov (United States)

    1995-11-01

    metabolism before reaching the systemic circulation. Therefore, a toxic effect attributable to an active metabolite might be more pronounced if the compound...no first-pass metabolism might result in a greater dose of the toxic constituent entering the systemic circulation than if the compound were absorbed...great horned owls, red-tailed hawks, loggerhead shrikes, badgers, Ord’s kangaroo rats, horned larks, and sagebrush lizards. The vegetation types

  20. Litigation Technical Support and Services, Rocky Mountain Arsenal. Biota Remedial Investigation, Version 3.2. Volume 1

    Science.gov (United States)

    1989-05-01

    significantly. while isodrin is an analog of endrtr and is converted metabolically to that compound. Analyses were also performed for I *l.-dichloro-2,2-bis...abundant are the deer mouse, prairie and meadow voles, and Ord’s kangaroo rat. Larger, more conspicuous rodents include the black-tailed prairie dog...meadow vole, Ord’s kangaroo rat, hispid pocket mouse, and silky pocket mouse(MKE, 1988). Tall weedy forb$, yucca, sand sagebrush, and cattails are

  1. Sage-Grouse and Wind Energy: Biology, Habits, and Potential Effects from Development

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Becker, James M.; Tagestad, Jerry D.; Duberstein, Corey A.; Downs, Janelle L.

    2009-07-15

    Proposed development of domestic energy resources, including wind energy, is expected to impact the sagebrush steppe ecosystem in the western United States. The greater sage-grouse relies on habitats within this ecosystem for survival, yet very little is known about how wind energy development may affect sage-grouse. The purpose of this report is to inform organizations of the impacts wind energy development could have on greater sage-grouse populations and identify information needed to fill gaps in knowledge.

  2. Non-target effects on songbirds from habitat manipulation for Greater Sage-Grouse: Implications for the umbrella species concept

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carlisle, Jason D.; Chalfoun, Anna D.; Smith, Kurt T.; Beck, Jeffery L.

    2018-01-01

    The “umbrella species” concept is a conservation strategy in which creating and managing reserve areas to meet the needs of one species is thought to benefit other species indirectly. Broad-scale habitat protections on behalf of an umbrella species are assumed to benefit co-occurring taxa, but targeted management actions to improve local habitat suitability for the umbrella species may produce unintended effects on other species. Our objective was to quantify the effects of a common habitat treatment (mowing of big sagebrush [Artemisia tridentata]) intended to benefit a high-profile umbrella species (Greater Sage-Grouse [Centrocercus urophasianus]) on 3 sympatric songbird species of concern. We used a before–after control-impact experimental design spanning 3 yr in Wyoming, USA, to quantify the effect of mowing on the abundance, nest-site selection, nestling condition, and nest survival of 2 sagebrush-obligate songbirds (Brewer's Sparrow [Spizella breweri] and Sage Thrasher [Oreoscoptes montanus]) and one open-habitat generalist songbird (Vesper Sparrow [Pooecetes gramineus]). Mowing was associated with lower abundance of Brewer's Sparrows and Sage Thrashers but higher abundance of Vesper Sparrows. We found no Brewer's Sparrows or Sage Thrashers nesting in the mowed footprint posttreatment, which suggests complete loss of nesting habitat for these species. Mowing was associated with higher nestling condition and nest survival for Vesper Sparrows but not for the sagebrush-obligate species. Management prescriptions that remove woody biomass within a mosaic of intact habitat may be tolerated by sagebrush-obligate songbirds but are likely more beneficial for open-habitat generalist species. By definition, umbrella species conservation entails habitat protections at broad spatial scales. We caution that habitat manipulations to benefit Greater Sage-Grouse could negatively affect nontarget species of conservation concern if implemented across large spatial extents.

  3. Mitigation effectiveness for improving nesting success of greater sage-grouse influenced by energy development

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kirol, Christopher P.; Sutphin, Andrew L.; Bond, Laura S.; Fuller, Mark R.; Maechtle, Thomas L.

    2015-01-01

    Sagebrush Artemisia spp. habitats being developed for oil and gas reserves are inhabited by sagebrush obligate species — including the greater sage-grouse Centrocercus urophasianus (sage-grouse) that is currently being considered for protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Numerous studies suggest increasing oil and gas development may exacerbate species extinction risks. Therefore, there is a great need for effective on-site mitigation to reduce impacts to co-occurring wildlife such as sage-grouse. Nesting success is a primary factor in avian productivity and declines in nesting success are also thought to be an important contributor to population declines in sage-grouse. From 2008 to 2011 we monitored 296 nests of radio-marked female sage-grouse in a natural gas (NG) field in the Powder River Basin, Wyoming, USA, and compared nest survival in mitigated and non-mitigated development areas and relatively unaltered areas to determine if specific mitigation practices were enhancing nest survival. Nest survival was highest in relatively unaltered habitats followed by mitigated, and then non-mitigated NG areas. Reservoirs used for holding NG discharge water had the greatest support as having a direct relationship to nest survival. Within a 5-km2 area surrounding a nest, the probability of nest failure increased by about 15% for every 1.5 km increase in reservoir water edge. Reducing reservoirs was a mitigation focus and sage-grouse nesting in mitigated areas were exposed to almost half of the amount of water edge compared to those in non-mitigated areas. Further, we found that an increase in sagebrush cover was positively related to nest survival. Consequently, mitigation efforts focused on reducing reservoir construction and reducing surface disturbance, especially when the surface disturbance results in sagebrush removal, are important to enhancing sage-grouse nesting success.

  4. Pinon-juniper reduction increases soil water availability of the resource growth pool

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bruce A. Roundy; Kert Young; Nathan Cline; April Hulet; Richard F. Miller; Robin J. Tausch; Jeanne C. Chambers; Ben Rau

    2014-01-01

    Managers reduce piñon (Pinus spp.) and juniper (Juniperus spp.) trees that are encroaching on sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) communities to lower fuel loads and increase cover of desirable understory species. All plant species in these communities depend on soil water held at > −1.5 MPa matric potential in the upper 0.3 m of soil for nutrient...

  5. Ordinary High Flows and the Stage-Discharge Relationship in the Arid West Region

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-07-01

    other authorized documents. DESTROY THIS REPORT WHEN NO LONGER NEEDED. DO NOT RETURN IT TO THE ORIGINATOR . ERDC/CRREL TR-11-12 iii Table of...occurring physical features such as bedrock banks for higher flows. A more complete description of the types of controls and their significance for...Most precipitation falls as snow Sagebrush; Xerophytic shrub vegetation Aridisols low in humus and high in calcium carbonate Most of the

  6. MODELING ECONOMIC AND ECOLOGICAL BENEFITS OF POST-FIRE REVEGETATION IN THE GREAT BASIN

    OpenAIRE

    Niell, Rebecca; Englin, Jeffrey E.; Nalle, Darek

    2004-01-01

    This study employs a Markov chain model of vegetation dynamics to examine the economic and ecological benefits of post-fire revegetation in the Great Basin sagebrush steppe. The analysis is important because synergies between wildland fire and invasive weeds in this ecosystem are likely to result in the loss of native biodiversity, less predictable forage availability for livestock and wildlife, reduced watershed stability and water quality, and increased costs and risk associated with firefi...

  7. Natural vegetation at the proposed Reference Repository Location in southeastern Washington

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rickard, W.H.

    1988-02-01

    The dominant shrubs were sagebrush and spiny hopsage; the herbs were dominated by cheatgrass and Sandberg bluegrass. Spiny hopsage appeared to be vulnerable to burning and also to damage by off-road vehicular traffic. It appears to have little or no ability to reproduce through seedlings; once the existing plants are killed they are not likely to be replaced, even if seed-producing plants are nearby. The only pure stand of spiny hopsage known to exist on the Hanford Site is on and near study plot 2H. Sagebrush, like spiny hopsage, is killed by burning and by heavy vehicles. Sagebrush is capable of reproducing via seeds, indicating that it is an inherently aggressive species with a capacity to reestablish itself if parent plants are in the vicinity to act as seed sources. Alien, annual plants, especially cheatgrass, were a major contributor to the herbaceous canopy cover in plots 3S, 4S, and 5S. However, native perennial grasses, especially Sandberg bluegrass, were a major contributor to the canopy cover in plots 1S and 2H. These differences are probably caused by differences in soil properties (e.g., water retention capacity), rather than to historical disturbances such as livestock grazing or wildfire. Specimens of Sandwort, Arenaria franklinii, growing near the Reference Repository Location were collected for examination by taxonomists to determine if the specimens are of the variety A. f. thompsonii, a taxon currently listed as threatened in the state of Washington. 16 refs., 7 figs., 3 tabs

  8. A seasonal comparison of deposition velocities and retention half-times for Cs-134 and Ce-141 on cool desert vegetation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Millard, Gloria C.; Fraley, Leslie Jr.; Markham, O.D.

    1978-01-01

    Due to a scarcity of reliable deposition velocity estimates for radionuclides (particularly those in the submicron range) pooled estimates have been used to predict population doses resulting from atmospheric releases of radioactive particulates. The use of these estimates has led to large uncertainties in whole body dose estimates. Deposition velocities and retention half-times were therefore determined for submicron aerosols of 141 Ce (biologically inactive) and 134 Cs (biologically active) on sagebrush dominated desert vegetation in SE Idaho. Approximately 250 mCi (9.3 GBq) of each radionuclide were released over stands of Artemisia tridentata (big sagebrush) and bottlebrush grass (Sitanion hystrix) during three stages of plant development - spring vegetative growth, seed development, and plant dormancy. Air filters and vegetation samples were collected immediately following each release for use in deposition velocity calculations. Vegetation sampling was continued for a period of three months to obtain retention data. Deposition velocity values were 0.20 cm/s for sagebrush and 0.025 cm/s for grass. The loss of activity on the vegetation seemed to best fit a two component exponential loss function. Short component half-times were 1 to 2 days for both species. Long component half-times were two to three weeks for the shrub species and one to two weeks for the grass species. No significant difference was observed between nuclides. (author)

  9. Sage-grouse habitat selection during winter in Alberta

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carpenter, Jennifer L.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Boyce, Mark S.

    2010-01-01

    Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) are dependent on sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) for food and shelter during winter, yet few studies have assessed winter habitat selection, particularly at scales applicable to conservation planning. Small changes to availability of winter habitats have caused drastic reductions in some sage-grouse populations. We modeled winter habitat selection by sage-grouse in Alberta, Canada, by using a resource selection function. Our purpose was to 1) generate a robust winter habitat-selection model for Alberta sage-grouse; 2) spatially depict habitat suitability in a Geographic Information System to identify areas with a high probability of selection and thus, conservation importance; and 3) assess the relative influence of human development, including oil and gas wells, in landscape models of winter habitat selection. Terrain and vegetation characteristics, sagebrush cover, anthropogenic landscape features, and energy development were important in top Akaike's Information Criterionselected models. During winter, sage-grouse selected dense sagebrush cover and homogenous less rugged areas, and avoided energy development and 2-track truck trails. Sage-grouse avoidance of energy development highlights the need for comprehensive management strategies that maintain suitable habitats across all seasons. ?? 2010 The Wildlife Society.

  10. Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) nesting and brood-rearing microhabitat in Nevada and California—Spatial variation in selection and survival patterns

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coates, Peter S.; Brussee, Brianne E.; Ricca, Mark A.; Dudko, Jonathan E.; Prochazka, Brian G.; Espinosa, Shawn P.; Casazza, Michael L.; Delehanty, David J.

    2017-08-10

    Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereinafter, "sage-grouse") are highly dependent on sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) dominated vegetation communities for food and cover from predators. Although this species requires the presence of sagebrush shrubs in the overstory, it also inhabits a broad geographic distribution with significant gradients in precipitation and temperature that drive variation in sagebrush ecosystem structure and concomitant shrub understory conditions. Variability in understory conditions across the species’ range may be responsible for the sometimes contradictory findings in the scientific literature describing sage-grouse habitat use and selection during important life history stages, such as nesting. To help understand the importance of this variability and to help guide management actions, we evaluated the nesting and brood-rearing microhabitat factors that influence selection and survival patterns in the Great Basin using a large dataset of microhabitat characteristics from study areas spanning northern Nevada and a portion of northeastern California from 2009 to 2016. The spatial and temporal coverage of the dataset provided a powerful opportunity to evaluate microhabitat factors important to sage-grouse reproduction, while also considering habitat variation associated with different climatic conditions and areas affected by wildfire. The summary statistics for numerous microhabitat factors, and the strength of their association with sage-grouse habitat selection and survival, are provided in this report to support decisions by land managers, policy-makers, and others with the best-available science in a timely manner.

  11. Occurrence and abundance of ants, reptiles, and mammals: Chapter 7

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-01-01

    Sagebrush (Artemisia spp.)- associated wildlife are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation and by impacts associated with anthropogenic disturbances, including energy development. Understanding how species of concern as well as other wildlife including insects, reptiles, and mammals respond to type and spatial scale of disturbance is critical to managing future land uses and identifying sites that are important for conservation. We developed statistical models to describe species occurrence or abundance, based on area searches in 7.29-ha survey blocks, across the Wyoming Basins Ecoregional Assessment (WBEA) area for six shrub steppe-associated species: harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex spp.), thatch ant (Formica spp.), short-horned lizard (Phrynosoma hernandesi), white-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus townsendii), cottontail (Sylvilagus spp.) and least chipmunk (Tamius minimus). We modeled patterns in occupancy or abundance relative to multi-scale measures of vegetation type and pattern, abiotic site characteristics, and anthropogenic disturbance factors. Sagebrush habitat was a strong predictor of occurrence for shorthorned lizards and white-tailed jackrabbits, but weak for the other four species. Vegetation and abiotic characteristics were strong determinants of species occurrence, although the scale of response was not consistent among species. All species, with the exception of the short-horned lizard, responded to anthropogenic disturbance, although responses again varied as a function of scale and direction (negative and positive influences). Our results improve our understanding of how environmental and anthropogenic factors affect species distributions across the WBEA area and facilitate a multi-species approach to management of this sagebrush ecosystem.

  12. Great Basin land managers provide detailed feedback about usefulness of two climate information web applications

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chad Zanocco

    Full Text Available Land managers in the Great Basin are working to maintain or restore sagebrush ecosystems as climate change exacerbates existing threats. Web applications delivering climate change and climate impacts information have the potential to assist their efforts. Although many web applications containing climate information currently exist, few have been co-produced with land managers or have incorporated information specifically focused on land managers’ needs. Through surveys and interviews, we gathered detailed feedback from federal, state, and tribal sagebrush land managers in the Great Basin on climate information web applications targeting land management. We found that a managers are searching for weather and climate information they can incorporate into their current management strategies and plans; b they are willing to be educated on how to find and understand climate related web applications; c both field and administrative-type managers want data for timescales ranging from seasonal to decadal; d managers want multiple levels of climate information, from simple summaries, to detailed descriptions accessible through the application; and e managers are interested in applications that evaluate uncertainty and provide projected climate impacts. Keywords: Great Basin, Sagebrush, Land management, Climate change, Web application, Co-production

  13. U.S. Geological Survey shrub/grass products provide new approach to shrubland monitoring

    Science.gov (United States)

    Young, Steven M.

    2017-12-11

    In the Western United States, shrubland ecosystems provide vital ecological, hydrological, biological, agricultural, and recreational services. However, disturbances such as livestock grazing, exotic species invasion, conversion to agriculture, climate change, urban expansion, and energy development are altering these ecosystems.Improving our understanding of how shrublands are distributed, where they are changing, the extent of the historical change, and likely future change directions is critical for successful management of these ecosystems. Remote-sensing technologies provide the most likely data source for large-area monitoring of ecosystem disturbance—both near-real time and historically. A monitoring framework supported by remote-sensing data can offer efficient and accurate analysis of change across a range of spatial and temporal scales.The U.S. Geological Survey has been working to develop new remote-sensing data, tools, and products to characterize and monitor these changing shrubland landscapes. Nine individual map products (components) have been developed that quantify the percent of shrub, sagebrush, big sagebrush, herbaceous, annual herbaceous, litter, bare ground, shrub height, and sagebrush height at 1-percent intervals in each 30-meter grid cell. These component products are designed to be combined and customized to widely support different applications in rangeland monitoring, analysis of wildlife habitat, resource inventory, adaptive management, and environmental review.

  14. Precipitation affects plant communication and defense.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pezzola, Enrico; Mancuso, Stefano; Karban, Richard

    2017-06-01

    Anti-herbivore defense shows high levels of both inter- and intraspecific variability. Defending against herbivores may be costly to the plant when it requires a tradeoff in allocation between defense and other missed opportunities, such as reproduction. Indeed, the plastic expression of defensive traits allows the plant to invest resources in defense only when the risk of being damaged actually increases, avoiding wasted resources. Plants may assess risk by responding to volatile cues emitted by neighbors that are under attack. Most plastic responses likely depend on environmental conditions. In this experiment, we investigated the effect of water availability on resistance induced by volatile cues in sagebrush. We found that plants receiving additional water over summer and/or volatile cues from neighbor donor plants showed reduced herbivore damage compared to control plants. Interestingly, we found no evidence of interactions between additional water and volatile cues. We performed an inferential analysis comparing historical records of the levels of herbivore damage during different years that had different temperature and precipitation accumulations. Results confirmed findings from the experiment, as the regression model indicated that sagebrush was better defended during wetter and hotter seasons. Reports from the literature indicated that sagebrush is extremely sensitive to water availability in the soil. We suggest that water availability may directly affect resistance of herbivory as well as sensitivity to cues of damage. Costs and benefits of allocating resources to defensive traits may vary with environmental conditions. © 2017 by the Ecological Society of America.

  15. Characterization of shrubland ecosystem components as continuous fields in the northwest United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xian, George Z.; Homer, Collin G.; Rigge, Matthew B.; Shi, Hua; Meyer, Debbie

    2015-01-01

    Accurate and consistent estimates of shrubland ecosystem components are crucial to a better understanding of ecosystem conditions in arid and semiarid lands. An innovative approach was developed by integrating multiple sources of information to quantify shrubland components as continuous field products within the National Land Cover Database (NLCD). The approach consists of several procedures including field sample collections, high-resolution mapping of shrubland components using WorldView-2 imagery and regression tree models, Landsat 8 radiometric balancing and phenological mosaicking, medium resolution estimates of shrubland components following different climate zones using Landsat 8 phenological mosaics and regression tree models, and product validation. Fractional covers of nine shrubland components were estimated: annual herbaceous, bare ground, big sagebrush, herbaceous, litter, sagebrush, shrub, sagebrush height, and shrub height. Our study area included the footprint of six Landsat 8 scenes in the northwestern United States. Results show that most components have relatively significant correlations with validation data, have small normalized root mean square errors, and correspond well with expected ecological gradients. While some uncertainties remain with height estimates, the model formulated in this study provides a cross-validated, unbiased, and cost effective approach to quantify shrubland components at a regional scale and advances knowledge of horizontal and vertical variability of these components.

  16. Climate adaption and post-fire restoration of a foundational perennial in cold desert: Insights from intraspecific variation in response to weather

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brabec, Martha M.; Germino, Matthew; Richardson, Bryce A.

    2017-01-01

    1.The loss of foundational but fire-intolerant perennials such as sagebrush due to increases in fire size and frequency in semiarid regions has motivated efforts to restore them, often with mixed or even no success. Seeds of sagebrush Artemisia tridentata and related species must be moved considerable distances from seed source to planting sites, but such transfers have not been guided by an understanding of local climate adaptation. Initial seedling establishment and its response to weather are a key demographic bottleneck that likely varies among subspecies and populations of sagebrush. 2.We assessed differences in survival, growth, and physiological responses of sagebrush to weather among eleven seed sources that varied in subspecies, cytotype, and climates-of-origin over 18 months following outplanting. Diploid or polyploid populations of mountain, Wyoming, and basin big sagebrush (A.tridentata ssp. vaseyana, A.tridentata ssp. wyomingensis, and A.tridentata ssp. tridentata, respectively) were planted onto five burned sites that normally support A.t.wyomingensis with some A.t.tridentata. 3.A.t.wyomingensis had the most growth and survival, and tetraploid populations had greater survival and height than diploids. Seasonal timing of mortality varied among the subspecies/cytotypes and was more closely related to minimum temperatures than water deficit. 4.Temperatures required to induce ice formation were up to 6°C more negative in 4n-A.t.tridentata and A.t.wyomingensis than other subspecies/cytotypes, indicating greater freezing avoidance. In contrast, freezing resistance of photosynthesis varied only 1°C among subspecies/cytotypes, being greatest in A.t.wyomingensis and least in the subspecies normally considered most cold-adapted,A.t.vaseyana. A large spectrum of reliance on freezing-avoidance vs. freezing-tolerance was observed and corresponded to differences in post-fire survivorship among subspecies/cytotypes. Differences in water deficit

  17. Energy development and avian nest survival in Wyoming, USA: A test of a common disturbance index

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hethcoat, Matthew G.; Chalfoun, Anna D.

    2015-01-01

    Global energy demands continue to result in new and emerging sources of anthropogenic disturbance to populations and systems. Here, we assessed the influence of natural gas development on a critical component of fitness (nest survival) for Brewer’s sparrow (Spizella breweri), sagebrush sparrow (Artemisiospiza nevadensis), and sage thrasher (Oreoscoptes montanus), three species of sagebrush-obligate songbirds that are of conservation concern, and assessed the efficacy of a commonly used index of oil and gas development intensity (well density) for estimating habitat transformation and predicting species’ responses. During 2008–2009 and 2011–2012 we monitored 926 nests within two natural gas fields in western Wyoming, USA. We calculated landscape metrics (habitat loss, amount of edge, patch shape complexity, and mean patch size) to identify the aspect of landscape transformation most captured by well density. Well density was most positively associated with the amount of sagebrush habitat loss within 1 square kilometer. Nest survival was relatively invariant with respect to well density for all three species. In contrast, nest survival rates of all three species generally decreased with surrounding habitat loss due to energy development. Thus, although well density and habitat loss were strongly correlated, well density resulted in overly conservative estimates of nest survival probability. Our results emphasize the importance of careful evaluation of the appropriateness of particular indices for quantifying the effects of human-induced habitat change. For managers concerned about the effects of natural gas development or similar forms of human land use to co-occurring breeding birds, we recommend minimizing the amount of associated habitat conversion.

  18. Mapping SOC (Soil Organic Carbon) using LiDAR-derived vegetation indices in a random forest regression model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Will, R. M.; Glenn, N. F.; Benner, S. G.; Pierce, J. L.; Spaete, L.; Li, A.

    2015-12-01

    Quantifying SOC (Soil Organic Carbon) storage in complex terrain is challenging due to high spatial variability. Generally, the challenge is met by transforming point data to the entire landscape using surrogate, spatially-distributed, variables like elevation or precipitation. In many ecosystems, remotely sensed information on above-ground vegetation (e.g. NDVI) is a good predictor of below-ground carbon stocks. In this project, we are attempting to improve this predictive method by incorporating LiDAR-derived vegetation indices. LiDAR provides a mechanism for improved characterization of aboveground vegetation by providing structural parameters such as vegetation height and biomass. In this study, a random forest model is used to predict SOC using a suite of LiDAR-derived vegetation indices as predictor variables. The Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed (RCEW) is an ideal location for a study of this type since it encompasses a strong elevation/precipitation gradient that supports lower biomass sagebrush ecosystems at low elevations and forests with more biomass at higher elevations. Sagebrush ecosystems composed of Wyoming, Low and Mountain Sagebrush have SOC values ranging from .4 to 1% (top 30 cm), while higher biomass ecosystems composed of aspen, juniper and fir have SOC values approaching 4% (top 30 cm). Large differences in SOC have been observed between canopy and interspace locations and high resolution vegetation information is likely to explain plot scale variability in SOC. Mapping of the SOC reservoir will help identify underlying controls on SOC distribution and provide insight into which processes are most important in determining SOC in semi-arid mountainous regions. In addition, airborne LiDAR has the potential to characterize vegetation communities at a high resolution and could be a tool for improving estimates of SOC at larger scales.

  19. Seasonal Habitat Use by Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) on a Landscape with Low Density Oil and Gas Development.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rice, Mindy B; Rossi, Liza G; Apa, Anthony D

    2016-01-01

    Fragmentation of the sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystem has led to concern about a variety of sagebrush obligates including the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). Given the increase of energy development within greater sage-grouse habitats, mapping seasonal habitats in pre-development populations is critical. The North Park population in Colorado is one of the largest and most stable in the state and provides a unique case study for investigating resource selection at a relatively low level of energy development compared to other populations both within and outside the state. We used locations from 117 radio-marked female greater sage-grouse in North Park, Colorado to develop seasonal resource selection models. We then added energy development variables to the base models at both a landscape and local scale to determine if energy variables improved the fit of the seasonal models. The base models for breeding and winter resource selection predicted greater use in large expanses of sagebrush whereas the base summer model predicted greater use along the edge of riparian areas. Energy development variables did not improve the winter or the summer models at either scale of analysis, but distance to oil/gas roads slightly improved model fit at both scales in the breeding season, albeit in opposite ways. At the landscape scale, greater sage-grouse were closer to oil/gas roads whereas they were further from oil/gas roads at the local scale during the breeding season. Although we found limited effects from low level energy development in the breeding season, the scale of analysis can influence the interpretation of effects. The lack of strong effects from energy development may be indicative that energy development at current levels are not impacting greater sage-grouse in North Park. Our baseline seasonal resource selection maps can be used for conservation to help identify ways of minimizing the effects of energy development.

  20. Establishing Artemisia tridentata ssp wyomingensis on mined lands: Science and economics

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Schuman, G.E.; Vicklund, L.E.; Belden, S.E. [ARS, Cheyenne, WY (United States). High Plains Grasslands Research Station

    2005-12-01

    In 1996, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality enacted regulations governing the reestablishment of woody shrubs on mined lands. The regulation required that an average density of one shrub m{sup -2} be reestablished on at least 20% of the disturbed land area and that the shrub composition must include dominant premine species. In Wyoming, and much of the Northern Great Plains, that meant that Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. wyomingensis (Beetle and Young) (Wyoming big sagebrush) had to be reestablished on mined lands. Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. wyomingensis had proven difficult to reestablish on mined lands because of poor quality seed, seed dormancy and a poor understanding of the seedbed ecology of this species. Research in the last two decades has produced significant knowledge in the area of direct-seed establishment of Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. wyomingensis on mined lands. Our research has shown that reducing grass seeding rates will reduce competition and result in larger sagebrush plants that are more likely to survive and provide greater structural diversity to the plant community. Economic analyses demonstrated that big sagebrush can be established at a cost of $0.01-0.05 per seedling using direct seeding methods compared to transplanting nursery grown seedlings, estimated to cost $0.72-$1.65 per seedling (depending on size) to grow and from $1.30-$2.40 to plant (flat land to 2:1 slopes). An adequate level of precipitation will be necessary to ensure successful establishment of this species no matter what method of propagation is selected and direct seeding gives greater opportunity for success because of the demonstrated longevity of the seed to germinate 3-5 years after the initial seeding.

  1. Nest-site selection and reproductive success of greater sage-grouse in a fire-affected habitat of northwestern Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lockyer, Zachary B.; Coates, Peter S.; Casazza, Michael L.; Espinosa, Shawn; Delehanty, David J.

    2015-01-01

    Identifying links between micro-habitat selection and wildlife reproduction is imperative to population persistence and recovery. This information is particularly important for landscape species such as greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; sage-grouse). Although this species has been widely studied, because environmental factors can affect sage-grouse populations, local and regional studies are crucial for developing viable conservation strategies. We studied the habitat-use patterns of 71 radio-marked sage-grouse inhabiting an area affected by wildfire in the Virginia Mountains of northwestern Nevada during 2009–2011 to determine the effect of micro-habitat attributes on reproductive success. We measured standard vegetation parameters at nest and random sites using a multi-scale approach (range = 0.01–15,527 ha). We used an information-theoretic modeling approach to identify environmental factors influencing nest-site selection and survival, and determine whether nest survival was a function of resource selection. Sage-grouse selected micro-sites with greater shrub canopy cover and less cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) cover than random sites. Total shrub canopy, including sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) and other shrub species, at small spatial scales (0.8 ha and 3.1 ha) was the single contributing selection factor to higher nest survival. These results indicate that reducing the risk of wildfire to maintain important sagebrush habitats could be emphasized in sage-grouse conservation strategies in Nevada. Managers may seek to mitigate the influx of annual grass invasion by preserving large intact sagebrush-dominated stands with a mixture of other shrub species. For this area of Nevada, the results suggest that ≥40% total shrub canopy cover in sage-grouse nesting areas could yield improved reproductive success. 

  2. Landscape characteristics and livestock presence influence common ravens: Relevance to greater sage-grouse conservation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coates, Peter S.; Brussee, Brianne E.; Howe, Kristy; Gustafson, K. Ben; Casazza, Michael L.; Delehanty, David J.

    2016-01-01

    Common raven (Corvus corax; hereafter, raven) population abundance in the sagebrush steppe of the American West has increased threefold during the previous four decades, largely as a result of unintended resource subsidies from human land-use practices. This is concerning because ravens frequently depredate nests of species of conservation concern, such as greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereafter, sage-grouse). Grazing by livestock in sagebrush ecosystems is common practice on most public lands, but associations between livestock and ravens are poorly understood. The primary objective of this study was to identify the effects of livestock on raven occurrence while accounting for landscape characteristics within human-altered sagebrush steppe habitat, particularly in areas occupied by breeding sage-grouse. Using data from southeastern Idaho collected during spring and summer across 3 yr, we modeled raven occurrence as a function of the presence of livestock while accounting for multiple landscape covariates, including land cover features, topographical features, and proximity to sage-grouse lek sites (breeding grounds), as well as site-level anthropogenic features. While accounting for landscape characteristics, we found that the odds of raven occurrence increased 45.8% in areas where livestock were present. In addition, ravens selected areas near sage-grouse leks, with the odds of occurrence decreasing 8.9% for every 1-km distance, increase away from the lek. We did not find an association between livestock use and distance to lek. We also found that ravens selected sites with relatively lower elevation containing increased amounts of cropland, wet meadow, and urbanization. Limiting raven access to key anthropogenic subsidies and spatially segregating livestock from sage-grouse breeding areas would likely reduce exposure of predatory ravens to sage-grouse nests and chicks.

  3. Bird associations with shrubsteppe plant communities at the proposed reference repository location in southeastern Washington

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Schuler, C.A.; Rickard, W.H.; Sargeant, G.A.

    1988-03-01

    This report provides information on te seasonal use of shrubsteppe vegetation by bird species at the RRL. Bird abundance and distribution were studied at the RRL to ensure that the DOE monitored migratory bird species pursuant to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and to assess potential impacts of site characterization activities on bird populations. Birds were counted on two transects that together sampled an areas of 1.39 km/sup 2/. The relative abundance of birds, species richness, seasonal distribution, and the association of breeding shrubsteppe birds with major vegetation types were determined from Janurary through December 1987. Only 38 species were counted during 82 surveys. Total bird density during the nesting season (March-June) was 42.96 birdskm/sup 2/ and the density for the entire year was 26.74 birdskm/sup 2/. The characteristic nesting birds in shrubsteppe habitats were western meadowlark, sage sparrow, burrowing owl, mourning dove, horned lark, long-billed curlew, lark sparrow, and loggerhead shrike. Western meadowlark and sage sparrows were the most abundant breeding birds with an average density of 11.25 and 7.76 birdskm/sup 2/, respectively. Seasonal distribution of birds varied with species, but most species were present from March to September. Distribution and abunandance of nesting birds were correlated with habitat type. About 63% of the habitat surveyed was sagebrush, 26% was cheatgrass, and 11% was spiny hopsage. Sagebrush habitat supproted a greeater total bird density than cheatgrass or hopsage habitats. Sage sparrows were closely associated with sagebrush habitats, while western meadowlarks showed no strong habitat affinities. 22 refs., 9 figs., 6 tabs

  4. Interspecific nest parasitism by chukar on greater sage-grouse

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fearon, Michelle L.; Coates, Peter S.

    2014-01-01

    Nest parasitism occurs when a female bird lays eggs in the nest of another and the host incubates the eggs and may provide some form of parental care for the offspring (Lyon and Eadie 1991). Precocial birds (e.g., Galliformes and Anseriformes) are typically facultative nest parasites of both their own and other species (Lyon and Eadie 1991). This behavior increases a female’s reproductive success when she parasitizes other nests while simultaneously raising her own offspring. Both interspecific and conspecific nest parasitism have been well documented in several families of the order Galliformes, particularly the Phasianidae (Lyon and Eadie 1991, Geffen and Yom-Tov 2001, Krakauer and Kimball 2009). The Chukar (Alectoris chukar) has been widely introduced as a game bird to western North America from Eurasia and is now well established within the Great Basin from northeastern California east to Utah and north to Idaho and Oregon (Christensen 1996). Over much of this range the Chukar occurs with other phasianids, including the native Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), within sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) steppe (Christensen 1996, Schroeder et al. 1999, Connelly et al. 2000). Chukar typically exploit a broader range of habitats than do sage-grouse, but both species use the same species of sagebrush and other shrubs for nesting cover (Christensen 1996, Schroeder et al. 1999). Chukar are known to parasitize nests of other individuals of their own species (Geffen and Yom-Tov 2001), but we are unaware of reported evidence that Chukar may parasitize nests of sage-grouse. Here we describe a case of a Chukar parasitizing a sage-grouse nest in the sagebrush steppe of western Nevada.

  5. The historical distribution of Gunnison Sage-Grouse in Colorado

    Science.gov (United States)

    Braun, Clait E.; Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; Nehring, Jennifer A.; Commons, Michelle L.; Young, Jessica R.; Potter, Kim M.

    2014-01-01

    The historical distribution of Gunnison Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus minimus) in Colorado is described based on published literature, observations, museum specimens, and the known distribution of sagebrush (Artemisia spp.). Historically, Gunnison Sage-Grouse were widely but patchily distributed in up to 22 counties in south-central and southwestern Colorado. The historical distribution of this species was south of the Colorado-Eagle river drainages primarily west of the Continental Divide. Potential contact areas with Greater Sage-Grouse (C. urophasianus) were along the Colorado-Eagle river system in Mesa, Garfield, and Eagle counties, west of the Continental Divide. Gunnison Sage-Grouse historically occupied habitats that were naturally highly fragmented by forested mountains and plateaus/mesas, intermountain basins without robust species of sagebrush, and river systems. This species adapted to use areas with more deciduous shrubs (i.e., Quercus spp., Amelanchier spp., Prunus spp.) in conjunction with sagebrush. Most areas historically occupied were small, linear, and patchily distributed within the overall landscape matrix. The exception was the large intermountain basin in Gunnison, Hinsdale, and Saguache counties. The documented distribution east of the Continental Divide within the large expanse of the San Luis Valley (Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, and Rio Grande counties) was minimal and mostly on the eastern, northern, and southern fringes. Many formerly occupied habitat patches were vacant by the mid 1940s with extirpations continuing to the late 1990s. Counties from which populations were recently extirpated include Archuleta and Pitkin (1960s), and Eagle, Garfield, Montezuma, and Ouray (1990s).

  6. Enhancing Pre- and Post-Wildfire Vegetation Recovery and Understanding Feedbacks of Cheatgrass invasion Using NASA Earth Observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olsen, N.; Counts, A.; Quistorff, C.; Ohr, C. A.; Toner, C.

    2017-12-01

    Increasing wildfire frequency and severity has emphasized the importance of post-wildfire recovery efforts in southern Idaho's sagebrush ecosystems. These changing fire regimes favor invasive grass species while hindering native sagebrush habitat regeneration, causing a positive feedback cycle of invasive growth - wildfires - invasive growth. Due to this undesirable process and anthropogenic influences, the sagebrush ecosystem is one of the most endangered in the US. In this project the NASA DEVELOP group of Pocatello, Idaho partnered with the Bureau of Land Management, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and the US Department of Agriculture to characterize ecosystem recovery following the Crystal (2006), Henry Creek (2016), Jefferson (2010), and Soda (2015) wildfires. Determining vegetation cover heterogeneity and density can be time consuming and the factors affecting ecosystem recovery can be complex. In addition, restoration success is difficult to determine as vegetation composition is not often known prior to wildfire events and monitoring vegetation composition after restoration efforts can be resource intensive. These wildfires temporal monitoring consisted of 2001 to 2017 using NASA Earth observations such as Landsat 5 Thermal Mapper (TM), Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI), Terra Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) to determine the most significant factors of wildfire recovery and the influence targeted grazing could have for recovery. In addition, this project will include monitoring of invasive species propagation and whether spatial patterns or extents of the wildfire contribute to propagation. Understanding the key variables that made reseeding and natural recovery work in some areas, assessing why they failed in others, and identifying factors that made non-native propagation ideal are important issues for land managers in this region.

  7. Long-term effects of wildfire on greater sage-grouse - integrating population and ecosystem concepts for management in the Great Basin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coates, Peter S.; Ricca, Mark A.; Prochazka, Brian G.; Doherty, Kevin E.; Brooks, Matthew L.; Casazza, Michael L.

    2015-09-10

    Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereinafter, sage-grouse) are a sagebrush obligate species that has declined concomitantly with the loss and fragmentation of sagebrush ecosystems across most of its geographical range. The species currently is listed as a candidate for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Increasing wildfire frequency and changing climate frequently are identified as two environmental drivers that contribute to the decline of sage-grouse populations, yet few studies have rigorously quantified their effects on sage-grouse populations across broad spatial scales and long time periods. To help inform a threat assessment within the Great Basin for listing sage-grouse in 2015 under the ESA, we conducted an extensive analysis of wildfire and climatic effects on sage-grouse population growth derived from 30 years of lek-count data collected across the hydrographic Great Basin of Western North America. Annual (1984–2013) patterns of wildfire were derived from an extensive dataset of remotely sensed 30-meter imagery and precipitation derived from locally downscaled spatially explicit data. In the sagebrush ecosystem, underlying soil conditions also contribute strongly to variation in resilience to disturbance and resistance to plant community changes (R&R). Thus, we developed predictions from models of post-wildfire recovery and chronic effects of wildfire based on three spatially explicit R&R classes derived from soil moisture and temperature regimes. We found evidence of an interaction between the effects of wildfire (chronically affected burned area within 5 kilometers of a lek) and climatic conditions (spring through fall precipitation) after accounting for a consistent density-dependent effect. Specifically, burned areas near leks nullifies population growth that normally follows years with relatively high precipitation. In models, this effect results in long-term population declines for sage-grouse despite cyclic

  8. Environmental Assessment Supplement: Proposed Military Construction Project, Deployable Medical System Training Area and Military Equipment Parking, Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-11-01

    banks, from the sagebrush plains into the lower mountains, often in ponderosa pine ( Pinus ponderosa) forest. In Washington, the species occurs with...area and within a designated conservation area. The community type, pinus ponderosa/symphocarpus albus is listed as a rare community type by the state...Formaldehyde 8.51 13.2 108-38-3; 106-42-3 M & p-xylene 0.89 1.38 78-93-3 Methyl ethyl ketone (2- butanone) 2.86 4.44 91-20-3 Naphthalene 0.24 0.365 95-47-6 O

  9. Navigating the high seas of Federal Programs to ensure usable science delivery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bachelet, D. M.; Gough, M.; Baker, B.; Sheehan, T.; Mutch, T.; Brown, M.

    2016-12-01

    Conservation Biology Institute (CBI) has been developing web applications to serve credible and usable information that allows land stewards, as well as the general public, to better understand the challenges posed by on-going environmental change. Working with 18 Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs), CBI has developed Conservation Atlases that allow users to visualize regional spatial data. Some include specific tools such as the Conservation Blueprint in the South Atlantic LCC conservation atlas which is a living spatial plan that identifies priority areas for shared conservation action based on ecosystem indicator condition and connectivity. More than 400 people from over 100 different organizations have actively participated in its development so far. CBI worked closely with 4 LCCs to design a Landscape Climate Dashboard (http://bit.ly/2atu8Df) that provides CMIP5 climate projections averaged over federally and tribally protected lands in the western US. With support from BLM and Great Basin LCC, a Sagebrush Climate Console provides managers short-term NOAA forecasts, CMIP5 climate projections, regional intactness and site sensitivity over sagebrush extent and grouse range. The USDA Pacific Northwest Climate Hub and the US Forest Service are currently funding a collaborative effort between CBI programmers, USFS and Oregon State University forest geneticists to develop a seedlot source tool for the conterminous US and Alaska. This tool has inspired Great Basin sagebrush restoration scientists who have collected information on seed provenance and will hopefully soon collaborate to help develop the first seed source tool for sagebrush managers. Furthermore, with support from USDA Northwest Climate Hub, CBI's Data Basin site (http://bit.ly/2aLRlhZ) is providing downscaled CMIP5 climate projections and impacts from a Climate Science Center and NOAA Regional Integrated Science Assessment funded project that was the result of a collaborative effort between

  10. Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory Wildland Fire Management Environmental Assessment

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Irving, John S

    2003-04-01

    DOE prepared an environmental assessment (EA)for wildland fire management activities on the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) (DOE/EA-1372). The EA was developed to evaluate wildland fire management options for pre-fire, fire suppression, and post fire activities. Those activities have an important role in minimizing the conversion of the native sagebrush steppe ecosystem found on the INEEL to non-native weeds. Four alternative management approaches were analyzed: Alternative 1 - maximum fire protection; Alternative 2 - balanced fire protection; Alternative 2 - balanced fire protection; Alternative 3 - protect infrastructure and personnel; and Alternative 4 - no action/traditional fire protection.

  11. Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory Wildland Fire Management Environmental Assessment - April 2003

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Irving, J.S.

    2003-04-30

    DOE prepared an environmental assessment (EA)for wildland fire management activities on the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) (DOE/EA-1372). The EA was developed to evaluate wildland fire management options for pre-fire, fire suppression, and post fire activities. Those activities have an important role in minimizing the conversion of the native sagebrush steppe ecosystem found on the INEEL to non-native weeds. Four alternative management approaches were analyzed: Alternative 1 - maximum fire protection; Alternative 2 - balanced fire protection; Alternative 2 - balanced fire protection; Alternative 3 - protect infrastructure and personnel; and Alternative 4 - no action/traditional fire protection.

  12. Competition for phosphorus: differential uptake from dual-isotope-labeled soil interspaces between shrub and grass

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Caldwell, M.M.; Eissenstat, D.M.; Richards, J.H.; Allen, M.F.

    1985-01-01

    Two species of Agropyron grass differed strikingly in their capacity to compete for phosphate in soil interspaces shared with a common competitor, the sagebrush Artemisia tridentata. Of the total phosphorus-32 and -33 absorbed by Artemisia, 86% was from the interspace shared with Agropyron spicatum and only 14% from that shared with Agropyron desertorum. Actively absorbing mycorrhizal roots of Agropyron and Artemisia were present in both interspaces, where competition for the labeled phosphate occurred. The results have important implications about the way in which plants compete for resources below ground in both natural plant communities and agricultural intercropping systems

  13. Woolly rhino discovery in the lower Kolyma River

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Boeskorov, Gennady G.; Lazarev, Peter A.; Sher, Andrei V.

    2011-01-01

    A nearly complete frozen mummy of a woolly rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis Blum., 1799) was discovered in a gold mine on the lower reaches of the Kolyma River, north–eastern Siberia. This is the first find of the whole body of woolly rhino in permafrost. A large part of the mummified body was...... this individual was dated by AMS-radiocarbon method to 39,140 ± 390 years BP (OxA-18755). Spore and pollen analyses of the stomach contents indicate that grasses and sagebrushes formed the main part of the diet of C. antiquitatis in this region of Arctic Siberia....

  14. Improving Rangeland Monitoring and Assessment: Integrating Remote Sensing, GIS, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Robert Paul Breckenridge

    2007-05-01

    Creeping environmental changes are impacting some of the largest remaining intact parcels of sagebrush steppe ecosystems in the western United States, creating major problems for land managers. The Idaho National Laboratory (INL), located in southeastern Idaho, is part of the sagebrush steppe ecosystem, one of the largest ecosystems on the continent. Scientists at the INL and the University of Idaho have integrated existing field and remotely sensed data with geographic information systems technology to analyze how recent fires on the INL have influenced the current distribution of terrestrial vegetation. Three vegetation mapping and classification systems were used to evaluate the changes in vegetation caused by fires between 1994 and 2003. Approximately 24% of the sagebrush steppe community on the INL was altered by fire, mostly over a 5-year period. There were notable differences between methods, especially for juniper woodland and grasslands. The Anderson system (Anderson et al. 1996) was superior for representing the landscape because it includes playa/bare ground/disturbed area and sagebrush steppe on lava as vegetation categories. This study found that assessing existing data sets is useful for quantifying fire impacts and should be helpful in future fire and land use planning. The evaluation identified that data from remote sensing technologies is not currently of sufficient quality to assess the percentage of cover. To fill this need, an approach was designed using both helicopter and fixed wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and image processing software to evaluate six cover types on field plots located on the INL. The helicopter UAV provided the best system compared against field sampling, but is more dangerous and has spatial coverage limitations. It was reasonably accurate for dead shrubs and was very good in assessing percentage of bare ground, litter and grasses; accuracy for litter and shrubs is questionable. The fixed wing system proved to be

  15. CONTEMPORARY CHANGES OF THE CLIMATIC CONDITIONS OF THE CASPIAN SEMI-DESERT LANDSCAPES OF THE EASTERN CISCAUCASIA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Z. V. Ataev

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available The article analyzes the changes in the hydrothermal conditions within the pricaspian littoral plains accumulation and denudation-accumulative in places aeolian landscapes saltwort, saltwort-sagebrush deserts and semi-deserts in light chestnut soils based on data from weather stations "Makhachkala" for years 1945-2005.Tendencies of changes in temperature, precipitation, and hydrothermal coefficient and coefficient of moisture are shown. Tendency of modern fluctuations suggests that the climatic conditions of the last period contribute to the development of dry steppes and significant deviations from the conditions of the previous period do not occur.

  16. U.S. Geological Survey science for the Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative—2016 annual report

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bowen, Zachary H.; Aikens, Ellen; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Anderson, Patrick J.; Assal, Timothy J.; Chalfoun, Anna D.; Chong, Geneva W.; Eddy-Miller, Cheryl; Garman, Steven L.; Germaine, Stephen S.; Homer, Collin G.; Johnston, Aaron; Kauffman, Matthew J.; Manier, Daniel J.; Melcher, Cynthia P.; Miller, Kirk A.; Walters, Annika W.; Wheeler, Jerrod D.; Wieferich, Daniel; Wilson, Anna B.; Wyckoff, Teal B.; Zeigenfuss, Linda C.

    2018-05-10

    was in review at the end of the fiscal year, and seven projects monitoring water and vegetation (including changes in sagebrush cover and patterns of sagebrush mortality) continued through the year. USGS scientists continued many projects in FY2016 that evaluate the effectiveness of habitat conservation actions (including sagebrush, cheatgrass, and aspen habitat treatments) and provide tools in support of mechanistic studies of wildlife. In FY2016, USGS scientists, along with university and State partners, continued work on five focal wildlife species/communities (pygmy rabbits [Brachylagus idahoensis], greater sage grouse , mule deer, sagebrush songbirds, and native fish). In FY2016, the USGS Information Management Team presented information to WLCI scientists on how USGS tools and resources can be used to fulfill the requirements of new USGS policies regarding data release, data management, and data visualization.

  17. Field Surveys, IOC Valleys. Biological Resources Survey, Dry Lake Valley, Nevada. Volume II, Part I.

    Science.gov (United States)

    1981-08-01

    years ago; the transplant was considered unsuccessful. Sagebrush is the principal item in the diet of adult sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), and...canyon areas in the normal chukar partridge range but can also extend its range to areas too dry for the chukar. The transplant was not con- sidered...determined. - Ertee E-TR-48-II-I SSL1’N SL xx- C - - _ 0S91’ - - I. 009t N - - 0’J o,, s). N, - . ,o 09 -SW,- - - ,o T z X -4 oseo 0L91 - N - = - ozot ma

  18. An assessment of the hypervariable domains of the 16S rRNA genes for their value in determining microbial community diversity: the paradox of traditional ecological indices.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mills, DeEtta K; Entry, James A; Voss, Joshua D; Gillevet, Patrick M; Mathee, Kalai

    2006-09-01

    Amplicon length heterogeneity PCR (LH-PCR) was investigated for its ability to distinguish between microbial community patterns from the same soil type under different land management practices. Natural sagebrush and irrigated mouldboard-ploughed soils from Idaho were queried as to which hypervariable domains, or combinations of 16S rRNA gene domains, were the best molecular markers. Using standard ecological indices to measure richness, diversity and evenness, the combination of three domains, V1, V3 and V1+V2, or the combined V1 and V3 domains were the markers that could best distinguish the undisturbed natural sagebrush communities from the mouldboard-ploughed microbial communities. Bray-Curtis similarity and multidimensional scaling were found to be better metrics to ordinate and cluster the LH-PCR community profiling data. The use/misuse of traditional ecological indices such as diversity and evenness to study microbial community profiles will remain a major point to consider when performing metagenomic studies.

  19. Environmental implications of element emissions from phosphate-processing operations in southeastern Idaho

    Science.gov (United States)

    Severson, R.C.; Gough, L.P.

    1979-01-01

    In order to assess the contribution to plants and soils of certain elements emitted by phosphate processing, we sampled sagebrush, grasses, and A- and C-horizon soils along upwind and downwind transects at Pocatello and Soda Springs, Idaho. Analyses for 70 elements in plants showed that, statistically, the concentration of 7 environmentally important elements, cadmium, chromium, fluorine, selenium, uranium, vanadium, and zinc, were related to emissions from phosphate-processing operations. Two additional elements, lithium and nickel, show probable relationships. The literature on the effects of these elements on plant and animal health is briefly surveyed. Relations between element content in plants and distance from the phosphate-processing operations were stronger at Soda Springs than at Pocatello and, in general, stronger in sagebrush than in the grasses. Analyses for 58 elements in soils showed that, statistically, beryllium, fluorine, iron, lead, lithium, potassium, rubidium, thorium, and zinc were related to emissions only at Pocatello and only in the A horizon. Moreover, six additional elements, copper, mercury, nickel, titanium, uranium, and vanadium, probably are similarly related along the same transect. The approximate amounts of elements added to the soils by the emissions are estimated. In C-horizon soils, no statistically significant relations were observed between element concentrations and distance from the processing sites. At Soda Springs, the nonuniformity of soils at the sampling locations may have obscured the relationship between soil-element content and emissions from phosphate processing.

  20. Ecological Compliance Assessment Project: 1994 Summary report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Brandt, C.A.

    1994-11-01

    The Ecological Compliance Assessment Project (ECAP) began full operation on March 1, 1994. The project is designed around a baseline environmental data concept that includes intensive biological field surveys of key areas of the Hanford Site where the majority of Site activities occur. These surveys are conducted at biologically appropriate times of year to ensure that the data gathered are current and accurate. The data are entered into the ECAP database, which serves as a reference for the evaluation of review requests coming in to the project. This methodology provided the basis for over 90 percent of the review requests received. Field surveys conducted under ECAP are performed to document occurrence information for species of concern and to obtain habitat descriptions. There are over 200 species of concern on the Hanford Site, including plants, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates. In addition, Washington State has designated mature sagebrush-steppe habitat as a Priority Habitat meriting special protective measures. Of the projects reviewed, 17 resulted or will result in impacts to species or habitats of concern on the Hanford Site. The greatest impact has been on big sagebrush habitat. Most of the impact has been or will be within the 600 Area of the Site

  1. Population ecology of small mammals on the radioactive waste management complex, Idaho National Engineering Laboratory

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Groves, C.R.; Keller, B.L.

    1983-01-01

    Species composition, diversity, biomass, population dynamics, absolute density, and movements of small mammal populations were examined on and adjacent to a solid radioactive waste disposal area in southeastern Idaho. The 15-month live-trapping study resulted in marking 2384 individuals representing 10 species of small mammals. Three vegetation types were sampled: crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum) and Russian thistle (Salsola kali) habitats on the disposal area and native sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) habitat surrounding the disposal area. The deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) was the most common rodent in both disposal area habitats as well as the adjacent sagebrush habitat; Ord's kangaroo rat (Dipodomys ordii) was also an abundant rodent in all vegetation types. The montane vole (Microtus montanus) was common only in crested wheatgrass stands on the disposal area. The annual total small mammal biomass of 346 kg for the entire disposal area represents a potentially large vector for movement of radionuclides off the disposal area. However, the number of animals known to contact waste areas and traverse at least 50 m beyond the perimeter of the SDA appears to be small (8.7%)

  2. Grasshopper populations inhabiting the B-C Cribs and REDOX Pond Sites, 200 Area Plateau, United States Energy Research and Development Administration's Hanford Reservation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sheldon, J.K.; Rogers, L.E.

    1976-02-01

    The purpose of this study was to determine the taxonomic composition, abundance, and food habits of grasshopper populations inhabiting the 200 Area plateau. Two sites were selected for detailed study, one near the B-C Cribs control zone and the other near the former REDOX Pond. A total of 14 grasshopper species were collected from the B-C Cribs study area and 16 species from the REDOX Pond area. Thirteen of these species occurred at both locations. Population density was low throughout most of the spring, increased in late May, and reached a peak of about 4 grasshoppers per square meter in early July. A dietary analysis showed that 7 of the 28 species of vascular plants recorded from the area were major components in grasshopper diets. These included needle-and-thread grass (Stipa comata), turpentine cymopterus (Cymopterus terebinthinus), Carey's balsamroot (Balsamorhiza careyana), western tansymustard (Descurainia pinnata), Jim Hill mustard (Sisymbrium altissimum), big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) and green rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus). The plant most heavily utilized was big sagebrush, followed by turpentine cymopterus, green rabbitbrush, and Carey's balsamroot. Other species were less frequently eaten. Several plants were present in the diet at a much higher frequency than they occurred in the environment, indicating that they were preferred food items.

  3. Tools for Resilience Management: Multidisciplinary Development of State-and-Transition Models for Northwest Colorado

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Emily J. Kachergis

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available Building models is an important way of integrating knowledge. Testing and updating models of social-ecological systems can inform management decisions and, ultimately, improve resilience. We report on the outcomes of a six-year, multidisciplinary model development process in the sagebrush steppe, USA. We focused on creating state-and-transition models (STMs, conceptual models of ecosystem change that represent nonlinear dynamics and are being adopted worldwide as tools for managing ecosystems. STM development occurred in four steps with four distinct sets of models: (1 local knowledge elicitation using semistructured interviews; (2 ecological data collection using an observational study; (3 model integration using participatory workshops; and (4 model simplification upon review of the literature by a multidisciplinary team. We found that different knowledge types are ultimately complementary. Many of the benefits of the STM-building process flowed from the knowledge integration steps, including improved communication, identification of uncertainties, and production of more broadly credible STMs that can be applied in diverse situations. The STM development process also generated hypotheses about sagebrush steppe dynamics that could be tested by future adaptive management and research. We conclude that multidisciplinary development of STMs has great potential for producing credible, useful tools for managing resilience of social-ecological systems. Based on this experience, we outline a streamlined, participatory STM development process that integrates multiple types of knowledge and incorporates adaptive management.

  4. Physical, Chemical, Ecological, and Age Data and Trench Logs from Surficial Deposits at Hatch Point, Southeastern Utah

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goldstein, Harland L.; Miller, Mark E.; Yount, James C.; Reheis, Marith C.; Reynolds, Richard L.; Belnap, Jayne; Lamothe, Paul J.; McGeehan, John P.

    2009-01-01

    This report presents data and describes the methodology for physical, chemical and ecological measurements of sediment, soil, and vegetation, as well as age determinations of surficial deposits at Hatch Point, Canyon Rims area, Colorado Plateau, southeastern Utah. The results presented in this report support a study that examines geomorphic and soil factors that may influence boundaries between shrubland and grassland ecosystems in the study area. Shrubland ecosystems dominated by sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) and grassland ecosystems dominated by native perennial grasses (for example, Hilaria jamesii and Sporabolis sp.) are high-priority conservation targets for the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other resource managers because of their diversity, productivity, and vital importance as wildlife habitat. These ecosystems have been recognized as imperiled on a regional scale since at least the mid-1990s due to habitat loss (type conversions), land-use practices, and invasive exotic plants. In the Intermountain West, the exotic annual cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) is recognized as one of the most pervasive and serious threats to the health of native sagebrush and grassland ecosystems through effects on fire regimes and resource conditions experienced by native species.

  5. Long-term shifts in the phenology of rare and endemic Rocky Mountain plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Munson, Seth M; Sher, Anna A

    2015-08-01

    • Mountainous regions support high plant productivity, diversity, and endemism, yet are highly vulnerable to climate change. Historical records and model predictions show increasing temperatures across high elevation regions including the Southern Rocky Mountains, which can have a strong influence on the performance and distribution of montane plant species. Rare plant species can be particularly vulnerable to climate change because of their limited abundance and distribution.• We tracked the phenology of rare and endemic species, which are identified as imperiled, across three different habitat types with herbarium records to determine if flowering time has changed over the last century, and if phenological change was related to shifts in climate.• We found that the flowering date of rare species has accelerated 3.1 d every decade (42 d total) since the late 1800s, with plants in sagebrush interbasins showing the strongest accelerations in phenology. High winter temperatures were associated with the acceleration of phenology in low elevation sagebrush and barren river habitats, whereas high spring temperatures explained accelerated phenology in the high elevation alpine habitat. In contrast, high spring temperatures delayed the phenology of plant species in the two low-elevation habitats and precipitation had mixed effects depending on the season.• These results provide evidence for large shifts in the phenology of rare Rocky Mountain plants related to climate, which can have strong effects on plant fitness, the abundance of associated wildlife, and the future of plant conservation in mountainous regions. © 2015 Botanical Society of America, Inc.

  6. Enhanced precipitation promotes decomposition and soil C stabilization in semiarid ecosystems, but seasonal timing of wetting matters

    Science.gov (United States)

    Campos, Xochi; Germino, Matthew; de Graaff, Marie-Anne

    2017-01-01

    AimsChanging precipitation regimes in semiarid ecosystems will affect the balance of soil carbon (C) input and release, but the net effect on soil C storage is unclear. We asked how changes in the amount and timing of precipitation affect litter decomposition, and soil C stabilization in semiarid ecosystems.MethodsThe study took place at a long-term (18 years) ecohydrology experiment located in Idaho. Precipitation treatments consisted of a doubling of annual precipitation (+200 mm) added either in the cold-dormant season or in the growing season. Experimental plots were planted with big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), or with crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum). We quantified decomposition of sagebrush leaf litter, and we assessed organic soil C (SOC) in aggregates, and silt and clay fractions.ResultsWe found that: (1) increased precipitation applied in the growing season consistently enhanced decomposition rates relative to the ambient treatment, and (2) precipitation applied in the dormant season enhanced soil C stabilization.ConclusionsThese data indicate that prolonged increases in precipitation can promote soil C storage in semiarid ecosystems, but only if these increases happen at times of the year when conditions allow for precipitation to promote plant C inputs rates to soil.

  7. Facilitation and interference of seedling establishment by a native legume before and after wildfire.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goergen, Erin; Chambers, Jeanne C

    2012-01-01

    In semi-arid ecosystems, heterogeneous resources can lead to variable seedling recruitment. Existing vegetation can influence seedling establishment by modifying the resource and physical environment. We asked how a native legume, Lupinus argenteus, modifies microenvironments in unburned and burned sagebrush steppe, and if L. argenteus presence facilitates seedling establishment of native species and the non-native annual grass, Bromus tectorum. Field treatments examined mechanisms by which L. argenteus likely influences establishment: (1) live L. argenteus; (2) dead L. argenteus; (3) no L. argenteus; (4) no L. argenteus with L. argenteus litter; (5) no L. argenteus with inert litter; and (6) mock L. argenteus. Response variables included soil nitrogen, moisture, temperature, solar radiation, and seedling establishment of the natives Elymus multisetus and Eriogonum umbellatum, and non-native B. tectorum. In both unburned and burned communities, there was higher spring soil moisture, increased shade and reduced maximum temperatures under L. argenteus canopies. Adult L. argenteus resulted in greater amounts of soil nitrogen (N) only in burned sagebrush steppe, but L. argenteus litter increased soil N under both unburned and burned conditions. Although L. argenteus negatively affected emergence and survival of B. tectorum overall, its presence increased B. tectorum biomass and reproduction in unburned plots. However, L. argenteus had positive facilitative effects on size and survival of E. multisetus in both unburned and burned plots. Our study indicates that L. argenteus can facilitate seedling establishment in semi-arid systems, but net effects depend on the species examined, traits measured, and level of abiotic stress.

  8. Symbiotic regulation of plant growth, development and reproduction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodriguez, R.J.; Freeman, D. Carl; McArthur, E.D.; Kim, Y.-O.; Redman, R.S.

    2009-01-01

    The growth and development of rice (Oryzae sativa) seedlings was shown to be regulated epigenetically by a fungal endophyte. In contrast to un-inoculated (nonsymbiotic) plants, endophyte colonized (symbiotic) plants preferentially allocated resources into root growth until root hairs were well established. During that time symbiotic roots expanded at five times the rate observed in nonsymbiotic plants. Endophytes also influenced sexual reproduction of mature big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) plants. Two spatially distinct big sagebrush subspecies and their hybrids were symbiotic with unique fungal endophytes, despite being separated by only 380 m distance and 60 m elevation. A double reciprocal transplant experiment of parental and hybrid plants, and soils across the hybrid zone showed that fungal endophytes interact with the soils and different plant genotypes to confer enhanced plant reproduction in soil native to the endophyte and reduced reproduction in soil alien to the endophyte. Moreover, the most prevalent endophyte of the hybrid zone reduced the fitness of both parental subspecies. Because these endophytes are passed to the next generation of plants on seed coats, this interaction provides a selective advantage, habitat specificity, and the means of restricting gene flow, thereby making the hybrid zone stable, narrow and potentially leading to speciation. ?? 2009 Landes Bioscience.

  9. Mineral weathering experiments to explore the effects of vegetation shifts in high mountain region (Wind River Range, Wyoming, USA)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mavris, Christian; Furrer, Gerhard; Dahms, Dennis; Anderson, Suzanne P.; Blum, Alex; Goetze, Jens; Wells, Aaron; Egli, Markus

    2015-04-01

    Climate change influences the evolution of soil and landscape. With changing climate, both flora and fauna must adapt to new conditions. It is unknown in many respects to what extent soils will react to warming and vegetation change. The aim of this study was to identify possible consequences for soils in a dry-alpine region with respect to weathering of primary minerals and leaching of elements under expected warming climate conditions due to shifts in vegetation. To achieve this, a field empirical approach was used in combination with laboratory weathering experiments simulating several scenarios. Study sites located in Sinks Canyon and in Stough Basin of the Wind River Range, Wyoming, USA, encompass ecotones that consist of tundra, forest, or sagebrush (from moist to dry, with increasing temperature, respectively). All soils are developed on granitoid moraines. The mineralogy of the soils along the altitudinal sequence was analysed using cathodoluminescence and X-ray diffraction, and revealed clear mineral transformations: biotite and plagioclase were both weathered to smectite while plagioclase also weathered to kaolinite. Cooler, wetter, altitude-dependent conditions seemed to promote weathering of these primary minerals. To test the impact of soil solutions from different ecotones on mineral weathering, aqueous extracts from topsoils (A horizons) were reacted with subsoils (B horizons) in batch experiments. Aqueous extracts of topsoil samples were generated for all three ecotones, and these solutions were characterized. For the batch experiments, the topsoil extracts were reacted for 1800 hours with the subsoil samples of the same ecotone, or with the subsoil samples from higher altitude ecotones. Solutions collected periodically during the experiments were measured using ICP-OES and ion chromatography. Dissolved Ca, Mg and K were mainly controlled by the chemical weathering of oligoclase, K-feldspar and biotite. With increasing altitude (and consequently

  10. Integrating spatially explicit indices of abundance and habitat quality: an applied example for greater sage-grouse management.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coates, Peter S; Casazza, Michael L; Ricca, Mark A; Brussee, Brianne E; Blomberg, Erik J; Gustafson, K Benjamin; Overton, Cory T; Davis, Dawn M; Niell, Lara E; Espinosa, Shawn P; Gardner, Scott C; Delehanty, David J

    2016-02-01

    Predictive species distributional models are a cornerstone of wildlife conservation planning. Constructing such models requires robust underpinning science that integrates formerly disparate data types to achieve effective species management.Greater sage-grouse Centrocercus urophasianus , hereafter 'sage-grouse' populations are declining throughout sagebrush-steppe ecosystems in North America, particularly within the Great Basin, which heightens the need for novel management tools that maximize the use of available information.Herein, we improve upon existing species distribution models by combining information about sage-grouse habitat quality, distribution and abundance from multiple data sources. To measure habitat, we created spatially explicit maps depicting habitat selection indices (HSI) informed by >35 500 independent telemetry locations from >1600 sage-grouse collected over 15 years across much of the Great Basin. These indices were derived from models that accounted for selection at different spatial scales and seasons. A region-wide HSI was calculated using the HSI surfaces modelled for 12 independent subregions and then demarcated into distinct habitat quality classes.We also employed a novel index to describe landscape patterns of sage-grouse abundance and space use (AUI). The AUI is a probabilistic composite of the following: (i) breeding density patterns based on the spatial configuration of breeding leks and associated trends in male attendance; and (ii) year-round patterns of space use indexed by the decreasing probability of use with increasing distance to leks. The continuous AUI surface was then reclassified into two classes representing high and low/no use and abundance. Synthesis and application s. Using the example of sage-grouse, we demonstrate how the joint application of indices of habitat selection, abundance and space use derived from multiple data sources yields a composite map that can guide effective allocation of management

  11. Methods for converting continuous shrubland ecosystem component values to thematic National Land Cover Database classes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rigge, Matthew B.; Gass, Leila; Homer, Collin G.; Xian, George Z.

    2017-10-26

    The National Land Cover Database (NLCD) provides thematic land cover and land cover change data at 30-meter spatial resolution for the United States. Although the NLCD is considered to be the leading thematic land cover/land use product and overall classification accuracy across the NLCD is high, performance and consistency in the vast shrub and grasslands of the Western United States is lower than desired. To address these issues and fulfill the needs of stakeholders requiring more accurate rangeland data, the USGS has developed a method to quantify these areas in terms of the continuous cover of several cover components. These components include the cover of shrub, sagebrush (Artemisia spp), big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata spp.), herbaceous, annual herbaceous, litter, and bare ground, and shrub and sagebrush height. To produce maps of component cover, we collected field data that were then associated with spectral values in WorldView-2 and Landsat imagery using regression tree models. The current report outlines the procedures and results of converting these continuous cover components to three thematic NLCD classes: barren, shrubland, and grassland. To accomplish this, we developed a series of indices and conditional models using continuous cover of shrub, bare ground, herbaceous, and litter as inputs. The continuous cover data are currently available for two large regions in the Western United States. Accuracy of the “cross-walked” product was assessed relative to that of NLCD 2011 at independent validation points (n=787) across these two regions. Overall thematic accuracy of the “cross-walked” product was 0.70, compared to 0.63 for NLCD 2011. The kappa value was considerably higher for the “cross-walked” product at 0.41 compared to 0.28 for NLCD 2011. Accuracy was also evaluated relative to the values of training points (n=75,000) used in the development of the continuous cover components. Again, the “cross-walked” product outperformed NLCD

  12. Integrating spatially explicit indices of abundance and habitat quality: an applied example for greater sage-grouse management

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coates, Peter S.; Casazza, Michael L.; Ricca, Mark A.; Brussee, Brianne E.; Blomberg, Erik J.; Gustafson, K. Benjamin; Overton, Cory T.; Davis, Dawn M.; Niell, Lara E.; Espinosa, Shawn P.; Gardner, Scott C.; Delehanty, David J.

    2016-01-01

    Predictive species distributional models are a cornerstone of wildlife conservation planning. Constructing such models requires robust underpinning science that integrates formerly disparate data types to achieve effective species management. Greater sage-grouse Centrocercus urophasianus, hereafter “sage-grouse” populations are declining throughout sagebrush-steppe ecosystems in North America, particularly within the Great Basin, which heightens the need for novel management tools that maximize use of available information. Herein, we improve upon existing species distribution models by combining information about sage-grouse habitat quality, distribution, and abundance from multiple data sources. To measure habitat, we created spatially explicit maps depicting habitat selection indices (HSI) informed by > 35 500 independent telemetry locations from > 1600 sage-grouse collected over 15 years across much of the Great Basin. These indices were derived from models that accounted for selection at different spatial scales and seasons. A region-wide HSI was calculated using the HSI surfaces modelled for 12 independent subregions and then demarcated into distinct habitat quality classes. We also employed a novel index to describe landscape patterns of sage-grouse abundance and space use (AUI). The AUI is a probabilistic composite of: (i) breeding density patterns based on the spatial configuration of breeding leks and associated trends in male attendance; and (ii) year-round patterns of space use indexed by the decreasing probability of use with increasing distance to leks. The continuous AUI surface was then reclassified into two classes representing high and low/no use and abundance. Synthesis and applications. Using the example of sage-grouse, we demonstrate how the joint application of indices of habitat selection, abundance, and space use derived from multiple data sources yields a composite map that can guide effective allocation of management intensity across

  13. Quantifying Hillslope to Watershed Erosional Response Following Wildfire

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vega, S.; Pierson, F. B.; Williams, C. J.; Brooks, E. S.; Strand, E. K.; Seyfried, M. S.; Murdock, M.; Pierce, J. L.; Roehner, C.; Lindsay, K.; Robichaud, P. R.; Brown, R. E.

    2017-12-01

    Across the western US, wildfires in sagebrush vegetation are occurring at a more frequent rate and higher severity. This has resulted in a decline of sagebrush rangeland. The changing fire regime can be attributed to invasive plant species and warming climate conditions. As the result of wildfire, protective vegetation cover is removed leaving the soil bare and exposed to erosion. Erosion following wildfire is a main concern among land managers due to the threat it poses to resources, infrastructure, and human health. Numerous studies have used artificial rainfall to assess post-fire runoff and erosion and rehabilitation treatment effectiveness. These results have found that high intensity rain events typical of summer convective storms drive post-fire erosion. The purpose of this study is to improve scientific understanding of how site-specific physical and biological attributes affect hillslope to watershed scale sediment yield on a mountainous burned sagebrush landscape. This study uses natural rainfall and a network of silt fences to quantify hillslope to watershed scale erosion response. The erosional drivers over various spatial scales were evaluated in context with vegetation recovery for a 2 year post-fire period. A network of silt fences was installed over long and short hillslope distances and in swales within the 130 ha Murphy Creek catchment in the Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed in southwestern Idaho. We evaluated: 1) vegetation, soils, and sediment delivery across multiple spatial scales associated with 30 silt fences spanning north and south facing aspects, 2) precipitation input at two meteorological stations, and 3) watershed streamflow and sediment discharge from an existing weir. During the first and second year post-fire, the swales on both aspects produced more sediment than the short and long hillslopes. The results suggest that significant amounts of sediment and organic matter were deposited in the swales creating drifts. Sediment

  14. Optimal management strategies in variable environments: Stochastic optimal control methods

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, B.K.

    1985-01-01

    Dynamic optimization was used to investigate the optimal defoliation of salt desert shrubs in north-western Utah. Management was formulated in the context of optimal stochastic control theory, with objective functions composed of discounted or time-averaged biomass yields. Climatic variability and community patterns of salt desert shrublands make the application of stochastic optimal control both feasible and necessary. A primary production model was used to simulate shrub responses and harvest yields under a variety of climatic regimes and defoliation patterns. The simulation results then were used in an optimization model to determine optimal defoliation strategies. The latter model encodes an algorithm for finite state, finite action, infinite discrete time horizon Markov decision processes. Three questions were addressed: (i) What effect do changes in weather patterns have on optimal management strategies? (ii) What effect does the discounting of future returns have? (iii) How do the optimal strategies perform relative to certain fixed defoliation strategies? An analysis was performed for the three shrub species, winterfat (Ceratoides lanata), shadscale (Atriplex confertifolia) and big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata). In general, the results indicate substantial differences among species in optimal control strategies, which are associated with differences in physiological and morphological characteristics. Optimal policies for big sagebrush varied less with variation in climate, reserve levels and discount rates than did either shadscale or winterfat. This was attributed primarily to the overwintering of photosynthetically active tissue and to metabolic activity early in the growing season. Optimal defoliation of shadscale and winterfat generally was more responsive to differences in plant vigor and climate, reflecting the sensitivity of these species to utilization and replenishment of carbohydrate reserves. Similarities could be seen in the influence of both

  15. Development of 13 microsatellites for Gunnison Sage-grouse (Centrocercus minimus) using next-generation shotgun sequencing and their utility in Greater Sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fike, Jennifer A.; Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; Zimmerman, Shawna J; Castoe, Todd A.

    2015-01-01

    Gunnison Sage-grouse are an obligate sagebrush species that has experienced significant population declines and has been proposed for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. In order to examine levels of connectivity among Gunnison Sage-grouse leks, we identified 13 novel microsatellite loci though next-generation shotgun sequencing, and tested them on the closely related Greater Sage-grouse. The number of alleles per locus ranged from 2 to 12. No loci were found to be linked, although 2 loci revealed significant departures from Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium or evidence of null alleles. While these microsatellites were designed for Gunnison Sage-grouse, they also work well for Greater Sage-grouse and could be used for numerous genetic questions including landscape and population genetics.

  16. Online induction heating for determination of isotope composition of woody stem water with laser spectrometry: A methods assessment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lazarus, Brynne E.; Germino, Matthew; Vander Veen, Jessica L.

    2016-01-01

    Application of stable isotopes of water to studies of plant–soil interactions often requires a substantial preparatory step of extracting water from samples without fractionating isotopes. Online heating is an emerging approach for this need, but is relatively untested and major questions of how to best deliver standards and assess interference by organics have not been evaluated. We examined these issues in our application of measuring woody stem xylem of sagebrush using a Picarro laser spectrometer with online induction heating. We determined (1) effects of cryogenic compared to induction-heating extraction, (2) effects of delivery of standards on filter media compared to on woody stem sections, and (3) spectral interference from organic compounds for these approaches (and developed a technique to do so). Our results suggest that matching sample and standard media improves accuracy, but that isotopic values differ with the extraction method in ways that are not due to spectral interference from organics.

  17. 1999 Environmental Restoration Contractor Revegetation Monitoring Report; TOPICAL

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    K. A. Gano

    1999-01-01

    This report documents the results of revegetation monitoring conducted in early May through early July 1999. Fourth-year monitoring was conducted at the Horn Rapids Landfill, Horseshoe Landfill, and Nike Landfill. Third-year monitoring was conducted on the Bridge Overlook, PSN 72/82, PSN 12/14, and the North Slope Cheatgrass Area. Second-year monitoring was conducted at the 600-104 waste site (2,4-D cleanup site); the 300-FF-1 sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) and bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata) transplant areas, 2 16-A-25 emergency extension site; and the 200-ZP-1 pipeline. First-year monitoring was conducted at the 300 Area North Process Trench, Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility (ERDF) Mitigation sites, and the 116-C-l Restoration site

  18. An air transfer experiment confirms the role of volatile cues in communication between plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Karban, Richard; Shiojiri, Kaori; Ishizaki, Satomi

    2010-09-01

    Previous studies reported that sagebrush plants near experimentally clipped neighbors experienced less herbivory than did plants near unclipped neighbors. Blocking air flow with plastic bags made this effect undetectable. However, some scientists remained skeptical about the possibility of volatile communication between plants since the existence and identity of a cue that operates in nature have never been demonstrated. We conducted an air transfer experiment that collected air from the headspace of an experimentally clipped donor plant and delivered it to the headspace of an unclipped assay plant. We found that assay plants treated with air from clipped donors were less likely to be damaged by naturally occurring herbivores in a field experiment. This simple air transfer experiment fulfills the most critical of Koch's postulates and provides more definitive evidence for volatile communication between plants. It also provides an inexpensive experimental protocol that can be used to screen plants for interplant communication in the field.

  19. Fiscal Year 2016 Revegetation Assessment

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Nordstrom, Jenifer B. [Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)

    2016-11-01

    This report summarizes the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Revegetation Assessment by Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC. This assessment was conducted to document revegetation efforts at Idaho National Laboratory to verify restoration of disturbed vegetation and soil at various locations occurs as required. This report provides the following information for projects at Idaho National Laboratory completed during FY 2016 that were identified during the National Environmental Policy Act review process as having the potential to disturb soils or vegetation: 1) A summary of all projects identified as having the potential to require revegetation efforts 2) A summary of site disturbance and restoration efforts of each project. For FY 2016, one project required revegetation and sagebrush restoration. For other projects, implementation of best management practices minimized impacts to vegetation and revegetation efforts were not required.

  20. Listeriosis Phytotherapy: A Review Study on the Effectiveness of Iranian Medicinal Plants in Treatment of Listeriosis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rafieian-Kopaei, Mahmoud; Saki, Kourosh; Bahmani, Mahmoud; Ghafourian, Sobhan; Sadeghifard, Nourkhoda; Taherikalani, Morovat

    2015-12-17

    Listeria monocytogenes can be found in many processed foods, raw milk, dairy products, meat and meat products such as sausages, beef and fish products, seafoods, eggs, fruits, and vegetables such as radish and cabbage. This article is a review study on the Iranian medicinal plants applied for treatment of listeriosis. Information of this review article was obtained by searching various key words such as Listeria monocytogenes, medicinal plants, plant extracts and essential oils among scientific articles published in databases of Google scholar, ISI Web of Knowledge, PubMed, Scopus, SID and Magiran. Thyme, German chamomile, great chamomile, yarrow, onion, oregano, nutmeg, sage, sagebrush, hyssop, rosemary, St John's wort, safflower, ajowan, cumin, peppermint, shallot, anise, and parsnip are known antilisteriosis medicinal plants. Bioactive phytochemicals, antioxidants and monoterpenes, sesquiterpene, coumarin, flavonoids, tannins, saponins, alkaloids, and terpenoids are the main ingredients of antilisteriosis medicinal plants. © The Author(s) 2015.

  1. Wave of mutilation: the cattle mutilation phenomenon of the 1970s.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goleman, Michael J

    2011-01-01

    During the 1970s many small-scale cattle ranchers across the Midwest reported finding their cattle mutilated. The episode, often dismissed as mass hysteria or sensationalized reporting, demonstrates the growing dissatisfaction of many ranchers concerning government intrusiveness and restrictive policies. These frustrations found a release in response to the mutilation phenomenon during which ranchers vented their anger by taking direct aim at the federal government. The turbulent economic conditions of the period paired with government interference in the cattle industry helped sustain the mutilation phenomenon as ranchers projected their fears and insecurities through the bizarre episode. The hostility ranchers showed toward the federal government during the mutilation scare presaged and helped provide the impetus for events such as the Sagebrush Rebellion. The mutilation phenomenon also underscores the pronounced effects of the libertarian movement of the 1960s that gave rise to the New Right and gained adherents across the West and Midwest.

  2. 1975 progress report: Idaho National Engineering Laboratory site radioecology--ecology programs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Markham, O.D.

    1976-06-01

    Results are reported from measurements of the content of various radionuclides in the tissues of wild animals on or near the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory sampled during 1975. Tissue samples from antelope, waterfowl, rodents, rabbits, and doves were analyzed for 13 radionuclides, including 134 Cs, 137 Cs, 95 Zr, 95 Nb, 103 Ru, 238 Pu, 239 Pu, 90 Sr, 131 I, and 60 Co which were responsible for the largest amounts of radioactivity. Measurements were also made of the content of 238 Pu, 239 Pu, and 241 Am in soil samples and the radioactivity in tumbling weeds at the radioactive waste management site. Data are included from studies on the ecology of the pygmy rabbit, Salvilagus idahoensis, amphibians, reptiles, birds of prey, rodents, and coyotes, and vegetation in relation to land use at the site. Seasonal variations in the deposition and retention of 141 Ce and 134 Cs on sagebrush and bottlebrush grass were compared

  3. Projecting the Dependence of Sage-steppe Vegetation on Redistributed Snow in a Warming Climate.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soderquist, B.; Kavanagh, K.; Link, T. E.; Seyfried, M. S.; Strand, E. K.

    2015-12-01

    In mountainous regions, the redistribution of snow by wind can increase the effective precipitation available to vegetation. Moisture subsidies caused by drifting snow may be critical to plant productivity in semi-arid ecosystems. However, with increasing temperatures, the distribution of precipitation is becoming more uniform as rain replaces drifting snow. Understanding the ecohydrological interactions between sagebrush steppe vegetation communities and the heterogeneous distribution of soil moisture is essential for predicting and mitigating future losses in ecosystem diversity and productivity in regions characterized by snow dominated precipitation regimes. To address the dependence of vegetation productivity on redistributed snow, we simulated the net primary production (NPP) of aspen, sagebrush, and C3 grass plant functional types spanning a precipitation phase (rain:snow) gradient in the Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed and Critical Zone Observatory (RCEW-CZO). The biogeochemical process model Biome-BGC was used to simulate NPP at three sites located directly below snowdrifts that provide melt water late into the spring. To assess climate change impacts on future plant productivity, mid-century (2046-2065) NPP was simulated using the average temperature increase from the Multivariate Adaptive Constructed Analogs (MACA) data set under the RCP 8.5 emission scenario. At the driest site, mid-century projections of decreased snow cover and increased growing season evaporative demand resulted in limiting soil moisture up to 30 and 40 days earlier for aspen and sage respectively. While spring green up for aspen occurred an average of 13 days earlier under climate change scenarios, NPP remained negative up to 40 days longer during the growing season. These results indicate that the loss of the soil moisture subsidy stemming from prolonged redistributed snow water resources can directly influence ecosystem productivity in the rain:snow transition zone.

  4. Rangewide genetic analysis of Lesser Prairie-Chicken reveals population structure, range expansion, and possible introgression

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; DeYoung, Randall W; Fike, Jennifer; Hagen, Christian A.; Johnson, Jeff A.; Larsson, Lena C.; Patten, Michael

    2016-01-01

    The distribution of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) has been markedly reduced due to loss and fragmentation of habitat. Portions of the historical range, however, have been recolonized and even expanded due to planting of conservation reserve program (CRP) fields that provide favorable vegetation structure for Lesser Prairie-Chickens. The source population(s) feeding the range expansion is unknown, yet has resulted in overlap between Lesser and Greater Prairie-Chickens (T. cupido) increasing the potential for hybridization. Our objectives were to characterize connectivity and genetic diversity among populations, identify source population(s) of recent range expansion, and examine hybridization with the Greater Prairie-Chicken. We analyzed 640 samples from across the range using 13 microsatellites. We identified three to four populations corresponding largely to ecoregions. The Shinnery Oak Prairie and Sand Sagebrush Prairie represented genetically distinct populations (F ST > 0.034 and F ST > 0.023 respectively). The Shortgrass/CRP Mosaic and Mixed Grass ecoregions appeared admixed (F ST = 0.009). Genetic diversity was similar among ecoregions and N e ranged from 142 (95 % CI 99–236) for the Shortgrass/CRP Mosaic to 296 (95 % CI 233–396) in the Mixed Grass Prairie. No recent migration was detected among ecoregions, except asymmetric dispersal from both the Mixed Grass Prairie and to a lesser extent the Sand Sagebrush Prairie north into adjacent Shortgrass/CRP Mosaic (m = 0.207, 95 % CI 0.116–0.298, m = 0.097, 95 % CI 0.010–0.183, respectively). Indices investigating potential hybridization in the Shortgrass/CRP Mosaic revealed that six of the 13 individuals with hybrid phenotypes were significantly admixed suggesting hybridization. Continued monitoring of diversity within and among ecoregions is warranted as are actions promoting genetic connectivity and range expansion.

  5. Linking occurrence and fitness to persistence: Habitat-based approach for endangered Greater Sage-Grouse

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aldridge, Cameron L.; Boyce, Mark S.

    2007-01-01

    Detailed empirical models predicting both species occurrence and fitness across a landscape are necessary to understand processes related to population persistence. Failure to consider both occurrence and fitness may result in incorrect assessments of habitat importance leading to inappropriate management strategies. We took a two-stage approach to identifying critical nesting and brood-rearing habitat for the endangered Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in Alberta at a landscape scale. First, we used logistic regression to develop spatial models predicting the relative probability of use (occurrence) for Sage-Grouse nests and broods. Secondly, we used Cox proportional hazards survival models to identify the most risky habitats across the landscape. We combined these two approaches to identify Sage-Grouse habitats that pose minimal risk of failure (source habitats) and attractive sink habitats that pose increased risk (ecological traps). Our models showed that Sage-Grouse select for heterogeneous patches of moderate sagebrush cover (quadratic relationship) and avoid anthropogenic edge habitat for nesting. Nests were more successful in heterogeneous habitats, but nest success was independent of anthropogenic features. Similarly, broods selected heterogeneous high-productivity habitats with sagebrush while avoiding human developments, cultivated cropland, and high densities of oil wells. Chick mortalities tended to occur in proximity to oil and gas developments and along riparian habitats. For nests and broods, respectively, approximately 10% and 5% of the study area was considered source habitat, whereas 19% and 15% of habitat was attractive sink habitat. Limited source habitats appear to be the main reason for poor nest success (39%) and low chick survival (12%). Our habitat models identify areas of protection priority and areas that require immediate management attention to enhance recruitment to secure the viability of this population. This novel

  6. Seed harvesting by a generalist consumer is context-dependent: Interactive effects across multiple spatial scales

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ostoja, Steven M.; Schupp, Eugene W.; Klinger, Rob

    2013-01-01

    Granivore foraging decisions affect consumer success and determine the quantity and spatial pattern of seed survival. These decisions are influenced by environmental variation at spatial scales ranging from landscapes to local foraging patches. In a field experiment, the effects of seed patch variation across three spatial scales on seed removal by western harvester ants Pogonomyrmex occidentalis were evaluated. At the largest scale we assessed harvesting in different plant communities, at the intermediate scale we assessed harvesting at different distances from ant mounds, and at the smallest scale we assessed the effects of interactions among seed species in local seed neighborhoods on seed harvesting (i.e. resource–consumer interface). Selected seed species were presented alone (monospecific treatment) and in mixture with Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass; mixture treatment) at four distances from P. occidentalis mounds in adjacent intact sagebrush and non-native cheatgrass-dominated communities in the Great Basin, Utah, USA. Seed species differed in harvest, with B. tectorum being least preferred. Large and intermediate scale variation influenced harvest. More seeds were harvested in sagebrush than in cheatgrass-dominated communities (largest scale), and the quantity of seed harvested varied with distance from mounds (intermediate-scale), although the form of the distance effect differed between plant communities. At the smallest scale, seed neighborhood affected harvest, but the patterns differed among seed species considered. Ants harvested fewer seeds from mixed-seed neighborhoods than from monospecific neighborhoods, suggesting context dependence and potential associational resistance. Further, the effects of plant community and distance from mound on seed harvest in mixtures differed from their effects in monospecific treatments. Beyond the local seed neighborhood, selection of seed resources is better understood by simultaneously evaluating removal at

  7. Transport of biologically important nutrients by wind in an eroding cold desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sankey, Joel B.; Germino, Matthew J.; Benner, Shawn G.; Glenn, Nancy F.; Hoover, Amber N.

    2012-01-01

    Wind erosion following fire is an important landscape process that can result in the redistribution of ecologically important soil resources. In this study we evaluated the potential for a fire patch in a desert shrubland to serve as a source of biologically important nutrients to the adjacent, downwind, unburned ecosystem. We analyzed nutrient concentrations (P, K, Ca, Mg, Cu, Fe, Mn, Al) in wind-transported sediments, and soils from burned and adjacent unburned surfaces, collected during the first to second growing seasons after a wildfire that burned in 2007 in Idaho, USA in sagebrush steppe; a type of cold desert shrubland. We also evaluated the timing of potential wind erosion events and weather conditions that might have contributed to nutrient availability in downwind shrubland. Findings indicated that post-fire wind erosion resulted in an important, but transient, addition of nutrients on the downwind shrubland. Aeolian sediments from the burned area were enriched relative to both the up- and down-wind soil and indicated the potential for a fertilization effect through the deposition of the nutrient-enriched sediment during the first, but not second, summer after wildfire. Weather conditions that could have produced nutrient transport events might have provided increased soil moisture necessary to make nutrients accessible for plants in the desert environment. Wind transport of nutrients following fire is likely important in the sagebrush steppe as it could contribute to pulses of resource availability that might, for example, affect plant species differently depending on their phenology, and nutrient- and water-use requirements.

  8. Crucial nesting habitat for gunnison sage-grouse: A spatially explicit hierarchical approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aldridge, Cameron L.; Saher, D.J.; Childers, T.M.; Stahlnecker, K.E.; Bowen, Z.H.

    2012-01-01

    Gunnison sage-grouse (Centrocercus minimus) is a species of special concern and is currently considered a candidate species under Endangered Species Act. Careful management is therefore required to ensure that suitable habitat is maintained, particularly because much of the species' current distribution is faced with exurban development pressures. We assessed hierarchical nest site selection patterns of Gunnison sage-grouse inhabiting the western portion of the Gunnison Basin, Colorado, USA, at multiple spatial scales, using logistic regression-based resource selection functions. Models were selected using Akaike Information Criterion corrected for small sample sizes (AIC c) and predictive surfaces were generated using model averaged relative probabilities. Landscape-scale factors that had the most influence on nest site selection included the proportion of sagebrush cover >5%, mean productivity, and density of 2 wheel-drive roads. The landscape-scale predictive surface captured 97% of known Gunnison sage-grouse nests within the top 5 of 10 prediction bins, implicating 57% of the basin as crucial nesting habitat. Crucial habitat identified by the landscape model was used to define the extent for patch-scale modeling efforts. Patch-scale variables that had the greatest influence on nest site selection were the proportion of big sagebrush cover >10%, distance to residential development, distance to high volume paved roads, and mean productivity. This model accurately predicted independent nest locations. The unique hierarchical structure of our models more accurately captures the nested nature of habitat selection, and allowed for increased discrimination within larger landscapes of suitable habitat. We extrapolated the landscape-scale model to the entire Gunnison Basin because of conservation concerns for this species. We believe this predictive surface is a valuable tool which can be incorporated into land use and conservation planning as well the assessment of

  9. Mapping Fearscapes of a Mammalian Herbivore using Terrestrial LiDAR and UAV Imagery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olsoy, P.; Nobler, J. D.; Forbey, J.; Rachlow, J. L.; Burgess, M. A.; Glenn, N. F.; Shipley, L. A.

    2013-12-01

    Concealment allows prey animals to remain hidden from a predator and can influence both real and perceived risks of predation. The heterogeneous nature of vegetative structure can create a variable landscape of concealment - a 'fearscape' - that may influence habitat quality and use by prey. Traditional measurements of concealment rely on a limited number of distances, heights, and vantage points, resulting in small snapshots of concealment available to a prey animal. Our objective was to demonstrate the benefits of emerging remote sensing techniques to map fearscapes for pygmy rabbits (Brachylagus idahoensis) in sagebrush steppe habitat across a continuous range of scales. Specifically, we used vegetation height rasters derived from terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) to create viewsheds from multiple vantage points, representing predator visibility. The sum of all the viewsheds modeled horizontal concealment of prey at both the shrub and patch scales. We also used a small, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to determine vertical concealment at a habitat scale. Terrestrial laser scanning provided similar estimates of horizontal concealment at the shrub scale when compared to photographic methods (R2 = 0.85). Both TLS and UAV provide the potential to quantify concealment of prey from multiple distances, heights, or vantage points, allowing the creation of a manipulable fearscape map that can be correlated with habitat use by prey animals. The predictive power of such a map also could identify shrubs or patches for fine scale nutritional and concealment analysis for future investigation and conservation efforts. Fearscape map at the mound-scale. Viewsheds were calculated from 100 equally spaced observer points located 4 m from the closest on-mound sagebrush of interest. Red areas offer low concealment, while green areas provide high concealment.

  10. Food supplementation and testosterone interact to influence reproductive behavior and immune function in Sceloporus graciosus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruiz, Mayté; French, Susannah S; Demas, Gregory E; Martins, Emília P

    2010-02-01

    The energetic resources in an organism's environment are essential for executing a wide range of life-history functions, including immunity and reproduction. Most energetic budgets, however, are limited, which can lead to trade-offs among competing functions. Increasing reproductive effort tends to decrease immunity in many cases, and increasing total energy via supplemental feedings can eliminate this effect. Testosterone (T), an important regulator of reproduction, and food availability are thus both potential factors regulating life-history processes, yet they are often tested in isolation of each other. In this study, we considered the effect of both food availability and elevated T on immune function and reproductive behavior in sagebrush lizards, Sceloporus graciosus, to assess how T and energy availability affect these trade-offs. We experimentally manipulated diet (via supplemental feedings) and T (via dermal patches) in males from a natural population. We determined innate immune response by calculating the bacterial killing capability of collected plasma exposed to Escherichia coli ex vivo. We measured reproductive behavior by counting the number of courtship displays produced in a 20-min sampling period. We observed an interactive effect of food availability and T-patch on immune function, with food supplementation increasing immunity in T-patch lizards. Additionally, T increased courtship displays in control food lizards. Lizards with supplemental food had higher circulating T than controls. Collectively, this study shows that the energetic state of the animal plays a critical role in modulating the interactions among T, behavior and immunity in sagebrush lizards and likely other species. Copyright 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  11. U.S. Geological Survey science for the Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative—2015 annual report

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bowen, Zachary H.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Anderson, Patrick J.; Assal, Timothy J.; Bartos, Timothy T.; Chalfoun, Anna D.; Chong, Geneva W.; Dematatis, Marie K.; Eddy-Miller, Cheryl; Garman, Steven L.; Germaine, Stephen S.; Homer, Collin G.; Kauffman, Matthew J.; Huber, Christopher C.; Manier, Daniel J.; Melcher, Cynthia P.; Miller, Kirk A.; Norkin, Tamar; Sanders, Lindsey E.; Walters, Annika W.; Wilson, Anna B.; Wyckoff, Teal B.

    2016-09-28

    also a special session on the effectiveness of Wyoming’s Sage-Grouse Executive Order. Combined, USGS presentations provided WLCI partners with a wealth of information and conservation tools.The project completed in 2015 yielded an index of important agricultural lands in the WLCI region. The index improves upon existing measures of agricultural productivity and provides planners and managers with additional values to consider when making decisions about land use and conservation actions. The two new projects include an analysis of satellite imagery to quantify sagebrush productivity and mortality, and an evaluation of how groundwater and small streams interact in the upper Green River Basin. Initiated in response to concern among WLCI partners that large areas of sagebrush appear to have died recently, the sagebrush study objectives are to assess effects of these mortality events on overall sagebrush ecosystem productivity, evaluate the feasibility of using satellite imagery to detect patterns in sagebrush mortality over time, and identify factors driving these mortality events. The groundwater-streamflow interaction study is being conducted by hydrologists and fish ecologists to better understand how groundwater-streamflow interactions are affected by energy-resource development and how native fish communities are affected by these factors. Expected outcomes of both new projects will provide WLCI partners with additional information and decision-support tools.Highlights of ongoing science foundation activities included simulations of nine alternative build-out scenarios for oil and gas development and an associated online fact sheet that explains how the simulations were conducted, with an applied example for the Atlantic Rim. Also completed in 2015 was an update of the USGS online inventory of mineral resources data, and publication of a USGS uranium resource survey for the WLCI region. Combined, the outcomes of this work provide decisionmakers and managers with

  12. A hierarchical integrated population model for greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment, California and Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coates, Peter S.; Halstead, Brian J.; Blomberg, Erik J.; Brussee, Brianne; Howe, Kristy B.; Wiechman, Lief; Tebbenkamp, Joel; Reese, Kerry P.; Gardner, Scott C.; Casazza, Michael L.

    2014-01-01

    Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus, hereafter referred to as “sage-grouse”) are endemic to sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystems throughout Western North America. Populations of sage-grouse have declined in distribution and abundance across the range of the species (Schroeder and others, 2004; Knick and Connelly, 2011), largely as a result of human disruption of sagebrush communities (Knick and Connelly, 2011). The Bi-State Distinct Population Segment (DPS) represents sage-grouse populations that are geographically isolated and genetically distinct (Benedict and others, 2003; Oyler-McCance and others, 2005) and that are present at the extreme southwestern distribution of the sage-grouse range (Schroeder and others, 2004), straddling the border of California and Nevada. Subpopulations of sage-grouse in the DPS may be at increased risk of extirpation because of a substantial loss of sagebrush habitat and lack of connectivity (Oyler-McCance and others, 2005). Sage-grouse in the Bi-State DPS represent small, localized breeding populations distributed across 18,325 km2. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service currently (2014) is evaluating the Bi-State DPS as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, independent of other sage-grouse populations. This DPS was designated as a higher priority for listing than sage-grouse in other parts of the species’ range (U.S. Department of the Interior, 2010). Range-wide population analyses for sage-grouse have included portions of the Bi-State DPS (Sage and Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse Technical Committee 2008; Garton and others, 2011). Although these analyses are informative, the underlying data only represent a portion of the DPS and are comprised of lek count observations only. A thorough examination of population dynamics and persistence that includes multiple subpopulations and represents the majority of the DPS is largely lacking. Furthermore, fundamental information on population growth

  13. Fire rehabilitation effectiveness: a chronosequence approach for the Great Basin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pyke, David A.; Pilliod, David S.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Brooks, Matthew L.; Grace, James

    2009-01-01

    was positively related to plot- and landscape-level dwarf sagebrush (Artemisia arbuscula, A. nova, A. tripartita) and big sagebrush steppe, and negatively associated with non-native grass and human development. The predicted probability of sage-grouse occupancy at treated plots was low on average (0.07–0.09) and was not significantly different from burned areas that had not been treated. Restoration was more often successful at higher elevation sites with low annual temperatures, high spring precipitation, and high plant diversity. No plots seeded after fire (n=313) met all overstory guidelines for breeding habitats, but approximately 50% met understory guidelines, particularly for perennial grasses. This trend was similar for summer habitat. Ninety-eight percent of treated plots did not meet winter habitat guidelines. Restoration actions in burned areas did not increase the probability of meeting most guideline criteria. The probability of meeting guidelines was influenced by a latitudinal gradient, local climate, and topography. Post-fire seeding treatments in Great Basin sagebrush shrublands generally have not created high quality habitat for sage-grouse. Understory conditions are more likely to be adequate than those of overstory, but in unfavorable climates, establishing forbs and reducing cheatgrass dominance is unlikely. Reestablishing sagebrush cover will require more than 20 years using the restoration methods of the past two decades. Given current fire frequencies and restoration capabilities, protection of landscapes containing a mix of dwarf sagebrush and big sagebrush steppe, minimal human development, and low non-native plant cover may provide the best opportunity for conservation of sage-grouse habitats. Our database of ES&R locations has used the Land Treatment Digital Library to archive data and location information regarding our study (see Pilliod and Welty 2013). This has contributed to two additional studies. One examined the potential spread of

  14. Relationships between gas field development and the presence and abundance of pygmy rabbits in southwestern Wyoming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Germaine, Stephen; Carter, Sarah; Ignizio, Drew A.; Freeman, Aaron T.

    2017-01-01

    More than 5957 km2 in southwestern Wyoming is currently covered by operational gas fields, and further development is projected through 2030. Gas fields fragment landscapes through conversion of native vegetation to roads, well pads, pipeline corridors, and other infrastructure elements. The sagebrush steppe landscape where most of this development is occurring harbors 24 sagebrush-associated species of greatest conservation need, but the effects of gas energy development on most of these species are unknown. Pygmy rabbits (Brachylagus idahoensis) are one such species. In 2011, we began collecting three years of survey data to examine the relationship between gas field development density and pygmy rabbit site occupancy patterns on four major Wyoming gas fields (Continental Divide–Creston–Blue Gap, Jonah, Moxa Arch, Pinedale Anticline Project Area). We surveyed 120 plots across four gas fields, with plots distributed across the density gradient of gas well pads on each field. In a 1 km radius around the center of each plot, we measured the area covered by each of 10 gas field infrastructure elements and by shrub cover using 2012 National Agriculture Imagery Program imagery. We then modeled the relationship between gas field elements, pygmy rabbit presence, and two indices of pygmy rabbit abundance. Gas field infrastructure elements—specifically buried utility corridors and a complex of gas well pads, adjacent disturbed areas, and well pad access roads—were negatively correlated with pygmy rabbit presence and abundance indices, with sharp declines apparent after approximately 2% of the area consisted of gas field infrastructure. We conclude that pygmy rabbits in southwestern Wyoming may be sensitive to gas field development at levels similar to those observed for greater sage-grouse, and may suffer local population declines at lower levels of development than are allowed in existing plans and policies designed to conserve greater sage-grouse by limiting

  15. What You See Depends on Your Point of View: Comparison of Greenness Indices Across Spatial and Temporal Scales and What That Means for Mule Deer Migration and Fitness

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, B. W.; Chong, G.; Steltzer, H.; Aikens, E.; Morisette, J. T.; Talbert, C.; Talbert, M.; Shory, R.; Krienert, J. M.; Gurganus, D.

    2015-12-01

    Climate change models for the north­ern Rocky Mountains predict warming and changes in water availability that may alter vegetation. Changes to vegetation may include timing of plant life-history events, or phenology, such as green-up, flower­ing, and senescence. These changes could make forage available earlier in the growing season, but shifts in phenol­ogy may also result in earlier senescence (die-off or dormancy) and reduced overall production. Greenness indices such as the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) are regularly used to quantify greenness over large areas using remotely sensed reflectance data. The timing and scale of current satellite data, however, may be insufficient to capture fine-scale differences in phenology that are important indicators of habitat quality. The Wyoming Range Mule Deer herd is one of the largest in the west but it declined precipitously in the early 1990s and has not recovered. Accurate measurement of greenness over space and time would allow managers to better understand the role of plant phenology and productivity in mule deer population dynamics, for example. To connect spatial and temporal patterns of plant productivity with habitat quality, we compare greenness patterns (MODIS data) with migratory mule deer movement (GPS collars). Sagebrush systems provide winter habitat for mule deer. To understand sagebrush phenology as an indicator of productivity, we constructed NDVI time series and compared dates of phenological stages and magnitudes of greenness from three perspectives: at-surface/species-specific (mantis sensors: downward looking, <1m above vegetation); near surface/site-specific (PhenoCam: oblique, 2m); and satellite/landscape-scale (varied platforms). Greenness indices from these sensors contribute unique insights to understanding vegetation phenology, snow cover and reflectance. Understanding phenology and productivity at multiple scales can help guide resource management decisions related to

  16. Vegetation Response to Western Juniper Slash Treatments

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Connor, Casey; Miller, Rick; Bates, Jonathan D.

    2013-09-01

    The expansion of piñon-juniper woodlands the past 100 years in the western United States has resulted in large scale efforts to kill trees and recover sagebrush steppe rangelands. It is important to evaluate vegetation recovery following woodland control to develop best management practices. In this study, we compared two fuel reduction treatments and a cut-and-leave (CUT) treatment used to control western juniper ( Juniperus occidentalis spp. occidentalis Hook.) of the northwestern United States. Treatments were; CUT, cut-and-broadcast burn (BURN), and cut-pile-and-burn the pile (PILE). A randomized complete block design was used with five replicates of each treatment located in a curl leaf mahogany ( Cercocarpus ledifolius Nutt. ex Torr. & A. Gray)/mountain big sagebrush ( Artemisia tridentata Nutt. spp. vaseyana (Rydb.) Beetle)/Idaho fescue ( Festuca idahoensis Elmer) association. In 2010, 4 years after tree control the cover of perennial grasses (PG) [Sandberg's bluegrass ( Poa secunda J. Pres) and large bunchgrasses] were about 4 and 5 % less, respectively, in the BURN (7.1 ± 0.6 %) than the PILE (11.4 ± 2.3 %) and CUT (12.4 ± 1.7 %) treatments ( P < 0.0015). In 2010, cover of invasive cheatgrass ( Bromus tectorum L.) was greater in the BURN (6.3 ± 1.0 %) and was 50 and 100 % greater than PILE and CUT treatments, respectively. However, the increase in perennial bunchgrass density and cover, despite cheatgrass in the BURN treatment, mean it unlikely that cheatgrass will persist as a major understory component. In the CUT treatment mahogany cover increased 12.5 % and density increased in from 172 ± 25 to 404 ± 123 trees/ha. Burning, killed most or all of the adult mahogany, and mahogany recovery consisted of 100 and 67 % seedlings in the PILE and BURN treatments, respectively. After treatment, juniper presence from untreated small trees (<1 m tall; PILE and CUT treatments) and seedling emergence (all treatments) represented 25-33 % of pre-treatment tree

  17. Plant protein and secondary metabolites influence diet selection in a mammalian specialist herbivore

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ulappa, Amy C.; Kelsey, Rick G.; Frye, Graham G.; Rachlow, Janet L.; Shipley, Lisa A.; Bond, Laura; Pu, Xinzhu; Forbey, Jennifer Sorensen

    2015-01-01

    For herbivores, nutrient intake is limited by the relatively low nutritional quality of plants and high concentrations of potentially toxic defensive compounds (plant secondary metabolites, PSMs) produced by many plants. In response to phytochemical challenges, some herbivores selectively forage on plants with higher nutrient and lower PSM concentrations relative to other plants. Pygmy rabbits (Brachylagus idahoensis) are dietary specialists that feed on sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) and forage on specific plants more than others within a foraging patch. We predicted that the plants with evidence of heavy foraging (browsed plants) would be of higher dietary quality than plants that were not browsed (unbrowsed). We used model selection to determine which phytochemical variables best explained the difference between browsed and unbrowsed plants. Higher crude protein increased the odds that plants would be browsed by pygmy rabbits and the opposite was the case for certain PSMs. Additionally, because pygmy rabbits can occupy foraging patches (burrows) for consecutive years, their browsing may influence the nutritional and PSM constituents of plants at the burrows. In a post hoc analysis, we did not find a significant relationship between phytochemical concentrations, browse status and burrow occupancy length. We concluded that pygmy rabbits use nutritional and chemical cues while making foraging decisions. PMID:26366011

  18. Applications of dendrochronology and sediment geochronology to establish reference episodes for evaluations of environmental radioactivity

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Waugh, W.J.; Carroll, J.; Abraham, J.D.; Landeen, D.S. [Roy F. Weston, Inc., U.S. Department of Energy, Grand Junction Office, 2597 B 3/4 Road, Grand Junction, CO 81503 (United States)

    1998-12-01

    Dendrochronology and sediment geochronology have been used to demonstrate retrospective monitoring of environmental radioactivity at United States Department of Energy (DOE) sites. {sup 14}C in annual growth rings of sagebrush preserved the temporal and spatial patterns of {sup 14}C resulting from dispersion downwind of a nuclear fuel processing facility at the Hanford Site in Washington State. As far as 10 km downwind of the facility, {sup 14}C concentrations were significantly higher in growth rings formed during a fuel processing episode than in rings produced during preoperational or postoperational episodes. An episode of uranium mill tailings deposition in pond sediments at the Grand Junction Office in Colorado was reconstructed using {sup 210}Pb geochronology constrained by a marker of peak {sup 137}Cs fallout. Uranium concentrations in ponds sediments deposited after the processing episode provide a reasonable cleanup standard. These reference episodes of environmental radioactivity reconstructed from measurements taken within contaminated environments can improve or replace reference area data as baseline information for dose reconstructions, risk assessments, and the establishment of cleanup standards. (Copyright (c) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam. All rights reserved.)

  19. Applications of dendrochronology and sediment geochronology to establish reference episodes for evaluations of environmental radioactivity

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Waugh, W.J.; Carroll, J.; Abraham, J.D.; Landeen, D.S.

    1998-01-01

    Dendrochronology and sediment geochronology have been used to demonstrate retrospective monitoring of environmental radioactivity at United States Department of Energy (DOE) sites. 14 C in annual growth rings of sagebrush preserved the temporal and spatial patterns of 14 C resulting from dispersion downwind of a nuclear fuel processing facility at the Hanford Site in Washington State. As far as 10 km downwind of the facility, 14 C concentrations were significantly higher in growth rings formed during a fuel processing episode than in rings produced during preoperational or postoperational episodes. An episode of uranium mill tailings deposition in pond sediments at the Grand Junction Office in Colorado was reconstructed using 210 Pb geochronology constrained by a marker of peak 137 Cs fallout. Uranium concentrations in ponds sediments deposited after the processing episode provide a reasonable cleanup standard. These reference episodes of environmental radioactivity reconstructed from measurements taken within contaminated environments can improve or replace reference area data as baseline information for dose reconstructions, risk assessments, and the establishment of cleanup standards. (Copyright (c) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam. All rights reserved.)

  20. Nesting ecology of Greater Sandhill Cranes (Grus canadensis tabida) in riparian and palustrine wetlands of eastern Idaho

    Science.gov (United States)

    McWethy, D.B.; Austin, J.E.

    2009-01-01

    Little information exists on breeding Greater Sandhill Cranes (Grus canadensis tabida) in riparian wetlands of the Intermountain West. We examined the nesting ecology of Sandhill Cranes associated with riparian and palustrine wetlands in the Henry's Fork Watershed in eastern Idaho in 2003. We located 36 active crane nests, 19 in riparian wetlands and 17 in palustrine wetlands. Nesting sites were dominated by rushes (Juncus spp.), sedges (Carex spp.), Broad-leaved Cattail (Typha latifolia) and willow (Salix spp.), and adjacent foraging areas were primarily composed of sagebrush (Artemisia spp.), cinquefoil (Potentilla spp.),Rabbitbrush (Ericameria bloomeri) bunch grasses, upland forbs, Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) and cottonwood (Populus spp.). Mean water depth surrounding nests was 23 cm (SD = 22). A majority of nests (61%) were surrounded by vegetation between 3060 cm, 23% by vegetation 60 cm in height. We were able to determine the fate of 29 nests, of which 20 were successful (69%). Daily nest survival was 0.986 (95% LCI 0.963, UCI 0.995), equivalent to a Mayfield nest success of 0.654 (95% LCI 0.324, UCI 0.853). Model selection favored models with the covariates vegetation type, vegetation height, and water depth. Nest survival increased with increasing water depth surrounding nest sites. Mean water depth was higher around successful nests (30 cm, SD = 21) than unsuccessful nests (15 cm, SD 22). Further research is needed to evaluate the relative contribution of cranes nesting in palustrine and riparian wetlands distributed widely across the Intermountain West.

  1. Evaluation of the Life History of Native Salmonids in the Malheur River Basin; Cooperative Bull Trout/Redband Trout Research Project, 2002-2003 Annual Report.

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Miller, Alan; Soupir, Jim (US Forest Service, Prairie City Ranger District, Prairie City, OR); Schwabe, Lawrence (Burns Paiute Tribe, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Burns, OR)

    2003-08-01

    The Malheur River is a 306-kilometer tributary to the Snake River, which drains 12,950 square kilometers. The Malheur River originates in the Blue Mountains and flows into the Snake River near Ontario, Oregon. The climate of the basin is characterized by hot dry summers, occasionally exceeding 38 C, and cold winters that may drop below -29 C. Average annual precipitation is 30 centimeters in the lower reaches. Wooded areas consist primarily of mixed fir and pine forest in the higher elevations. Sagebrush and grass communities dominate the flora in the lower elevations. Efforts to document salmonid life histories, water quality, and habitat conditions have continued in fiscal year 2002. Bull trout Salvelinus confluentus are considered to be cold water species and are temperature-dependant. Due to the interest of bull trout from various state and Federal agencies, a workgroup was formed to develop project objectives related to bull trout. Table 1 lists individuals that participated in the 2002 work group. This report will reflect work completed during the Bonneville Power Administration contract period starting April 1, 2002, and ending March 31, 2003. All tasks were conducted within this timeframe, and a more detailed timeframe may be referred to in each individual report.

  2. Biotic soil crusts in relation to topography, cheatgrass, and fire in the Columbia Basin, Washington

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ponzetti, Jeanne; McCune, B.; Pyke, David A.

    2007-01-01

    We studied lichen and bryophyte soil crust communities in a large public grazing allotment within a sagebrush steppe ecosystem in which the biotic soil crusts are largely intact. The allotment had been rested from grazing for 12 years, but experienced an extensive series of wildfires. In the 350, 4 ?? 0.5 m plots, stratified by topographic position, we found 60 species or species groups that can be distinguished in the field with a hand lens, averaging 11.5 species groups per plot. Lichen and bryophyte soil crust communities differed among topographic positions. Draws were the most disturbed, apparently from water erosion in a narrow channel and mass wasting from the steepened sides. Presumably because of this disturbance, draws had the lowest average species richness of all the topographic strata we examined. Biotic crust species richness and cover were inversely related to cover of the invasive annual, cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum), and positively related to cover of native bunchgrasses. Integrity of the biotic crust was more strongly related to cheatgrass than to fire. In general, we observed good recovery of crusts following fire, but only in those areas dominated by perennial bunchgrasses. We interpret the resilience of the biotic crust, in this case, to the low abundance of cheatgrass, low amounts of soil disturbance and high moss cover. These fires have not resulted in an explosion of the cheatgrass population, perhaps because of the historically low levels of livestock grazing.

  3. Sage grouse on the Idaho National Environmental Research Park

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Connelly, J.W.; Ball, I.J.

    1983-01-01

    A comprehensive study of sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) ecology was conducted on the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL) site between June 1977 and May 1981. Sage grouse used lawns surrounding INEL facilities for feeding and loafing throughot the summer. Mean summer home range was 406 ha for adult female sage grouse and 94 ha for juveniles. Radionuclide concentrations in grouse summering near a liquid radioactive waste disposal area (N = 29) were significantly higher than those in grouse summering near a solid radioactive waste disposal area (N = 14) or control areas (N = 20). Sage grouse moved from 2 to 83 km during seasonal migration. Fall movements from INEL facilities to winter range were slow and meandering. Spring movements of females from leks to summer range were also slow and meandering but male movements appeared rapid and direct. Sage grouse remained in segregated flocks during early summer but the number of mixed sex flocks increased in late summer. Sage grouse occurred in segregated flocks throughout the winter. Both flock type and habitat influenced winter sage grouse flock size. Mean flock size remained relatively constant as winter weather became more severe. Agricultural aras were an important component of sage grouse summer range and were preferred by all sage grouse sex and age classes. Sage grouse winter range was generally characterized by sagebrush stands with 11 to 30% canopy coverage

  4. Phase 1 summaries of radionuclide concentration data for vegetation, river water, drinking water, and fish

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Denham, D.H.; Dirkes, R.L.; Hanf, R.W.; Poston, T.M.; Thiede, M.E.; Woodruff, R.K.

    1993-06-01

    The objective of the Hanford Environmental Dose Reconstruction (HEDR) Project is to estimate the radiation doses that individuals and populations could have received from nuclear operations at the Hanford Site since 1944. As part of the HEDR Project, the Environmental Monitoring Data Task (Task 05) staff assemble, evaluate, and summarize key historical measurements of radionuclide concentrations in the environment as a result of Hanford operations. The scope of work performed during Phase I included initiating the search, recovery, and inventory of environmental reports. Summaries of the environmental monitoring data that were recovered and evaluated are presented for specific periods of interest. These periods include vegetation monitoring data (primarily sagebrush) for the years 1945 through 1947, Columbia River water and drinking water monitoring data for the years 1963 through 1966, and fish monitoring data for the years 1964 through 1966. Concern was limited to those radionuclides identified as the most likely major contributors to the dose potentially received by the public during the times of interest: phosphorous-32, copper-64, zinc-65, arsenic-76, and neptunium-239 in Columbia River fish and drinking water taken from the river, and iodine-131 in vegetation. This report documents the achievement of the Phase I objectives of the Environmental Monitoring Data Task

  5. The relative influence of road characteristics and habitat on adjacent lizard populations in arid shrublands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hubbard, Kaylan A.; Chalfoun, Anna D.; Gerow, Kenneth G.

    2016-01-01

    As road networks continue to expand globally, indirect impacts to adjacent wildlife populations remain largely unknown. Simultaneously, reptile populations are declining worldwide and anthropogenic habitat loss and fragmentation are frequently cited causes. We evaluated the relative influence of three different road characteristics (surface treatment, width, and traffic volume) and habitat features on adjacent populations of Northern Sagebrush Lizards (Sceloporus graciosus graciosus), Plateau Fence Lizards (S. tristichus), and Greater Short-Horned Lizards (Phrynosoma hernandesi) in mixed arid shrubland habitats in southwest Wyoming. Neither odds of lizard presence nor relative abundance was significantly related to any of the assessed road characteristics, although there was a trend for higher Sceloporus spp. abundance adjacent to paved roads. Sceloporus spp. relative abundance did not vary systematically with distance to the nearest road. Rather, both Sceloporus spp. and Greater Short-Horned Lizards were associated strongly with particular habitat characteristics adjacent to roads. Sceloporus spp. presence and relative abundance increased with rock cover, relative abundance was associated positively with shrub cover, and presence was associated negatively with grass cover. Greater Short-Horned Lizard presence increased with bare ground and decreased marginally with shrub cover. Our results suggest that habitat attributes are stronger correlates of lizard presence and relative abundance than individual characteristics of adjacent roads, at least in our system. Therefore, an effective conservation approach for these species may be to consider the landscape through which new roads and their associated development would occur, and the impact that placement could have on fragment size and key habitat elements.

  6. Extracts of edible and medicinal plants damage membranes of Vibrio cholerae.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sánchez, Eduardo; García, Santos; Heredia, Norma

    2010-10-01

    The use of natural compounds from plants can provide an alternative approach against food-borne pathogens. The mechanisms of action of most plant extracts with antimicrobial activity have been poorly studied. In this work, changes in membrane integrity, membrane potential, internal pH (pH(in)), and ATP synthesis were measured in Vibrio cholerae cells after exposure to extracts of edible and medicinal plants. A preliminary screen of methanolic, ethanolic, and aqueous extracts of medicinal and edible plants was performed. Minimal bactericidal concentrations (MBCs) were measured for extracts showing high antimicrobial activity. Our results indicate that methanolic extracts of basil (Ocimum basilicum L.), nopal cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica var. Villanueva L.), sweet acacia (Acacia farnesiana L.), and white sagebrush (Artemisia ludoviciana Nutt.) are the most active against V. cholera, with MBCs ranging from 0.5 to 3.0 mg/ml. Using four fluorogenic techniques, we studied the membrane integrity of V. cholerae cells after exposure to these four extracts. Extracts from these plants were able to disrupt the cell membranes of V. cholerae cells, causing increased membrane permeability, a clear decrease in cytoplasmic pH, cell membrane hyperpolarization, and a decrease in cellular ATP concentration in all strains tested. These four plant extracts could be studied as future alternatives to control V. cholerae contamination in foods and the diseases associated with this microorganism.

  7. Extracts of Edible and Medicinal Plants Damage Membranes of Vibrio cholerae▿

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sánchez, Eduardo; García, Santos; Heredia, Norma

    2010-01-01

    The use of natural compounds from plants can provide an alternative approach against food-borne pathogens. The mechanisms of action of most plant extracts with antimicrobial activity have been poorly studied. In this work, changes in membrane integrity, membrane potential, internal pH (pHin), and ATP synthesis were measured in Vibrio cholerae cells after exposure to extracts of edible and medicinal plants. A preliminary screen of methanolic, ethanolic, and aqueous extracts of medicinal and edible plants was performed. Minimal bactericidal concentrations (MBCs) were measured for extracts showing high antimicrobial activity. Our results indicate that methanolic extracts of basil (Ocimum basilicum L.), nopal cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica var. Villanueva L.), sweet acacia (Acacia farnesiana L.), and white sagebrush (Artemisia ludoviciana Nutt.) are the most active against V. cholera, with MBCs ranging from 0.5 to 3.0 mg/ml. Using four fluorogenic techniques, we studied the membrane integrity of V. cholerae cells after exposure to these four extracts. Extracts from these plants were able to disrupt the cell membranes of V. cholerae cells, causing increased membrane permeability, a clear decrease in cytoplasmic pH, cell membrane hyperpolarization, and a decrease in cellular ATP concentration in all strains tested. These four plant extracts could be studied as future alternatives to control V. cholerae contamination in foods and the diseases associated with this microorganism. PMID:20802077

  8. Calibration of remotely sensed, coarse resolution NDVI to CO2 fluxes in a sagebrush–steppe ecosystem

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wylie, Bruce K.; Johnson, Douglas A.; Laca, Emilio; Saliendra, Nicanor Z.; Gilmanov, Tagir G.; Reed, Bradley C.; Tieszen, Larry L.; Worstell, Bruce B.

    2003-01-01

    The net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of carbon flux can be partitioned into gross primary productivity (GPP) and respiration (R). The contribution of remote sensing and modeling holds the potential to predict these components and map them spatially and temporally. This has obvious utility to quantify carbon sink and source relationships and to identify improved land management strategies for optimizing carbon sequestration. The objective of our study was to evaluate prediction of 14-day average daytime CO2 fluxes (Fday) and nighttime CO2 fluxes (Rn) using remote sensing and other data. Fday and Rnwere measured with a Bowen ratio–energy balance (BREB) technique in a sagebrush (Artemisia spp.)–steppe ecosystem in northeast Idaho, USA, during 1996–1999. Micrometeorological variables aggregated across 14-day periods and time-integrated Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (iNDVI) were determined during four growing seasons (1996–1999) and used to predict Fday and Rn. We found that iNDVI was a strong predictor of Fday(R2=0.79, n=66, Pimproved predictions of Fday (R2=0.82, n=66, Pmanagement strategies, carbon certification, and validation and calibration of carbon flux models.

  9. Columbia River wildlife mitigation habitat evaluation procedures report: Scotch Creek Wildlife Area, Berg Brothers, and Douglas County pygmy rabbit projects

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ashley, P.R.; Ratassepp, J.; Berger, M.; Judd, S.L.

    1997-01-01

    This Habitat Evaluation Procedure study was conducted to determine baseline habitat units (HUs) on the Scotch Creek, Mineral Hill, Pogue Mountain, Chesaw and Tunk Valley Habitat Areas (collectively known as the Scotch Creek Wildlife Area) in Okanogan County, Sagebrush Flat and the Dormaler property in Douglas County, and the Berg Brothers ranch located in Okanogan County within the Colville Reservation. A HEP team comprised of individuals from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (Appendix A) conducted baseline habitat surveys using the following HEP evaluation species: mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), sharp-tailed grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus), pygmy rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis), white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginiana), mink (Mustela vison), Canada goose (Branta canadensis), downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens), Lewis woodpecker (Melanerpes lewis), and Yellow warbler (Dendroica petechia). Results of the HEP analysis are listed below. General ratings (poor, marginal, fair, etc.,) are described in Appendix B. Mule deer habitat was marginal lacking diversity and quantify of suitable browse species. Sharp-tailed grouse habitat was marginal lacking residual nesting cover and suitable winter habitat Pygmy rabbit habitat was in fair condition except for the Dormaier property which was rated marginal due to excessive shrub canopy closure at some sites. This report is an analysis of baseline habitat conditions on mitigation project lands and provides estimated habitat units for mitigation crediting purposes. In addition, information from this document could be used by wildlife habitat managers to develop management strategies for specific project sites

  10. Determination of iodine to compliment mass spectrometric measurements

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hohorst, F.A.

    1994-11-01

    The dose of iodine-129 to facility personnel and the general public as a result of past, present, and future activities at DOE sites is of continuing interest, WINCO received about 160 samples annually in a variety of natural matrices, including snow, milk, thyroid tissue, and sagebrush, in which iodine-129 is determined in order to evaluate this dose, Currently, total iodine and the isotopic ratio of iodine-127 to iodine-129 are determined by mass spectrometry. These two measurements determine the concentration of iodine-129 in each sample, These measurements require at least 16 h of mass spectrometer operator time for each sample. A variety of methods are available which concentrate and determine small quantities of iodine. Although useful, these approaches would increase both time and cost. The objective of this effort was to determine total iodine by an alternative method in order to decrease the load on mass spectrometry by 25 to 50%. The preparation of each sample for mass spectrometric analysis involves a common step--collection of iodide on an ion exchange bed. This was the focal point of the effort since the results would be applicable to all samples

  11. A case study for evaluating ecological risks at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Peterson, S.; Brewer, R.; Morris, R.; VanHorn, R.

    1994-01-01

    A case study was conducted as a component of the development of guidance for ecological risk assessment at the Department of Energy's Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL). The INEL is a large facility in southeastern Idaho, encompassing expanses of sagebrush-steppe that harbor numerous wildlife species. Nuclear research and waste disposal activities have resulted in releases of radionuclides at various sites. Due to the size and number of potentially contaminated areas, a cost-effective method was needed to evaluate ecological risks and to identify data needs for remedial investigations. Screening-level assessment approaches were developed to evaluate data collected from previous site investigations. Above-background concentrations of radionuclides and other contaminants in media were compared to risk-based criteria, which were derived from sources such as recent publications of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP). Site-specific risks to plants and wildlife were estimated for contaminants exceeding criteria. Dose rates derived using various estimation methods were compared to reference doses for wildlife obtained from IAEA, NCRP, and other publications

  12. Late quaternary environmental changes in the upper Las Vegas valley, Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Quade, Jay

    1986-11-01

    Five stratigraphic units and five soils of late Pleistocene to Holocene age crop out in dissected badlands on Corn Creek Flat, 30 km northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada, and at Tule Springs, nearer to Las Vegas. The record is dominantly fluvial but contains evidence of several moister, marsh-forming periods: the oldest (Unit B) dates perhaps to the middle Wisconsin, and the more widespread Unit D falls between 30,000 and 15,000 yr B.P. Unit D therefore correlates with pluvial maximum lacustrine deposits elsewhere in the Great Basin. Standing water was not of sufficient depth or extent during either period to form lake strandlines. Between 14,000 and 7200 yr B.P. (Unit E), standing surface water gradually decreased, a trend also apparent in Great Basin pluvial lake chronologies during the same period. Groundwater carbonate cementation and burrowing by cicadas (Cicadae) accompany the moist-phase units. After 7200 yr B.P., increased wind action, decreased biotic activity, and at least 25 m of water-table lowering accompanied widespread erosion of older fine-grained deposits. Based on pack-rat midden and pollen evidence, this coincides with major vegetation changes in the valley, from sagebrush-dominated steppe to lower Mohave desertscrub.

  13. Molecular phylogeny of Subtribe Artemisiinae (Asteraceae), including Artemisia and its allied and segregate genera

    Science.gov (United States)

    Watson, Linda E; Bates, Paul L; Evans, Timothy M; Unwin, Matthew M; Estes, James R

    2002-01-01

    Background Subtribe Artemisiinae of Tribe Anthemideae (Asteraceae) is composed of 18 largely Asian genera that include the sagebrushes and mugworts. The subtribe includes the large cosmopolitan, wind-pollinated genus Artemisia, as well as several smaller genera and Seriphidium, that altogether comprise the Artemisia-group. Circumscription and taxonomic boundaries of Artemisia and the placements of these small segregate genera is currently unresolved. Results We constructed a molecular phylogeny for the subtribe using the internal transcribed spacers (ITS) of nuclear ribosomal DNA analyzed with parsimony, likelihood, and Bayesian criteria. The resulting tree is comprised of three major clades that correspond to the radiate genera (e.g., Arctanthemum and Dendranthema), and two clades of Artemisia species. All three clades have allied and segregate genera embedded within each. Conclusions The data support a broad concept of Artemisia s.l. that includes Neopallasia, Crossostephium, Filifolium, Seriphidium, and Sphaeromeria. However, the phylogeny excludes Elachanthemum, Kaschgaria, and Stilnolepis from the Artemisia-group. Additionally, the monophyly of the four subgenera of Artemisia is also not supported, with the exception of subg. Dracunculus. Homogamous, discoid capitula appear to have arisen in parallel four to seven times, with the loss of ray florets. Thus capitular morphology is not a reliable taxonomic character, which traditionally has been one of the defining characters. PMID:12350234

  14. Small mammal density and movement on the SL-1 disposal area, Idaho National Engineering Laboratory

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Filipovich, M.A.; Keller, B.L.

    1983-01-01

    This study was initiated to examine the population composition, density and food habits of small mammals on a radioactive waste disposal area. Population parameters of small mammals were studied at 3-month intervals on and adjacent to the SL-1 radioactive waste disposal area (1.4 ha) and a 0.3 ha control area between August 1981 and February 1982 with mark-release methods. Both areas have crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum) stands surrounded by sagebrush steppe. Species composition on the SL-1 and control area was similar to that found on the Subsurface Disposal Area at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. Considerable use by small mammals of the perimeter of the crested wheatgrass stands was found on both the SL-1 and control area. Additionally, deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) and Ord's kangaroo rats (Dipodomys ordii) that frequent the crested wheatgrass stands of the SL-1 and control area were often captured over 100 m from the crested wheatgrass stands. Thus, future research efforts will focus on examining the intensity of perimeter use and food habits of rodents residing on and adjacent to the SL-1. Results of this study will be used to evaluate ecological conditions that affect small mammal use of radioactive waste disposal areas

  15. Fire tolerance of a resprouting Artemisia (Asteraceae) shrub

    Science.gov (United States)

    Winter, S.L.; Fuhlendorf, S.D.; Goad, C.L.; Davis, C.A.; Hickman, K.R.; Leslie, David M.

    2011-01-01

    In North America, most Artemisia (Asteraceae) shrub species lack the ability to resprout after disturbances that remove aboveground biomass. We studied the response of one of the few resprouting Artemisia shrubs, Artemisia filifolia (sand sagebrush), to the effects of prescribed fires. We collected data on A. filifolia density and structural characteristics (height, canopy area, and canopy volume) in an A. filifolia shrubland in the southern Great Plains of North America. Our study sites included areas that had not been treated with prescribed fire, areas that had been treated with only one prescribed fire within the previous 5 years, and areas that had been treated with two prescribed fires within the previous 10 years. Our data were collected at time periods ranging from 1/2 to 5 years after the prescribed fires. Density of A. filifolia was not affected by one or two fires. Structural characteristics, although initially altered by prescribed fire, recovered to levels characteristic of unburned areas in 3-4 years after those fires. In contrast to most non-sprouting North American Artemisia shrub species, our research suggested that the resprouting A. filifolia is highly tolerant to the effects of fire. ?? 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

  16. Better living through conifer removal: A demographic analysis of sage-grouse vital rates.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John P Severson

    Full Text Available Sagebrush (Artemisia spp. obligate wildlife species such as the imperiled greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus face numerous threats including altered ecosystem processes that have led to conifer expansion into shrub-steppe. Conifer removal is accelerating despite a lack of empirical evidence on grouse population response. Using a before-after-control-impact design at the landscape scale, we evaluated effects of conifer removal on two important demographic parameters, annual survival of females and nest survival, by monitoring 219 female sage-grouse and 225 nests in the northern Great Basin from 2010 to 2014. Estimates from the best treatment models showed positive trends in the treatment area relative to the control area resulting in an increase of 6.6% annual female survival and 18.8% nest survival relative to the control area by 2014. Using stochastic simulations of our estimates and published demographics, we estimated a 25% increase in the population growth rate in the treatment area relative to the control area. This is the first study to link sage-grouse demographics with conifer removal and supports recommendations to actively manage conifer expansion for sage-grouse conservation. Sage-grouse have become a primary catalyst for conservation funding to address conifer expansion in the West, and these findings have important implications for other ecosystem services being generated on the wings of species conservation.

  17. Burial increases seed longevity of two Artemisia tridentata (Asteraceae) subspecies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wijayratne, Upekala C.; Pyke, David A.

    2012-01-01

    Premise of the study: Seed longevity and persistence in soil seed banks may be especially important for population persistence in ecosystems where opportunities for seedling establishment and disturbance are unpredictable. The fire regime, an important driver of population dynamics in sagebrush steppe ecosystems, has been altered by exotic annual grass invasion. Soil seed banks may play an active role in postfire recovery of the foundation shrub Artemisia tridentata, yet conditions under which seeds persist are largely unknown. Methods: We investigated seed longevity of two Artemisia tridentata subspecies in situ by retrieving seed bags that were placed at varying depths over a 2 yr period. We also sampled naturally dispersed seeds in litter and soil immediately after seed dispersal and before flowering in subsequent seasons to estimate seed persistence. Key results: After 24 mo, seeds buried at least 3 cm below the soil surface retained 30–40% viability whereas viability of seeds on the surface and under litter declined to 0 and Artemisia tridentata has the potential to form a short-term soil seed bank that persists longer than has been commonly assumed, and that burial is necessary for seed longevity. Use of seeding techniques that promote burial of some seeds to aid in formation of a soil seed bank may increase restoration potential.

  18. Using vegetation structure estimates derived from multi-source remote sensing to predict dynamics of a semi-arid ecosystem in the western US

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shrestha, R.; Mitchell, J. J.; Glenn, N. F.; Flores, A. N.

    2014-12-01

    The distribution of species and vegetation types across the western US are expected to shift in response to climate change. Previous studies have documented the change in fire regime and the increasing fire-invasive grass cycle occurring in the western U.S. The change in vegetation structure due to climate change and invasive species alters the fuel load, making these ecosystems vulnerable to high-severity fire. Synergistic remote sensing data, such as hyperspectral data and high-resolution lidar, can be leveraged to capture the composition and structural variability of short-statured semiarid vegetation (e.g. sagebrush, annual grasses). We use a random-forests based fusion technique to integrate multi-source airborne data (hyperspectral and LiDAR) and generate spatially-explicit estimates of vegetation composition and structure (biomass, cover, density, height, LAI) and associated uncertainty across a climate and elevation gradient in southern Idaho. The results will be used to initialize an individual-based terrestrial biosphere model (Ecosystem Demography, ED2) and estimate structural dynamics under future scenarios. This study will provide a basis for understanding feedback mechanisms related to changing climate conditions, fire regimes and patterns of non-native plant invasion. The forthcoming field and remote sensing collection campaigns are also designed for parameterizing a dryland shrub plant functional type in the ED2 model.

  19. Microbial community responses to 17 years of altered precipitation are seasonally dependent and coupled to co-varying effects of water content on vegetation and soil C

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sorensen, Patrick O.; Germino, Matthew J.; Feris, Kevin P.

    2013-01-01

    Precipitation amount and seasonal timing determine the duration and distribution of water available for plant and microbial activity in the cold desert sagebrush steppe. In this study, we sought to determine if a sustained shift in the amount and timing of precipitation would affect soil microbial diversity, community composition, and soil carbon (C) storage. Field plots were irrigated (+200 mm) during the dormant or growing-season for 17 years. Microbial community responses were assessed over the course of a year at two depths (15–20 cm, 95–100 cm) by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP), along with co-occurring changes in plant cover and edaphic properties. Bacterial richness, Shannon Weaver diversity, and composition in shallow soils (15–20 cm) as well as evenness in deep soils (95–100 cm) differed across irrigation treatments during July. Irrigation timing affected fungal community diversity and community composition during the dormant season and most strongly in deep soils (95–100 cm). Dormant-season irrigation increased the ratio of shrubs to forbs and reduced soil C in shallow soils by 16% relative to ambient conditions. It is unclear whether or not soil C will continue to decline with continued treatment application or if microbial adaptation could mitigate sustained soil C losses. Future changes in precipitation timing will affect soil microbes in a seasonally dependent manner and be coupled to co-varying effects of water content on vegetation and soil C.

  20. Fusing MODIS with Landsat 8 data to downscale weekly normalized difference vegetation index estimates for central Great Basin rangelands, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boyte, Stephen; Wylie, Bruce K.; Rigge, Matthew B.; Dahal, Devendra

    2018-01-01

    Data fused from distinct but complementary satellite sensors mitigate tradeoffs that researchers make when selecting between spatial and temporal resolutions of remotely sensed data. We integrated data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor aboard the Terra satellite and the Operational Land Imager sensor aboard the Landsat 8 satellite into four regression-tree models and applied those data to a mapping application. This application produced downscaled maps that utilize the 30-m spatial resolution of Landsat in conjunction with daily acquisitions of MODIS normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) that are composited and temporally smoothed. We produced four weekly, atmospherically corrected, and nearly cloud-free, downscaled 30-m synthetic MODIS NDVI predictions (maps) built from these models. Model results were strong with R2 values ranging from 0.74 to 0.85. The correlation coefficients (r ≥ 0.89) were strong for all predictions when compared to corresponding original MODIS NDVI data. Downscaled products incorporated into independently developed sagebrush ecosystem models yielded mixed results. The visual quality of the downscaled 30-m synthetic MODIS NDVI predictions were remarkable when compared to the original 250-m MODIS NDVI. These 30-m maps improve knowledge of dynamic rangeland seasonal processes in the central Great Basin, United States, and provide land managers improved resource maps.

  1. Columbia River Wildlife Mitigation Habitat Evaluation Procedures Report / Scotch Creek Wildlife Area, Berg Brothers, and Douglas County Pygmy Rabbit Projects.

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ashley, Paul R.

    1997-01-01

    This Habitat Evaluation Procedure study was conducted to determine baseline habitat units (HUs) on the Scotch Creek, Mineral Hill, Pogue Mountain, Chesaw and Tunk Valley Habitat Areas (collectively known as the Scotch Creek Wildlife Area) in Okanogan County, Sagebrush Flat and the Dormaler property in Douglas County, and the Berg Brothers ranch located in Okanogan County within the Colville Reservation. A HEP team comprised of individuals from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (Appendix A) conducted baseline habitat surveys using the following HEP evaluation species: mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), sharp-tailed grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus), pygmy rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis), white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginiana), mink (Mustela vison), Canada goose (Branta canadensis), downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens), Lewis woodpecker (Melanerpes lewis), and Yellow warbler (Dendroica petechia). Results of the HEP analysis are listed below. General ratings (poor, marginal, fair, etc.,) are described in Appendix B. Mule deer habitat was marginal lacking diversity and quantify of suitable browse species. Sharp-tailed grouse habitat was marginal lacking residual nesting cover and suitable winter habitat Pygmy rabbit habitat was in fair condition except for the Dormaier property which was rated marginal due to excessive shrub canopy closure at some sites. This report is an analysis of baseline habitat conditions on mitigation project lands and provides estimated habitat units for mitigation crediting purposes. In addition, information from this document could be used by wildlife habitat managers to develop management strategies for specific project sites.

  2. Investing in rangeland restoration in the Arid West, USA: countering the effects of an invasive weed on the long-term fire cycle.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Epanchin-Niell, Rebecca; Englin, Jeffrey; Nalle, Darek

    2009-01-01

    In large areas of the arid western United States, much of which are federally managed, fire frequencies and associated management costs are escalating as flammable, invasive cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) increases its stronghold. Cheatgrass invasion and the subsequent increase in fire frequency result in the loss of native vegetation, less predictable forage availability for livestock and wildlife, and increased costs and risk associated with firefighting. Revegetation following fire on land that is partially invaded by cheatgrass can reduce both the dominance of cheatgrass and its associated high fire rate. Thus restoration can be viewed as an investment in fire-prevention and, if native seed is used, an investment in maintaining native vegetation on the landscape. Here we develop and employ a Markov model of vegetation dynamics for the sagebrush steppe ecosystem to predict vegetation change and management costs under different intensities and types of post-fire revegetation. We use the results to estimate the minimum total cost curves for maintaining native vegetation on the landscape and for preventing cheatgrass dominance. Our results show that across a variety of model parameter possibilities, increased investment in post-fire revegetation reduces long-term fire management costs by more than enough to offset the costs of revegetation. These results support that a policy of intensive post-fire revegetation will reduce long-term management costs for this ecosystem, in addition to providing environmental benefits. This information may help justify costs associated with revegetation and raise the priority of restoration in federal land budgets.

  3. Ecological baseline study of the Yakima Firing Center proposed land acquisition: A status report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Rogers, L.E.; Beedlow, P.A.; Eberhardt, L.E.; Dauble, D.D.; Fitzner, R.E.

    1989-01-01

    This report provides baseline environmental information for the property identified for possible expansion of the Yakima Firing Center. Results from this work provide general descriptions of the animals and major plant communities present. A vegetation map derived from a combination of on-site surveillance and remotely sensed imagery is provided as part of this report. Twenty-seven wildlife species of special interest (protected, sensitive, furbearer, game animal, etc.), and waterfowl, were observed on the proposed expansion area. Bird censuses revealed 13 raptorial species (including four of special interest: bald eagle, golden eagle, osprey, and prairie falcon); five upland game bird species (sage grouse, California quail, chukar, gray partridge, and ring-necked pheasant); common loons (a species proposed for state listing as threatened); and five other species of special interest (sage thrasher, loggerhead shrike, mourning dove, sage sparrow, and long-billed curlew). Estimates of waterfowl abundance are included for the Priest Rapids Pool of the Columbia River. Six small mammal species were captured during this study; one, the sagebrush vole, is a species of special interest. Two large animal species, mule deer and elk, were noted on the site. Five species of furbearing animals were observed (coyote, beaver, raccoon, mink, and striped skunk). Four species of reptiles and one amphibian were noted. Fisheries surveys were conducted to document the presence of gamefish, and sensitive-classified fish and aquatic invertebrates. Rainbow trout were the only fish collected within the boundaries of the proposed northern expansion area. 22 refs., 10 figs., 4 tabs.

  4. Special isotope separation project, Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, Idaho Falls, Idaho

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1988-02-01

    Construction and operation of a Special Isotope Separation (SIS) project using the Atomic Vapor Laser Isotope Separation (AVLIS) process technology at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL) near Idaho Falls, Idaho are proposed. The SIS project would process fuel-grade plutonium administered by the Department of Energy (DOE) into weapon-grade plutonium using AVLIS and supporting chemical processes. The SIS project would require construction and operation of a Laser Support Facility to house the laser system and a Plutonium Processing Facility. The SIS project would be integrated with existing support and waste management facilities at the selected site. The SIS project would provide DOE with the capability of segregating the isotopes of DOE-owned plutonium into specific isotopic concentrations. This capability would provide redundancy in production capacity, technological diversity, and flexibility in DOE's production of nuclear materials for national defense. Use of the INEL site would impact 151,350 square meters (37.4 acres) of land, of which more than 70% has been previously disturbed. During construction, plant and animal habitat associated with a sagebrush vegetation community would be lost. During operation of the SIS facilities, unavoidable radiation exposures would include occupational exposures and exposures to the public from normal atmospheric releases of radioactive materials that would be minimal compared to natural background radiation

  5. Concentration and distribution of elements in plants and soils near phosphate processing factories, Pocatello, Idaho

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Severson, R.C.; Gough, L.P.

    1976-01-01

    The processing of phosphatic shale near Pocatello, Idaho has a direct influence on the element content of local vegetation and soil. Samples of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. subsp. tridentata) and cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.) show important negative relations between the concentration of certain elements (Cd, Cr, F, Ni, P, Se, U, V, and Zn) and distance from phosphate processing factories. Plant tissues within 3 km of the processing factories contain unusually high amounts of these elements except Ni and Se. Important negative relations with distance were also found for certain elements (Be, F, Fe, K, Li, Pb, Rb, Th, and Zn) in A-horizon soil. Amounts of seven elements (Be, F, Li, Pb, Rb, Th, and Zn) being contributed to the upper 5 cm of the soil by phosphate processing, as well as two additional elements (U and V) suspected as being contributed to soil, were estimated, with F showing the greatest increase (about 300 kg/ha) added to soils as far as 4 km downwind from the factories. The greatest number of important relations for both plants and soils was found downwind (northeast) of the processing factories

  6. The potential of novel native plant materials for the restoration of novel ecosystems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T.A. Jones

    2015-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Extensive ecological change has been sustained by many dryland ecosystems throughout the world, resulting in conversion to so-called novel ecosystems. It is within such ecological contexts that native plant materials destined for ecological applications must be able to function. In the Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. wyomingensis [Beetle & A.M. Young] S.L. Welsh ecosystems of the Intermountain West, for example, novel ecosystem structure and functioning are pervasive. Invasive species, particularly annual grasses, fuel repeated wildfires that drive previously stable ecosystem states across thresholds to less desirable states that are highly recalcitrant to restoration efforts. Structural changes include reductions of native flora, damage to biological soil crusts, and alterations to soil microbiota. Functional changes include altered hydrologic and nutrient cycling, leading to permanent losses of soil organic matter and nitrogen that favor the invaders. We argue that there is an important place in restoration for plant materials that are novel and/or non-local that have been developed to be more effective in the novel ecosystems for which they are intended, thus qualifying them as “ecologically appropriate.” Such plant materials may be considered as an alternative to natural/local “genetically appropriate” plant materials, which are sometimes deemed best adapted due to vetting by historical evolutionary processes.

  7. Thunder on the Yellowstone revisited: An assessment of management of native ungulates by natural regulation, 1968-1993

    Science.gov (United States)

    Singer, F.J.; Swift, D.M.; Coughenour, M.B.; Varley, J.D.

    1998-01-01

    (Populus tremuloides) declines predated the new management policy, but their slow declines also continued after 1968. Three uncommon plant species (aspen, willow, and Wyoming big sagebrush [Artemisia tridentata tridentata]) and 1 herbivore (moose [Alces alces]) declined under natural-regulation management. Two uncommon species of woody browse (aspen, Wyoming big sagebrush) were overutilized by ungulates (consumption of >2/3 current annual growth occurred). We conclude the natural-regulation model for YNP was flawed in its assumptions of a single, steady state for the park, based on conditions presumed to exist in 1870 prior to establishment of the national park. The period selected as a standard (1870) was an unusual period characterized by frequent large fires and floods, common wolves, few elk, and a cooler, wetter climate. We also conclude there is a high level of uncertainty surrounding what elk densities were in pre-Columbian times (element 3 of the management model) and what effects wolves and Native Americans had in regulating the elk population.

  8. The influence of mitigation on sage-grouse habitat selection within an energy development field.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bradley C Fedy

    Full Text Available Growing global energy demands ensure the continued growth of energy development. Energy development in wildlife areas can significantly impact wildlife populations. Efforts to mitigate development impacts to wildlife are on-going, but the effectiveness of such efforts is seldom monitored or assessed. Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus are sensitive to energy development and likely serve as an effective umbrella species for other sagebrush-steppe obligate wildlife. We assessed the response of birds within an energy development area before and after the implementation of mitigation action. Additionally, we quantified changes in habitat distribution and abundance in pre- and post-mitigation landscapes. Sage-grouse avoidance of energy development at large spatial scales is well documented. We limited our research to directly within an energy development field in order to assess the influence of mitigation in close proximity to energy infrastructure. We used nest-location data (n = 488 within an energy development field to develop habitat selection models using logistic regression on data from 4 years of research prior to mitigation and for 4 years following the implementation of extensive mitigation efforts (e.g., decreased activity, buried powerlines. The post-mitigation habitat selection models indicated less avoidance of wells (well density β = 0.18 ± 0.08 than the pre-mitigation models (well density β = -0.09 ± 0.11. However, birds still avoided areas of high well density and nests were not found in areas with greater than 4 wells per km2 and the majority of nests (63% were located in areas with ≤ 1 well per km2. Several other model coefficients differed between the two time periods and indicated stronger selection for sagebrush (pre-mitigation β = 0.30 ± 0.09; post-mitigation β = 0.82 ± 0.08 and less avoidance of rugged terrain (pre-mitigation β = -0.35 ± 0.12; post-mitigation β = -0.05 ± 0.09. Mitigation efforts

  9. Carbon cycle dynamics within Oregon’s urban-suburban-forested-agricultural landscapes

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Law, Beverly E. [Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR (United States); Still, Christopher Jason [Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR (United States); Schmidt, Andres [Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR (United States)

    2017-06-15

    Our overarching goal was to develop and utilize an observation-based analysis framework to assess interactions between climate and mosaics of land use, land cover and urbanization on regional carbon, water, and energy dynamics, and potential changes associated with land management and climate. Carbon, water and energy cycling was quantified for the range of current and potential land uses under present and future climates. The study region of Oregon has a strong climatic gradient from the coastal mesic forests (2500mm ppt) to the Willamette Valley, Cascade Mountains, and the Northern Great Basin semi-arid “cold desert” to the east (300 mm). The study was focused on the effects of (1) conversion of semi-arid sagebrush and Willamette Valley agricultural crops to bioenergy production; (2) afforestation of idle land and rangelands deemed suitable for forests or poplar crops under future climate conditions. We found that net ecosystem production (NEP), the net of ecosystem photosynthesis and respiration, was 10 times higher in the high biomass forests of the Coast Range compared with drier regions like sagebrush in the Northern Great Basin, which was nearly zero (Schmidt et al. 2016). The state total NEP averaged about 30 teragrams carbon (Tg C) per year for the years 2012 to 2014 using our model framework that we developed for predictions of current and future NEP, and compared well with our detailed inventory estimates (28 Tg C annual average for 2011-2015 for forests only; Law et al. 2017). Running our model framework until the year 2050, we found that climate alone only increased NEP by less than 1 Tg C per decade (~3%) using the current trajectory of carbon dioxide emissions, however, changes are expected to be more rapid in subsequent years. We evaluated the possibility of land use change from grass seed crops to poplar for bioenergy, which slightly increased NEP by 2050. The most important variable for carbon sequestration estimates (net carbon sources and

  10. Monitoring and research on the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in the Pine Nut Mountains, California and Nevada—Study progress report, 2011–15

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coates, Peter S.; Andrle, Katie M.; Ziegler, Pilar T.; Casazza, Michael L.

    2016-09-29

    The Bi-State distinct population segment (DPS) of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) that occurs along the Nevada–California border was proposed for listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in October 2013. However, in April 2015, the FWS determined that the Bi-State DPS no longer required protection under the ESA and withdrew the proposed rule to list the Bi-State DPS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2015). The Bi-State DPS occupies portions of Alpine, Mono, and Inyo Counties in California, and Douglas, Esmeralda, Lyon, Carson City, and Mineral Counties in Nevada. Unique threats facing this population include geographic isolation, expansion of single-leaf pinyon (Pinus monophylla) and Utah juniper (Juniperus osteosperma), anthropogenic activities, and recent changes in predator communities. Estimating population vital rates, identifying seasonal habitat, quantifying threats, and identifying movement patterns are important first steps in developing effective sage-grouse management and conservation plans. During 2011–15, we radio- and Global Positioning System (GPS)-marked (2012–14 only) 44, 47, 17, 9, and 3 sage-grouse, respectively, for a total of 120, in the Pine Nut Mountains Population Management Unit (PMU). No change in lek attendance was detected at Mill Canyon (maximum=18 males) between 2011 and 2012; however, 1 male was observed in 2014 and no males were observed in 2013 and 2015. Males were observed near Bald Mountain in 2013, making it the first year this lek was observed to be active during the study period. Males were observed at a new site in the Buckskin Range in 2014 during trapping efforts and again observed during surveys in 2015. Findings indicate that pinyon-juniper is avoided by sage-grouse during every life stage. Nesting females selected increased sagebrush cover, sagebrush height, and understory horizontal cover, and brood-rearing females selected similar areas

  11. 200-BP-1 Prototype Hanford Barrier Annual Monitoring Report for Fiscal Year 2004

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ward, Andy L.; Linville, Jenifer K.; Keller, Jason M.; Seedahmed, Gamal H.

    2005-01-03

    considerable cost savings without any loss in accuracy. A relatively high coverage of native plants still persists after the initial revegetation in 1994. The formerly irrigated treatments continue to show greater cover of grasses and litter than the non-irrigated treatments. On the formerly irrigated treatments, the mean cover class was 25 to 50 percent for both grasses and shrubs. On the non-irrigated treatments, the mean cover class was 5 to 25 percent from grasses and 25 to 50 percent for shrubs. Species diversity of the vegetative community appears to have stabilized over the past several years. In addition to 12 of 17 species present in 2003 being present in 2004, two additional species were encountered. Sagebrush continues to flourish with shrubs along the perimeter showing higher biomass yield than the interior shrubs. There is evidence of sagebrush seedlings recruitment but not of rabbitbrush; the presence of gray rabbitbrush appears is declining as the barrier surface continues to stabilize. Use of the barrier surface by insects and small mammals is also evident. Small mammal burrowing on the barrier surface has become more prevalent in recent years, suggesting that the restored barrier surface is beginning to function as a recovering ecosystem. Small-mammal burrowing on the top and sides of the barrier is most prevalent on the finer-grained and disturbed soils while active ant mounds were observed on the northern and western slopes.

  12. Evaluating evapotranspiration for six sites in Benton, Spokane, and Yakima counties, Washington, May 1990 to September 1992

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tomlinson, S.A.

    1996-01-01

    This report evaluates evapotranspiration for six sites in Benton, Spokane, and Yakima Counties, Washington. Three sites were located on the Arid Lands Ecology Reserve in Benton County: one at a full-canopy grassland in Snively Basin (Snively Basin site), one at a sparse-canopy grassland adjacent to two weighing lysimeters (grass lysimeter site), and one at a sagebrush grassland adjacent to two weighing lysimeters (sage lysimeter site). Two sites were located on the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge in Spokane County: one at a full-canopy grassland in a meadow (Turnbull meadow site), the other a full-canopy grassland near a marsh (Turnbull marsh site). The last site was located in a sagebrush grassland in the Black Rock Valley in Yakima County (Black Rock Valley site). The periods of study at the six sites varied, ranging from 5 months at the Black Rock Valley site to more than 2 years at the Snively Basin, grass lysimeter, and sage lysimeter sites. The periods of study were May 1990 to September 1992 for the Snively Basin, grass lysimeter, and sage lysimeter sites; May 1991 to September 1992 for the Turnbull meadow site; May 1991 to April 1992 for the Turnbull marsh site; and March to September 1992 for the Black Rock Valley site. Evapotranspiration and energy-budget fluxes were estimated for the Snively Basin site, the Turnbull meadow site, and the Black Rock Valley site using the Bowen-ratio and Penman-Monteith methods. Daily evapotranspiration for the Snively Basin site was also estimated using a deep-percolation model for the Columbia Basin. The Bowen-ratio method and weighing lysimeters were used at the grass and sage lysimeter sites. The Penman-Monteith method was used at the Turnbull marsh site. Daily evapotranspiration at the sites ranged from under 0.2 millimeter during very dry or cold periods to over 4\\x11millimeters after heavy rainfall or during periods of peak transpiration. At all sites, peak evapotranspiration occurred in spring, coinciding with

  13. Current ecosystem processes in steppe near Lake Baikal

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vanteeva, Julia

    2015-04-01

    herbaceous phytomass of the steppe complexes varied from 0.4 to 2.64 t/ha. Apical stony and sloping grass-forb landscapes and areas of settlements and recreation facilities had the lowest values. Forest steppes were characterized by low crown density, non-large stand density, which was represented mainly by larch. Phytomass stock ranged from 30.78 to 282.24 t/ha. Maximum values corresponded to the forest steppe with larch on steep slopes. The maximum values of the silt matter transfer (up to 124 g /m2) corresponded to areas with a strong recreation pressure with the lower value of vegetation cover (from 0 to 45%) and aboveground herbaceous phytomass (0.4 - 0.6 t/ha). During experiment with using rainfall simulator defined different sensibility to soil erosion, for example, for Caragana steppe with sagebrush on the undisturbed area trapped silt is 12 g/m2 and for anthropogenic disturbed patch - 84 g/m2. For Sagebrush steppe trapped silt changed from 4 to 16 g/m2. The study shows strong landscapes transformation leading to loss of biodiversity, the reduction of phytomass production and water percolation.

  14. Habitat prioritization across large landscapes, multiple seasons, and novel areas: an example using greater sage-grouse in Wyoming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fedy, Bradley C.; Doherty, Kevin E.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; O'Donnell, Michael S.; Beck, Jeffrey L.; Bedrosian, Bryan; Gummer, David; Holloran, Matthew J.; Johnson, Gregory D.; Kaczor, Nicholas W.; Kirol, Christopher P.; Mandich, Cheryl A.; Marshall, David; McKee, Gwyn; Olson, Chad; Pratt, Aaron C.; Swanson, Christopher C.; Walker, Brett L.

    2014-01-01

    Animal habitat selection is an important and expansive area of research in ecology. In particular, the study of habitat selection is critical in habitat prioritization efforts for species of conservation concern. Landscape planning for species is happening at ever-increasing extents because of the appreciation for the role of landscape-scale patterns in species persistence coupled to improved datasets for species and habitats, and the expanding and intensifying footprint of human land uses on the landscape. We present a large-scale collaborative effort to develop habitat selection models across large landscapes and multiple seasons for prioritizing habitat for a species of conservation concern. Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus, hereafter sage-grouse) occur in western semi-arid landscapes in North America. Range-wide population declines of this species have been documented, and it is currently considered as “warranted but precluded” from listing under the United States Endangered Species Act. Wyoming is predicted to remain a stronghold for sage-grouse populations and contains approximately 37% of remaining birds. We compiled location data from 14 unique radiotelemetry studies (data collected 1994–2010) and habitat data from high-quality, biologically relevant, geographic information system (GIS) layers across Wyoming. We developed habitat selection models for greater sage-grouse across Wyoming for 3 distinct life stages: 1) nesting, 2) summer, and 3) winter. We developed patch and landscape models across 4 extents, producing statewide and regional (southwest, central, northeast) models for Wyoming. Habitat selection varied among regions and seasons, yet preferred habitat attributes generally matched the extensive literature on sage-grouse seasonal habitat requirements. Across seasons and regions, birds preferred areas with greater percentage sagebrush cover and avoided paved roads, agriculture, and forested areas. Birds consistently preferred

  15. Geochemical variability of soils and biogeochemical variability of plants in the Piceance Basin, Colorado

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tuttle, M.L.; Severson, R.C.; Dean, W.E.; Klusman, R.W.

    1986-01-01

    Geochemical baselines for native soils and biogeochemical baselines for plants in the Piceance basin provide data that can be used to assess geochemical and biogeochemical effects of oil-shale development, monitor changes in the geochemical and biogeochemical environment during development, and assess the degree of success of rehabilitation of native materials after development. Baseline values for 52 properties in native soils, 15 properties in big sagebrush, and 13 properties in western wheatgrass were established. Our Study revealed statistically significant regional variations of the following properties across the basin: in soil&-aluminum, cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, sodium, nickel, phosphorus, lead, scandium, titanium, vanadium, zinc, organic and total carbon, pH, clay, dolomite, sodium feldspar, and DTPA-extractable calcium, cadmium, iron, potassium, manganese, nickel, phosphorus, yttrium, and zinc; in big sagebrush-barium, calcium, copper, magnesium, molybdenum, sodium, strontium, zinc, and ash; and in western wheatgrass-boron, barium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, strontium, zinc, and ash. These variations show up as north-south trends across the basin, or they reflect differences in elevation, hydrology, and soil parent material. Baseline values for properties that do not have statistically significant regional variations can be represented by geometric means and deviations calculated from all values within the basin. Chemical and mineralogical analyses of soil and chemical analyses of western wheatgrass samples from Colorado State University's experimental revegetation plot at Anvil Points provide data useful in assessing potential effects on soil and plant properties when largescale revegetation operations begin. The concentrations of certain properties are related to the presence of topsoil over spent shale in the lysimeters. In soils, calcium, fluorine, lithium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, strontium, carbonate and total carbon

  16. Aerobiological study of pollen and mold in Seoul, Korea

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jae-Won Oh

    1998-01-01

    Full Text Available In a large number of allergic individuals, inhalant allergens are important causative and triggering agents in respiratory allergies. It is essential to survey the pollen and mold around the patient’s environment for the diagnosis and treatment of airborne allergy. Rotorod samplers were installed at well-ventilated places in seven collecting stations in Seoul, the capital of Korea, which has a population of 12 million. Airborne particles carrying allergens were collected daily from each station for 2 years (1 October 1995 to 30 September 1997. After being stained with Calberla’s fuchsin, they were identified, counted and recorded. The weather in Seoul was also recorded. Pollen was found from the middle of February through to the end of December. The peak date for pollen was 12 May (peak mean daily count: 701 grains/m3/day and for mold it was 23 June (peak mean daily count: 936 spores/m3/day. Alder, birch, pine, oak, maple, elm, juniper, willow, and gingko trees were prevalent during the tree season, lasting from the middle of February to late July. Then sagebrush, ragweed, Japanese hop, and pigweed followed during the weed season, which lasts from the middle of July to the end of December. In skin prick test results, house dust mite was the most common positive allergen in Seoul, followed by cockroach. Among the pollens, mugwort was the most common positive, followed by ragweed mix, alder, birch, and grasses mix. Among the molds, there were high counts of Cladosporium and Alternaria during the year, excluding January. Ascospore of Lepto-spheria was highest during the monsoon season.

  17. Laboratory characterization of PM emissions from combustion of wildland biomass fuels

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hosseini, SeyedEhsan; Urbanski, Shawn; Dixit, P.; Qi, L.; Burling, Ian R.; Yokelson, Robert; Johnson, Timothy J.; Shrivastava, ManishKumar B.; Jung, H.; Weise, David; Miller, J. Wayne; Cocker, David R.

    2013-09-09

    Particle emissions from open burning of southwestern (SW) and southeastern (SE) U.S. 17 fuel types during 77 controlled laboratory burns are presented. The fuels include SW 18 vegetation types: ceanothus, chamise/scrub oak, coastal sage scrub, California sagebrush, 19 manzanita, maritime chaparral, masticated mesquite, oak savanna, and oak woodland as 20 well as SE vegetation types: 1-year, 2-year rough, pocosin, chipped understory, 21 understory hardwood, and pine litter. The SW fuels burned at a higher Modified 22 Combustion Efficiency (MCE) than the SE fuels resulting in lower particulate matter 23 (PM) mass emission factor (EF). Particle size distributions for six fuels and particle 24 number emission or all fuels are reported. Excellent mass closure (slope = 1.00, r2=0.94) 25 between ions, metals, and carbon with total weight was obtained. Organic carbon 26 emission factors inversely correlated (= 0.72) with MCE, while elemental carbon (EC) 27 had little correlation with MCE (=0.10). The EC/total carbon (TC) ratio sharply 28 increased with MCE for MCEs exceeding 0.94. The average levoglucosan and total Poly 29 Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) emissions factors ranged from 25-1272 mg/kg fuel and 30 1790-11300 μg/kg fuel, respectively. No correlation between MCE and emissions of 31 PAHs/levoglucosan was found. Additionally, PAH diagnostic ratios were observed to be 32 poor indicators of biomass burning. Large fuel-type and regional dependency was 33 observed in the emission rates of ammonium, nitrate, fluoride, chloride, sodium, and

  18. Effects of projected climate change on vegetation in the Blue Mountains ecoregion, USA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Becky K. Kerns

    2018-04-01

    Full Text Available We used autecological, paleoecological, and modeling information to explore the potential effects of climate change on vegetation in the Blue Mountains ecoregion, Oregon (USA. Although uncertainty exists about the exact nature of future vegetation change, we infer that the following are likely to occur by the end of the century: (1 dominance of ponderosa pine and sagebrush will increase in many locations, (2 the forest-steppe ecotone will move upward in latitude and elevation, (3 ponderosa pine will be distributed at higher elevations, (4 subalpine and alpine systems will be replaced by grass species, pine, and Douglas-fir, (5 moist forest types may increase under wetter scenarios, (6 the distribution and abundance of juniper woodlands may decrease if the frequency and extent of wildfire increase, and (7 grasslands and shrublands will increase at lower elevations. Tree growth in energy-limited landscapes (high elevations, north aspects will increase as the climate warms and snowpack decreases, whereas tree growth in water-limited landscapes (low elevations, south aspects will decrease. Ecological disturbances, including wildfire, insect outbreaks, and non-native species, which are expected to increase in a warmer climate, will affect species distribution, tree age, and vegetation structure, facilitating transitions to new combinations of species and vegetation patterns. In dry forests where fire has not occurred for several decades, crown fires may result in high tree mortality, and the interaction of multiple disturbances and stressors will probably exacerbate stress complexes. Increased disturbance will favor species with physiological and phenological traits that allow them to tolerate frequent disturbance. Keywords: Climate change, Disturbance, Vegetation, Wildfire

  19. Desert water harvesting to benefit wildlife: a simple, cheap, and durable sub-surface water harvester for remote locations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rice, William E

    2004-12-01

    A sub-surface desert water harvester was constructed in the sagebrush steppe habitat of south-central Idaho, U.S.A. The desert water harvester utilizes a buried micro-catchment and three buried storage tanks to augment water for wildlife during the dry season. In this region, mean annual precipitation (MAP) ranges between about 150-250 mm (6"-10"), 70% of which falls during the cold season, November to May. Mid-summer through early autumn, June through October, is the dry portion of the year. During this period, the sub-surface water harvester provides supplemental water for wildlife for 30-90 days, depending upon the precipitation that year. The desert water harvester is constructed with commonly available, "over the counter" materials. The micro-catchment is made of a square-shaped, 20 mL. "PERMALON" polyethylene pond liner (approximately 22.9 m x 22.9 m = 523 m2) buried at a depth of about 60 cm. A PVC pipe connects the harvester with two storage tanks and a drinking trough. The total capacity of the water harvester is about 4777 L (1262 U.S. gallons) which includes three underground storage tanks, a trough and pipes. The drinking trough is refined with an access ramp for birds and small animals. The technology is simple, cheap, and durable and can be adapted to other uses, e.g. drip irrigation, short-term water for small livestock, poultry farming etc. The desert water harvester can be used to concentrate and collect water from precipitation and run-off in semi-arid and arid regions. Water harvested in such a relatively small area will not impact the ground water table but it should help to grow small areas of crops or vegetables to aid villagers in self-sufficiency.

  20. Flight-based chemical characterization of biomass burning aerosols within two prescribed burn smoke plumes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    K. A. Pratt

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available Biomass burning represents a major global source of aerosols impacting direct radiative forcing and cloud properties. Thus, the goal of a number of current studies involves developing a better understanding of how the chemical composition and mixing state of biomass burning aerosols evolve during atmospheric aging processes. During the Ice in Clouds Experiment-Layer Clouds (ICE-L in the fall of 2007, smoke plumes from two small Wyoming Bureau of Land Management prescribed burns were measured by on-line aerosol instrumentation aboard a C-130 aircraft, providing a detailed chemical characterization of the particles. After ~2–4 min of aging, submicron smoke particles, produced primarily from sagebrush combustion, consisted predominantly of organics by mass, but were comprised primarily of internal mixtures of organic carbon, elemental carbon, potassium chloride, and potassium sulfate. Significantly, the fresh biomass burning particles contained minor mass fractions of nitrate and sulfate, suggesting that hygroscopic material is incorporated very near or at the point of emission. The mass fractions of ammonium, sulfate, and nitrate increased with aging up to ~81–88 min and resulted in acidic particles. Decreasing black carbon mass concentrations occurred due to dilution of the plume. Increases in the fraction of oxygenated organic carbon and the presence of dicarboxylic acids, in particular, were observed with aging. Cloud condensation nuclei measurements suggested all particles >100 nm were active at 0.5% water supersaturation in the smoke plumes, confirming the relatively high hygroscopicity of the freshly emitted particles. For immersion/condensation freezing, ice nuclei measurements at −32 °C suggested activation of ~0.03–0.07% of the particles with diameters greater than 500 nm.

  1. Combined effects of energy development and disease on greater sage-grouse.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rebecca L Taylor

    Full Text Available Species of conservation concern are increasingly threatened by multiple, anthropogenic stressors which are outside their evolutionary experience. Greater sage-grouse are highly susceptible to the impacts of two such stressors: oil and gas (energy development and West Nile virus (WNv. However, the combined effects of these stressors and their potential interactions have not been quantified. We used lek (breeding ground counts across a landscape encompassing extensive local and regional variation in the intensity of energy development to quantify the effects of energy development on lek counts, in years with widespread WNv outbreaks and in years without widespread outbreaks. We then predicted the effects of well density and WNv outbreak years on sage-grouse in northeast Wyoming. Absent an outbreak year, drilling an undeveloped landscape to a high permitting level (3.1 wells/km² resulted in a 61% reduction in the total number of males counted in northeast Wyoming (total count. This was similar in magnitude to the 55% total count reduction that resulted from an outbreak year alone. However, energy-associated reductions in the total count resulted from a decrease in the mean count at active leks, whereas outbreak-associated reductions resulted from a near doubling of the lek inactivity rate (proportion of leks with a last count = 0. Lek inactivity quadrupled when 3.1 wells/km² was combined with an outbreak year, compared to no energy development and no outbreak. Conservation measures should maintain sagebrush landscapes large and intact enough so that leks are not chronically reduced in size due to energy development, and therefore vulnerable to becoming inactive due to additional stressors.

  2. Cheatgrass percent cover change: Comparing recent estimates to climate change − Driven predictions in the Northern Great Basin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boyte, Stephen P.; Wylie, Bruce K.; Major, Donald J.

    2016-01-01

    Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.) is a highly invasive species in the Northern Great Basin that helps decrease fire return intervals. Fire fragments the shrub steppe and reduces its capacity to provide forage for livestock and wildlife and habitat critical to sagebrush obligates. Of particular interest is the greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), an obligate whose populations have declined so severely due, in part, to increases in cheatgrass and fires that it was considered for inclusion as an endangered species. Remote sensing technologies and satellite archives help scientists monitor terrestrial vegetation globally, including cheatgrass in the Northern Great Basin. Along with geospatial analysis and advanced spatial modeling, these data and technologies can identify areas susceptible to increased cheatgrass cover and compare these with greater sage grouse priority areas for conservation (PAC). Future climate models forecast a warmer and wetter climate for the Northern Great Basin, which likely will force changing cheatgrass dynamics. Therefore, we examine potential climate-caused changes to cheatgrass. Our results indicate that future cheatgrass percent cover will remain stable over more than 80% of the study area when compared with recent estimates, and higher overall cheatgrass cover will occur with slightly more spatial variability. The land area projected to increase or decrease in cheatgrass cover equals 18% and 1%, respectively, making an increase in fire disturbances in greater sage grouse habitat likely. Relative susceptibility measures, created by integrating cheatgrass percent cover and temporal standard deviation datasets, show that potential increases in future cheatgrass cover match future projections. This discovery indicates that some greater sage grouse PACs for conservation could be at heightened risk of fire disturbance. Multiple factors will affect future cheatgrass cover including changes in precipitation timing and totals and

  3. Overlapping Ballistic Ejecta Fields: Separating Distinct Blasts at Kings Bowl, Idaho

    Science.gov (United States)

    Borg, C.; Kobs-Nawotniak, S. E.; Hughes, S. S.; Sears, D. W. G.; Heldmann, J. L.; Lim, D. S. S.; Haberle, C. W.; Sears, H.; Elphic, R. C.; Kobayashi, L.; Garry, W. B.; Neish, C.; Karunatillake, S.; Button, N.; Purcell, S.; Mallonee, H.; Ostler, B.

    2015-12-01

    Kings Bowl is a ~2200ka pit crater created by a phreatic blast along a volcanic fissure in the eastern Snake River Plain (ESRP), Idaho. The main crater measures approximately 80m in length, 30m in width, and 30m in depth, with smaller pits located nearby on the Great Rift fissure, and has been targeted by the FINESSE team as a possible analogue for Cyane Fossae, Mars. The phreatic eruption is believed to have occurred due to the interaction of groundwater with lava draining back into the fissure following a lava lake high stand, erupting already solidified basalt from this and previous ERSP lava flows. The contemporaneous draw back of the lava with the explosions may conceal some smaller possible blast pits as more lava drained into the newly formed pits. Ballistic ejecta from the blasts occur on both sides of the fissure. To the east, the ballistic blocks are mantled by fine tephra mixed with eolian dust, the result of a westerly wind during the explosions. We use differential GPS to map the distribution of ballistic blocks on the west side of the fissure, recording position, percent vesiculation, and the length of 3 mutually perpendicular axes for each block >20cm along multiple transects parallel to the fissure. From the several hundred blocks recorded, we have been able to separate the ballistic field into several distinct blast deposits on the basis of size distributions and block concentration. The smaller pits identified from the ballistic fields correspond broadly to the northern and southern limits of the tephra/dust field east of the fissure. Soil formation and bioturbation of the tephra by sagebrush have obliterated any tephrostratigraphy that could have been linked to individual blasts. The ballistic block patterns at Kings Bowl may be used to identify distinct ejecta groups in high-resolution imagery of Mars or other planetary bodies.

  4. Sustainable covers for uranium mill tailings, USA: alternative design, performance, and renovation - 16369

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Waugh, William J.; Benson, Craig H.; Albright, William H.

    2009-01-01

    The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management is investigating alternatives to conventional cover designs for uranium mill tailings. A cover constructed in 2000 near Monticello, Utah, USA, was a redundant design with a conventional low-conductivity composite cover overlain with an alternative cover designed to mimic the natural soil water balance as measured in nearby undisturbed native soils and vegetation. To limit percolation, the alternative cover design relies on a 160-cm layer of sandy clay loam soil overlying a 40- cm sand capillary barrier for water storage, and a planting of native sagebrush steppe vegetation to seasonally release soil water through evapotranspiration (ET). Water balance monitoring within a 3.0-ha drainage lysimeter, embedded in the cover during construction, provided convincing evidence that the cover has performed well over a 9-year period (2000- 2009). The total cumulative percolation, 4.8 mm (approximately 0.5 mm yr -1 ), satisfied a regulatory goal of -1 . Most percolation can be attributed to the very wet winter and spring of 2004-2005, when soil water content exceeded the storage capacity of the cover. Diversity, percent cover, and leaf area of vegetation increased over the monitoring period. Field and laboratory evaluations several years after construction show that soil structural development, changes in soil hydraulic properties, and development of vegetation patterns have not adversely impacted cover performance. A new test facility was constructed in 2008 near Grand Junction, Colorado, USA, to evaluate low-cost methods for renovating or transforming conventional covers into more sustainable ET covers. (authors)

  5. A multi-proxy record of hydroclimate, vegetation, fire, and post-settlement impacts for a subalpine plateau, Central Rocky Mountains U.S.A

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, Lesleigh; Brunelle, Andrea; Thompson, Robert S.

    2015-01-01

    Apparent changes in vegetation distribution, fire, and other disturbance regimes throughout western North America have prompted investigations of the relative importance of human activities and climate change as potential causal mechanisms. Assessing the effects of Euro-American settlement is difficult because climate changes occur on multi-decadal to centennial time scales and require longer time perspectives than historic observations can provide. Here, we report vegetation and environmental changes over the past ~13,000 years as recorded in a sediment record from Bison Lake, a subalpine lake on a high plateau in northwestern Colorado. Results are based on multiple independent proxies, which include pollen, charcoal, and elemental geochemistry, and are compared with previously reported interpretations of hydroclimatic changes from oxygen isotope ratios. The pollen data indicate a slowly changing vegetation sequence from sagebrush steppe during the late glacial to coniferous forest through the late Holocene. The most dramatic vegetation changes of the Holocene occurred during the ‘Medieval Climate Anomaly’ (MCA) and ‘Little Ice Age’ (LIA) with rapid replacement of conifer forest by grassland followed by an equally rapid return to conifer forest. Late Holocene vegetation responses are mirrored by changes in fire, lake biological productivity, and watershed erosion. These combined records indicate that subsequent disturbance related to Euro-American settlement, although perhaps significant, had acted upon a landscape that was already responding to MCA-LIA hydroclimatic change. Results document both rapid and long-term subalpine grassland ecosystem dynamics driven by agents of change that can be anticipated in the future and simulated by ecosystem models.

  6. A large source of dust missing in Particulate Matter emission inventories? Wind erosion of post-fire landscapes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    N.S. Wagenbrenner

    2017-02-01

    Full Text Available Wind erosion of soils burned by wildfire contributes substantial particulate matter (PM in the form of dust to the atmosphere, but the magnitude of this dust source is largely unknown. It is important to accurately quantify dust emissions because they can impact human health, degrade visibility, exacerbate dust-on-snow issues (including snowmelt timing, snow chemistry, and avalanche danger, and affect ecological and biogeochemical cycles, precipitation regimes, and the Earth’s radiation budget. We used a novel modeling approach in which local-scale winds were used to drive a high-resolution dust emission model parameterized for burned soils to provide a first estimate of post-fire PM emissions. The dust emission model was parameterized with dust flux measurements from a 2010 fire scar. Here we present a case study to demonstrate the ability of the modeling framework to capture the onset and dynamics of a post-fire dust event and then use the modeling framework to estimate PM emissions from burn scars left by wildfires in U.S. western sagebrush landscapes during 2012. Modeled emissions from 1.2 million ha of burned soil totaled 32.1 Tg (11.7–352 Tg of dust as PM10 and 12.8 Tg (4.68–141 Tg as PM2.5. Despite the relatively large uncertainties in these estimates and a number of underlying assumptions, these first estimates of annual post-fire dust emissions suggest that post-fire PM emissions could substantially increase current annual PM estimates in the U.S. National Emissions Inventory during high fire activity years. Given the potential for post-fire scars to be a large source of PM, further on-site PM flux measurements are needed to improve emission parameterizations and constrain these first estimates.

  7. Microhabitat Conditions in Wyoming's Sage-Grouse Core Areas: Effects on Nest Site Selection and Success.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dinkins, Jonathan B; Smith, Kurt T; Beck, Jeffrey L; Kirol, Christopher P; Pratt, Aaron C; Conover, Michael R

    2016-01-01

    The purpose of our study was to identify microhabitat characteristics of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) nest site selection and survival to determine the quality of sage-grouse habitat in 5 regions of central and southwest Wyoming associated with Wyoming's Core Area Policy. Wyoming's Core Area Policy was enacted in 2008 to reduce human disturbance near the greatest densities of sage-grouse. Our analyses aimed to assess sage-grouse nest selection and success at multiple micro-spatial scales. We obtained microhabitat data from 928 sage-grouse nest locations and 819 random microhabitat locations from 2008-2014. Nest success was estimated from 924 nests with survival data. Sage-grouse selected nests with greater sagebrush cover and height, visual obstruction, and number of small gaps between shrubs (gap size ≥0.5 m and sage-grouse were selecting different nest sites in Core Areas relative to areas outside of Core. The Kaplan-Meier nest success estimate for a 27-day incubation period was 42.0% (95% CI: 38.4-45.9%). Risk of nest failure was negatively associated with greater rock and more medium-sized gaps between shrubs (gap size ≥2.0 m and <3.0 m). Within our study areas, Wyoming's Core Areas did not have differing microhabitat quality compared to outside of Core Areas. The close proximity of our locations within and outside of Core Areas likely explained our lack of finding differences in microhabitat quality among locations within these landscapes. However, the Core Area Policy is most likely to conserve high quality habitat at larger spatial scales, which over decades may have cascading effects on microhabitat quality available between areas within and outside of Core Areas.

  8. Modeling ecological minimum requirements for distribution of greater sage-grouse leks: implications for population connectivity across their western range, U.S.A.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knick, Steven T; Hanser, Steven E; Preston, Kristine L

    2013-06-01

    Greater sage-grouse Centrocercus urophasianus (Bonaparte) currently occupy approximately half of their historical distribution across western North America. Sage-grouse are a candidate for endangered species listing due to habitat and population fragmentation coupled with inadequate regulation to control development in critical areas. Conservation planning would benefit from accurate maps delineating required habitats and movement corridors. However, developing a species distribution model that incorporates the diversity of habitats used by sage-grouse across their widespread distribution has statistical and logistical challenges. We first identified the ecological minimums limiting sage-grouse, mapped similarity to the multivariate set of minimums, and delineated connectivity across a 920,000 km(2) region. We partitioned a Mahalanobis D (2) model of habitat use into k separate additive components each representing independent combinations of species-habitat relationships to identify the ecological minimums required by sage-grouse. We constructed the model from abiotic, land cover, and anthropogenic variables measured at leks (breeding) and surrounding areas within 5 km. We evaluated model partitions using a random subset of leks and historic locations and selected D (2) (k = 10) for mapping a habitat similarity index (HSI). Finally, we delineated connectivity by converting the mapped HSI to a resistance surface. Sage-grouse required sagebrush-dominated landscapes containing minimal levels of human land use. Sage-grouse used relatively arid regions characterized by shallow slopes, even terrain, and low amounts of forest, grassland, and agriculture in the surrounding landscape. Most populations were interconnected although several outlying populations were isolated because of distance or lack of habitat corridors for exchange. Land management agencies currently are revising land-use plans and designating critical habitat to conserve sage-grouse and avoid endangered

  9. A common-garden study of resource-island effects on a native and an exotic, annual grass after fire

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoover, Amber N.; Germino, Matthew J.

    2012-01-01

    Plant-soil variation related to perennial-plant resource islands (coppices) interspersed with relatively bare interspaces is a major source of heterogeneity in desert rangelands. Our objective was to determine how native and exotic grasses vary on coppice mounds and interspaces (microsites) in unburned and burned sites and underlying factors that contribute to the variation in sagebrush-steppe rangelands of the Idaho National Lab, where interspaces typically have abiotic crusts. We asked how the exotic cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.) and native bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata [Pursh] A. Löve) were distributed among the microsites and measured their abundances in three replicate wildfires and nearby unburned areas. We conducted a common-garden study in which soil cores from each burned microsite type were planted with seed of either species to determine microsite effects on establishment and growth of native and exotic grasses. We assessed soil physical properties in the common-garden study to determine the intrinsic properties of each microsite surface and the retention of microsite soil differences following transfer of soils to the garden, to plant growth, and to wetting/drying cycles. In the field study, only bluebunch wheatgrass density was greater on coppice mounds than interspaces, in both unburned and burned areas. In the common-garden experiment, there were microsite differences in soil physical properties, particularly in crust hardness and its relationship to moisture, but soil properties were unaffected by plant growth. Also in the experiment, both species had equal densities yet greater dry mass production on coppice-mound soils compared to interspace soils, suggesting microsite differences in growth but not establishment (likely related to crust weakening resulting from watering). Coppice-interspace patterning and specifically native-herb recovery on coppices is likely important for postfire resistance of this rangeland to cheatgrass.

  10. Record of late Pleistocene glaciation and deglaciation in the southern Cascade Range. I. Petrological evidence from lacustrine sediment in Upper Klamath Lake, southern Oregon

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reynolds, R.L.; Rosenbaum, J.G.; Rapp, J.; Kerwin, M.W.; Bradbury, J.P.; Colman, S.; Adam, D.

    2004-01-01

    Petrological and textural properties of lacustrine sediments from Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon, reflect changing input volumes of glacial flour and thus reveal a detailed glacial history for the southern Cascade Range between about 37 and 15 ka. Magnetic properties vary as a result of mixing different amounts of the highly magnetic, glacially generated detritus with less magnetic, more weathered detritus derived from unglaciated parts of the large catchment. Evidence that the magnetic properties record glacial flour input is based mainly on the strong correlation between bulk sediment particle size and parameters that measure the magnetite content and magnetic mineral freshness. High magnetization corresponds to relatively fine particle size and lower magnetization to coarser particle size. This relation is not found in the Buck Lake core in a nearby, unglaciated catchment. Angular silt-sized volcanic rock fragments containing unaltered magnetite dominate the magnetic fraction in the late Pleistocene sediments but are absent in younger, low magnetization sediments. The finer grained, highly magnetic sediments contain high proportions of planktic diatoms indicative of cold, oligotrophic limnic conditions. Sediment with lower magnetite content contains populations of diatoms indicative of warmer, eutrophic limnic conditions. During the latter part of oxygen isotope stage 3 (about 37-25 ka), the magnetic properties record millennial-scale variations in glacial-flour content. The input of glacial flour was uniformly high during the Last Glacial Maximum, between about 21 and 16 ka. At about 16 ka, magnetite input, both absolute and relative to hematite, decreased abruptly, reflecting a rapid decline in glacially derived detritus. The decrease in magnetite transport into the lake preceded declines in pollen from both grass and sagebrush. A more gradual decrease in heavy mineral content over this interval records sediment starvation with the growth of marshes at the margins

  11. Vulnerability of birds to climate change in California's Sierra Nevada

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rodney B. Siegel

    2014-06-01

    (Pinicola enucleator, and Evening Grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinus. Species associated with alpine/subalpine habitats and aquatic habitats received significantly more vulnerable rankings than birds associated with other habitats. In contrast, species of foothill, sagebrush, and chaparral habitats ranked as less vulnerable than other species, and our results suggest these species may respond to climate change in the region with population increases or range expansions.

  12. Spectrophotometry of Artemisia tridentata to quantitatively determine subspecies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richardson, Bryce; Boyd, Alicia; Tobiasson, Tanner; Germino, Matthew

    2018-01-01

    Ecological restoration is predicated on our abilities to discern plant taxa. Taxonomic identification is a first step in ensuring that plants are appropriately adapted to the site. An example of the need to identify taxonomic differences comes from big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata). This species is composed of three predominant subspecies occupying distinct environmental niches, but overlap and hybridization are common in ecotones. Restoration of A. tridentata largely occurs using wildland collected seed, but there is uncertainty in the identification of subspecies or mix of subspecies from seed collections. Laboratory techniques that can determine subspecies composition would be desirable to ensure that subspecies match the restoration site environment. In this study, we use spectrophotometry to quantify chemical differences in the water-soluble compound, coumarin. Ultraviolet (UV) absorbance of A. tridentata subsp. vaseyana showed distinct differences among A.t. tridentata and wyomingensis. No UV absorbance differences were detected between A.t. tridentata and wyomingensis. Analyses of samples from > 600 plants growing in two common gardens showed that UV absorbance was unaffected by environment. Moreover, plant tissues (leaves and seed chaff) explained only a small amount of the variance. UV fluorescence of water-eluted plant tissue has been used for many years to indicate A.t. vaseyana; however, interpretation has been subjective. Use of spectrophotometry to acquire UV absorbance provides empirical results that can be used in seed testing laboratories using the seed chaff present with the seed to certify A. tridentata subspecies composition. On the basis of our methods, UV absorbance values 3.1 would indicate either A.t. tridentata or wyomingensis. UV absorbance values between 2.7 and 3.1 would indicate a mixture of A.t. vaseyana and the other two subspecies.

  13. ISSR and AFLP analysis of the temporal and spatial population structure of the post-fire annual, Nicotiana attenuata, in SW Utah

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Preston Catherine A

    2004-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The native annual tobacco, Nicotiana attenuata, is found primarily in large ephemeral populations (typically for less than 3 growing seasons after fires in sagebrush and pinyon-juniper ecosystems and in small persistent populations (for many growing seasons in isolated washes typically along roadsides throughout the Great Basin Desert of the SW USA. This distribution pattern is due to its unusual germination behavior. Ephemeral populations are produced by the germination of dormant seeds from long-lived seed banks which are stimulated to germinate by a combination of unidentified positive cues found in wood smoke and the removal of inhibitors leached from the unburned litter of the dominant vegetation. Persistent populations may result where these inhibitors do not exist, as in washes or along disturbed roadsides. To determine if this germination behavior has influenced population structure, we conducted an AFLP (244 individuals, ISSR (175 individuals and ISSR+ AFLP (175 individuals analysis on plants originating from seed collected from populations growing in 11 wash and burns over 11 years from the SW USA. Results Genetic variance as measured by both ISSR and AFLP markers was low among sites and comparatively higher within populations. Cluster analysis of the Utah samples with samples collected from Arizona, California, and Oregon as out-groups also did not reveal patterns. AMOVA analysis of the combined AFLP and ISSR data sets yielded significantly low genetic differentiation among sites (Φct, moderate among populations within sites (Φsc and higher genetic differentiation within populations (Φst. Conclusions We conclude that the seed dormancy of this post-fire annual and its resulting age structure in conjunction with natural selection processes are responsible for significantly low among sites and comparatively high within-population genetic variation observed in this species.

  14. Linking irreplaceable landforms in a self-organizing landscape to sensitivity of population vital rates for an ecological specialist.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ryberg, Wade A; Hill, Michael T; Painter, Charles W; Fitzgerald, Lee A

    2015-06-01

    Irreplaceable, self-organizing landforms and the endemic and ecologically specialized biodiversity they support are threatened globally by anthropogenic disturbances. Although the outcome of disrupting landforms is somewhat understood, little information exists that documents population consequences of landform disturbance on endemic biodiversity. Conservation strategies for species dependent upon landforms have been difficult to devise because they require understanding complex feedbacks that create and maintain landforms and the consequences of landform configuration on demography of species. We characterized and quantified links between landform configuration and demography of an ecological specialist, the dunes sagebrush lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus), which occurs only in blowouts (i.e., wind-blown sandy depressions) of Shinnery oak (Quercus havardii) sand-dune landforms. We used matrix models to estimate vital rates from a multisite mark-recapture study of 6 populations occupying landforms with different spatial configurations. Sensitivity and elasticity analyses demonstrated demographic rates among populations varied in sensitivity to different landform configurations. Specifically, significant relationships between blowout shape complexity and vital rate elasticities suggested direct links between S. arenicolus demography and amount of edge in Shinnery oak sand-dune landforms. These landforms are irreplaceable, based on permanent transition of disturbed areas to alternative grassland ecosystem states. Additionally, complex feedbacks between wind, sand, and Shinnery oak maintain this landform, indicating restoration through land management practices is unlikely. Our findings that S. arenicolus population dynamics depended on landform configuration suggest that failure to consider processes of landform organization and their effects on species' population dynamics may lead to incorrect inferences about threats to endemic species and ineffective habitat

  15. Herbivore-induced blueberry volatiles and intra-plant signaling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodriguez-Saona, Cesar R

    2011-12-18

    Herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) are commonly emitted from plants after herbivore attack. These HIPVs are mainly regulated by the defensive plant hormone jasmonic acid (JA) and its volatile derivative methyl jasmonate (MeJA). Over the past 3 decades researchers have documented that HIPVs can repel or attract herbivores, attract the natural enemies of herbivores, and in some cases they can induce or prime plant defenses prior to herbivore attack. In a recent paper, I reported that feeding by gypsy moth caterpillars, exogenous MeJA application, and mechanical damage induce the emissions of volatiles from blueberry plants, albeit differently. In addition, blueberry branches respond to HIPVs emitted from neighboring branches of the same plant by increasing the levels of JA and resistance to herbivores (i.e., direct plant defenses), and by priming volatile emissions (i.e., indirect plant defenses). Similar findings have been reported recently for sagebrush, poplar, and lima beans. Here, I describe a push-pull method for collecting blueberry volatiles induced by herbivore (gypsy moth) feeding, exogenous MeJA application, and mechanical damage. The volatile collection unit consists of a 4 L volatile collection chamber, a 2-piece guillotine, an air delivery system that purifies incoming air, and a vacuum system connected to a trap filled with Super-Q adsorbent to collect volatiles. Volatiles collected in Super-Q traps are eluted with dichloromethane and then separated and quantified using Gas Chromatography (GC). This volatile collection method was used in my study to investigate the volatile response of undamaged branches to exposure to volatiles from herbivore-damaged branches within blueberry plants. These methods are described here. Briefly, undamaged blueberry branches are exposed to HIPVs from neighboring branches within the same plant. Using the same techniques described above, volatiles emitted from branches after exposure to HIPVs are collected and

  16. Re-Occupancy of Breeding Territories by Ferruginous Hawks in Wyoming: Relationships to Environmental and Anthropogenic Factors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wallace, Zachary P; Kennedy, Patricia L; Squires, John R; Oakleaf, Robert J; Olson, Lucretia E; Dugger, Katie M

    2016-01-01

    Grassland and shrubland birds are declining globally due in part to anthropogenic habitat modification. Because population performance of these species is also influenced by non-anthropogenic factors, it is important to incorporate all relevant ecological drivers into demographic models. We used design-based sampling and occupancy models to test relationships of environmental factors that influence raptor demographics with re-occupancy of breeding territories by ferruginous hawks (Buteo regalis) across Wyoming, USA, 2011-2013. We also tested correlations of territory re-occupancy with oil and gas infrastructure-a leading cause of habitat modification throughout the range of this species of conservation concern. Probability of re-occupancy was not related to any covariates we investigated in 2011, had a strong negative relationship with cover of sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) in 2012, was slightly higher for territories with artificial platforms than other nest substrates in 2013, and had a positive relationship with abundance of ground squirrels (Urocitellus spp.) that was strong in 2012 and weak in 2013. Associations with roads were weak and varied by year, road-type, and scale: in 2012, re-occupancy probability had a weak positive correlation with density of roads not associated with oil and gas fields at the territory-scale; however, in 2013 re-occupancy had a very weak negative correlation with density of oil and gas field roads near nest sites (≤500 m). Although our results indicate re-occupancy of breeding territories by ferruginous hawks was compatible with densities of anthropogenic infrastructure in our study area, the lack of relationships between oil and gas well density and territory re-occupancy may have occurred because pre-treatment data were unavailable. We used probabilistic sampling at a broad spatial extent, methods to account for imperfect detection, and conducted extensive prey sampling; nonetheless, future research using before

  17. 1997 Monitoring report for the Gunnison, Colorado Wetlands Mitigation Plan

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1997-11-01

    Under the Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Project, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) cleaned up uranium mill tailings and other surface contamination near the town of Gunnison, Colorado. Remedial action resulted in the elimination of 4.3 acres (ac) (1.7 hectares [ha]) of wetlands. This loss is mitigated by the enhancement of six spring-fed areas on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land (mitigation sites). Approximately 254 ac (1 03.3 ha) were fenced at the six sites to exclude grazing livestock. Of the 254 ac (103.3 ha), 17.8 ac (7.2 ha) are riparian plant communities; the rest are sagebrush communities. Baseline grazed conditions of the riparian plant communities at the mitigation sites were measured prior to fencing. This report discusses results of the fourth year of a monitoring program implemented to document the response of vegetation and wildlife to the exclusion of livestock. Three criteria for determining success of the mitigation were established: plant height, vegetation density (bare ground), and vegetation diversity. By 1996, Prospector Spring, Upper Long's Gulch, and Camp Kettle met the criteria. The DOE requested transfer of these sites to BLM for long-term oversight. The 1997 evaluation of the three remaining sites, discussed in this report, showed two sites (Houston Gulch and Lower Long's Gulch) meet the criteria. The DOE will request the transfer of these two sites to the BLM for long-term oversight. The last remaining site, Sage Hen Spring, has met only two of the criteria (percent bare ground and plant height). The third criterion, vegetation diversity, was not met. The vegetation appears to be changing from predominantly wet species to drier upland species, although the reason for this change is uncertain. It may be due to below-normal precipitation in recent years, diversion of water from the spring to the stock tank, or manipulation of the hydrology farther up gradient

  18. Parental investment decisions in response to ambient nest-predation risk versus actual predation on the prior nest

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chalfoun, A.D.; Martin, T.E.

    2010-01-01

    Theory predicts that parents should invest less in dependent offspring with lower reproductive value, such as those with a high risk of predation. Moreover, high predation risk can favor reduced parental activity when such activity attracts nest predators. Yet, the ability of parents to assess ambient nest-predation risk and respond adaptively remains unclear, especially where nest-predator assemblages are diverse and potentially difficult to assess. We tested whether variation in parental investment by a multi-brooded songbird (Brewer's Sparrow, Spizella breweri) in an environment (sagebrush steppe) with diverse predators was predicted by ambient nest-predation risk or direct experience with nest predation. Variation among eight sites in ambient nest-predation risk, assayed by daily probabilities of nest predation, was largely uncorrelated across four years. In this system risk may therefore be unpredictable, and aspects of parental investment (clutch size, egg mass, incubation rhythms, nestling-feeding rates) were not related to ambient risk. Moreover, investment at first nests that were successful did not differ from that at nests that were depredated, suggesting parents could not assess and respond to territorylevel nest-predation risk. However, parents whose nests were depredated reduced clutch sizes and activity at nests attempted later in the season by increasing the length of incubation shifts (on-bouts) and recesses (off-bouts) and decreasing trips to feed nestlings. In this unpredictable environment parent birds may therefore lack sufficient cues of ambient risk on which to base their investment decisions and instead rely on direct experience with nest predation to inform at least some of their decisions. ?? 2010 The Cooper Ornithological Society.

  19. Interactive effects between nest microclimate and nest vegetation structure confirm microclimate thresholds for Lesser Prairie-Chicken nest survival

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grisham, Blake A.; Godar, Alixandra J.; Boal, Clint W.; Haukos, David A.

    2016-01-01

    The range of Lesser Prairie-Chickens (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) spans 4 unique ecoregions along 2 distinct environmental gradients. The Sand Shinnery Oak Prairie ecoregion of the Southern High Plains of New Mexico and Texas is environmentally isolated, warmer, and more arid than the Short-Grass, Sand Sagebrush, and Mixed-Grass Prairie ecoregions in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and the northeast panhandle of Texas. Weather is known to influence Lesser Prairie-Chicken nest survival in the Sand Shinnery Oak Prairie ecoregion; regional variation may also influence nest microclimate and, ultimately, survival during incubation. To address this question, we placed data loggers adjacent to nests during incubation to quantify temperature and humidity distribution functions in 3 ecoregions. We developed a suite of a priori nest survival models that incorporated derived microclimate parameters and visual obstruction as covariates in Program MARK. We monitored 49 nests in Mixed-Grass, 22 nests in Sand Shinnery Oak, and 30 nests in Short-Grass ecoregions from 2010 to 2014. Our findings indicated that (1) the Sand Shinnery Oak Prairie ecoregion was hotter and drier during incubation than the Mixed- and Short-Grass ecoregions; (2) nest microclimate varied among years within ecoregions; (3) visual obstruction was positively associated with nest survival; but (4) daily nest survival probability decreased by 10% every half-hour when temperature was greater than 34°C and vapor pressure deficit was less than −23 mmHg during the day (about 0600–2100 hours). Our major finding confirmed microclimate thresholds for nest survival under natural conditions across the species' distribution, although Lesser Prairie-Chickens are more likely to experience microclimate conditions that result in nest failures in the Sand Shinnery Oak Prairie ecoregion. The species would benefit from identification of thermal landscapes and management actions that promote cooler, more humid nest microclimates.

  20. A meta-analysis of lesser prairie-chicken nesting and brood-rearing habitats: implications for habitat management

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hagen, Christian A.; Grisham, Blake A.; Boal, Clint W.; Haukos, David A.

    2013-01-01

    The distribution and range of lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) has been reduced by >90% since European settlement of the Great Plains of North America. Currently, lesser prairie-chickens occupy 3 general vegetation communities: sand sagebrush (Artemisia filifolia), sand shinnery oak (Quercus havardii), and mixed-grass prairies juxtaposed with Conservation Reserve Program grasslands. As a candidate for protection under the Endangered Species Act, there is a need for a synthesis that characterizes habitat structure rangewide. Thus, we conducted a meta-analysis of vegetation characteristics at nest sites and brood habitats to determine whether there was an overall effect (Hedges' d) of habitat selection and to estimate average (95% CI) habitat characteristics at use sites. We estimated effect sizes (di) from the difference between use (nests and brood sites) and random sampling sites for each study (n = 14), and derived an overall effect size (d++). There was a general effect for habitat selection as evidenced by low levels of variation in effect sizes across studies and regions. There was a small to medium effect (d++) = 0.20-0.82) of selection for greater vertical structure (visual obstruction) by nesting females in both vegetation communities, and selection against bare ground (d++ = 0.20-0.58). Females with broods exhibited less selectivity for habitat components except for vertical structure. The variation of d++ was greater during nesting than brooding periods, signifying a seasonal shift in habitat use, and perhaps a greater range of tolerance for brood-rearing habitat. The overall estimates of vegetation cover were consistent with those provided in management guidelines for the species.

  1. Available nitrogen: A time-based study of manipulated resource islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stubbs, Michelle M.; Pyke, David A.

    2005-01-01

    Spatial and temporal heterogeneity of available nitrogen are critical determinants of the distribution and abundance of plants and animals in ecosystems. Evidence for the resource island theory suggests that soils below tree and shrub canopies contain higher amounts of resources, including available nitrogen, than are present in interspace areas. Disturbances, such as prescribed fire and tree removal, are common management practices in shrub-woodland ecosystems, but it is not known if these practices affect resource islands. We examined temporal variation in resource islands of available nitrogen and their retention after fire and woody plant removal. From August 1997 to October 1998, soil nitrate (NO3−) and ammonium (NH4+) were measured monthly from canopy and interspace plots within four juniper-sagebrush sites along a precipitation gradient in central Oregon, USA. At each site, soil samples were collected from untreated plots, plots in which woody plants were removed, and those treated with prescribed fire in fall 1997. In burned treatments, canopy concentrations were significantly higher than interspace concentrations throughout the measurement period. Canopy NO3− and NH4+ concentrations were significantly higher on burned vs. unburned treatments for four months after fire. After woody plant removal, NO3− and NH4+ concentrations did not differ from the controls. Untreated control areas had higher NO3− and NH4+ concentrations under juniper canopies for nearly all months. Wetter sites had smaller differences between canopy and interspace concentrations through time than did the two drier sites. In relation to NO3− and NH4+ in this ecosystem, resource islands appear to be more ephemeral in wetter sites, and more pronounced following fire disturbances than in controls or those treated by woody plant removal.

  2. Will phenotypic plasticity affecting flowering phenology keep pace with climate change?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richardson, Bryce A; Chaney, Lindsay; Shaw, Nancy L; Still, Shannon M

    2017-06-01

    Rising temperatures have begun to shift flowering time, but it is unclear whether phenotypic plasticity can accommodate projected temperature change for this century. Evaluating clines in phenological traits and the extent and variation in plasticity can provide key information on assessing risk of maladaptation and developing strategies to mitigate climate change. In this study, flower phenology was examined in 52 populations of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) growing in three common gardens. Flowering date (anthesis) varied 91 days from late July to late November among gardens. Mixed-effects modeling explained 79% of variation in flowering date, of which 46% could be assigned to plasticity and genetic variation in plasticity and 33% to genetics (conditional R 2  = 0.79, marginal R 2  = 0.33). Two environmental variables that explained the genetic variation were photoperiod and the onset of spring, the Julian date of accumulating degree-days >5 °C reaching 100. The genetic variation was mapped for contemporary and future climates (decades 2060 and 2090), showing flower date change varies considerably across the landscape. Plasticity was estimated to accommodate, on average, a ±13-day change in flowering date. However, the examination of genetic variation in plasticity suggests that the magnitude of plasticity could be affected by variation in the sensitivity to photoperiod and temperature. In a warmer common garden, lower-latitude populations have greater plasticity (+16 days) compared to higher-latitude populations (+10 days). Mapped climatypes of flowering date for contemporary and future climates illustrate the wide breadth of plasticity and large geographic overlap. Our research highlights the importance of integrating information on genetic variation, phenotypic plasticity and climatic niche modeling to evaluate plant responses and elucidate vulnerabilities to climate change. Published 2016. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the

  3. MicroEcos: Micro-Scale Explorations of Large-Scale Late Pleistocene Ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gellis, B. S.

    2017-12-01

    Pollen data can inform the reconstruction of early-floral environments by providing data for artistic representations of what early-terrestrial ecosystems looked like, and how existing terrestrial landscapes have evolved. For example, what did the Bighorn Basin look like when large ice sheets covered modern Canada, the Yellowstone Plateau had an ice cap, and the Bighorn Mountains were mantled with alpine glaciers? MicroEcos is an immersive, multimedia project that aims to strengthen human-nature connections through the understanding and appreciation of biological ecosystems. Collected pollen data elucidates flora that are visible in the fossil record - associated with the Late-Pleistocene - and have been illustrated and described in botanical literature. It aims to make scientific data accessible and interesting to all audiences through a series of interactive-digital sculptures, large-scale photography and field-based videography. While this project is driven by scientific data, it is rooted in deeply artistic and outreach-based practices, which include broad artistic practices, e.g.: digital design, illustration, photography, video and sound design. Using 3D modeling and printing technology MicroEcos centers around a series of 3D-printed models of the Last Canyon rock shelter on the Wyoming and Montana border, Little Windy Hill pond site in Wyoming's Medicine Bow National Forest, and Natural Trap Cave site in Wyoming's Big Horn Basin. These digital, interactive-3D sculpture provide audiences with glimpses of three-dimensional Late-Pleistocene environments, and helps create dialogue of how grass, sagebrush, and spruce based ecosystems form. To help audiences better contextualize how MicroEcos bridges notions of time, space, and place, modern photography and videography of the Last Canyon, Little Windy Hill and Natural Trap Cave sites surround these 3D-digital reconstructions.

  4. Does Wyoming's Core Area Policy Protect Winter Habitats for Greater Sage-Grouse?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Kurt T.; Beck, Jeffrey L.; Pratt, Aaron C.

    2016-10-01

    Conservation reserves established to protect important habitat for wildlife species are used world-wide as a wildlife conservation measure. Effective reserves must adequately protect year-round habitats to maintain wildlife populations. Wyoming's Sage-Grouse Core Area policy was established to protect breeding habitats for greater sage-grouse ( Centrocercus urophasianus). Protecting only one important seasonal habitat could result in loss or degradation of other important habitats and potential declines in local populations. The purpose of our study was to identify the timing of winter habitat use, the extent which individuals breeding in Core Areas used winter habitats, and develop resource selection functions to assess effectiveness of Core Areas in conserving sage-grouse winter habitats in portions of 5 Core Areas in central and north-central Wyoming during winters 2011-2015. We found that use of winter habitats occured over a longer period than current Core Area winter timing stipulations and a substantial amount of winter habitat outside of Core Areas was used by individuals that bred in Core Areas, particularly in smaller Core Areas. Resource selection functions for each study area indicated that sage-grouse were selecting habitats in response to landscapes dominated by big sagebrush and flatter topography similar to other research on sage-grouse winter habitat selection. The substantial portion of sage-grouse locations and predicted probability of selection during winter outside small Core Areas illustrate that winter requirements for sage-grouse are not adequately met by existing Core Areas. Consequently, further considerations for identifying and managing important winter sage-grouse habitats under Wyoming's Core Area Policy are warranted.

  5. New evidence for a multi-functional role of herbivore-induced plant volatiles in defense against herbivores.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodriguez-Saona, Cesar R; Frost, Christopher J

    2010-01-01

    A diverse, often species-specific, array of herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) are commonly emitted from plants after herbivore attack. Although research in the last 3 decades indicates a multi-functional role of these HIPVs, the evolutionary rationale underpinning HIPV emissions remains an open question. Many studies have documented that HIPVs can attract natural enemies, and some studies indicate that neighboring plants may eavesdrop their undamaged neighbors and induce or prime their own defenses prior to herbivore attack. Both of these ecological roles for HIPVs are risky strategies for the emitting plant. In a recent paper, we reported that most branches within a blueberry bush share limited vascular connectivity, which restricts the systemic movement of internal signals. Blueberry branches circumvent this limitation by responding to HIPVs emitted from neighboring branches of the same plant: exposure to HIPVs increases levels of defensive signaling hormones, changes their defensive status, and makes undamaged branches more resistant to herbivores. Similar findings have been reported recently for sagebrush, poplar and lima beans, where intra-plant communication played a role in activating or priming defenses against herbivores. Thus, there is increasing evidence that intra-plant communication occurs in a wide range of taxonomically unrelated plant species. While the degree to which this phenomenon increases a plant's fitness remains to be determined in most cases, we here argue that within-plant signaling provides more adaptive benefit for HIPV emissions than does between-plant signaling or attraction of predators. That is, the emission of HIPVs might have evolved primarily to protect undamaged parts of the plant against potential enemies, and neighboring plants and predators of herbivores later co-opted such HIPV signals for their own benefit.

  6. Landscape characteristics influencing the genetic structure of greater sage-grouse within the stronghold of their range: a holistic modeling approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Row, Jeff R; Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; Fike, Jennifer; O'Donnell, Michael; Doherty, Kevin E.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Bowen, Zachary H.; Fedy, Brad C.

    2015-01-01

    Given the significance of animal dispersal to population dynamics and geographic variability, understanding how dispersal is impacted by landscape patterns has major ecological and conservation importance. Speaking to the importance of dispersal, the use of linear mixed models to compare genetic differentiation with pairwise resistance derived from landscape resistance surfaces has presented new opportunities to disentangle the menagerie of factors behind effective dispersal across a given landscape. Here, we combine these approaches with novel resistance surface parameterization to determine how the distribution of high- and low-quality seasonal habitat and individual landscape components shape patterns of gene flow for the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) across Wyoming. We found that pairwise resistance derived from the distribution of low-quality nesting and winter, but not summer, seasonal habitat had the strongest correlation with genetic differentiation. Although the patterns were not as strong as with habitat distribution, multivariate models with sagebrush cover and landscape ruggedness or forest cover and ruggedness similarly had a much stronger fit with genetic differentiation than an undifferentiated landscape. In most cases, landscape resistance surfaces transformed with 17.33-km-diameter moving windows were preferred, suggesting small-scale differences in habitat were unimportant at this large spatial extent. Despite the emergence of these overall patterns, there were differences in the selection of top models depending on the model selection criteria, suggesting research into the most appropriate criteria for landscape genetics is required. Overall, our results highlight the importance of differences in seasonal habitat preferences to patterns of gene flow and suggest the combination of habitat suitability modeling and linear mixed models with our resistance parameterization is a powerful approach to discerning the effects of landscape

  7. Daily nest survival rates of Gunnison Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus minimus): assessing local- and landscape-scale drivers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stanley, Thomas R.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Joanne Saher,; Theresa Childers,

    2015-01-01

    The Gunnison Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus minimus) is a species of conservation concern and is a candidate for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act because of substantial declines in populations from historic levels. It is thought that loss, fragmentation, and deterioration of sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) habitat have contributed to the decline and isolation of this species into seven geographically distinct subpopulations. Nest survival is known to be a primary driver of demography of Greater Sage-Grouse (C. urophasianus), but no unbiased estimates of daily nest survival rates (hereafter nest survival) exist for Gunnison Sage-Grouse or published studies identifying factors that influence nest survival. We estimated nest survival of Gunnison Sage-Grouse for the western portion of Colorado's Gunnison Basin subpopulation, and assessed the effects and relative importance of local- and landscape-scale habitat characteristics on nest survival. Our top performing model was one that allowed variation in nest survival among areas, suggesting a larger landscape-area effect. Overall nest success during a 38-day nesting period (egg-laying plus incubation) was 50% (daily survival rate; SE  =  0.982 [0.003]), which is higher than previous estimates for Gunnison Sage-Grouse and generally higher than published for the closely related Greater Sage-Grouse. We did not find strong evidence that local-scale habitat variables were better predictors of nest survival than landscape-scale predictors, nor did we find strong evidence that any of the habitat variables we measured were good predictors of nest survival. Nest success of Gunnison Sage-Grouse in the western portion of the Gunnison Basin was higher than previously believed.

  8. Geologic processes in the RWMC area, Idaho National Engineering Laboratory: Implications for long term stability and soil erosion at the radioactive waste management complex

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hackett, W.R.; Tullis, J.A.; Smith, R.P.

    1995-09-01

    The Radioactive Waste Management Complex (RWMC) is the disposal and storage facility for low-level radioactive waste at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL). Transuranic waste and mixed wastes were also disposed at the RWMC until 1970. It is located in the southwestern part of the INEL about 80 km west of Idaho Falls, Idaho. The INEL occupies a portion of the Eastern Snake River Plain (ESRP), a low-relief, basalt, and sediment-floored basin within the northern Rocky Mountains and northeastern Basin and Range Province. It is a cool and semiarid, sagebrush steppe desert characterized by irregular, rolling terrain. The RWMC began disposal of INEL-generated wastes in 1952, and since 1954, wastes have been accepted from other Federal facilities. Much of the waste is buried in shallow trenches, pits, and soil vaults. Until about 1970, trenches and pits were excavated to the basalt surface, leaving no sediments between the waste and the top of the basalt. Since 1970, a layer of sediment (about 1 m) has been left between the waste and the basalt. The United States Department of Energy (DOE) has developed regulations specific to radioactive-waste disposal, including environmental standards and performance objectives. The regulation applicable to all DOE facilities is DOE Order 5820.2A (Radioactive Waste Management). An important consideration for the performance assessment of the RWMC is the long-term geomorphic stability of the site. Several investigators have identified geologic processes and events that could disrupt a radioactive waste disposal facility. Examples of these open-quotes geomorphic hazardsclose quotes include changes in stream discharge, sediment load, and base level, which may result from climate change, tectonic processes, or magmatic processes. In the performance assessment, these hazards are incorporated into scenarios that may affect the future performance of the RWMC

  9. Progress Towards Identifying and Quantifying the Organic Ice Nucleating Particles in Soils and Aerosols

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hill, T. C. J.; DeMott, P. J.; Fröhlich-Nowoisky, J.; Tobo, Y.; Suski, K. J.; Levin, E. J.; Kreidenweis, S. M.; Franc, G. D.

    2014-12-01

    Soil and plant surfaces emit ice nucleating particles (INP) to the atmosphere, especially when disturbed by wind, harvesting, rain or fire. Organic (biogenic) INP are abundant in most soils and dominate the population that nucleate >-15°C. For example, the sandy topsoil of sagebrush shrubland, a widespread ecotype prone to wind erosion after fire, contains ~106 organic INP g-1 at -6°C. The relevance of organic INP may also extend to colder temperatures than previously thought: Particles of soil organic matter (SOM) have been shown to be more important than mineral particles for the ice nucleating ability of agricultural soil dusts to -34°C. While the abundance of ice nucleation active (INA) bacteria on plants has been established, the identity of the organic INP in and emitted by soils remains a 40-year-old mystery. The need to understand their production and release is highlighted by recent findings that INA bacteria (measured with qPCR) account for few, if any, of the warm-temperature organic INP that predominate in boundary layer aerosols and snow; organic INP lofted with soil dusts seem a likely source. The complexity of SOM hinders its investigation. It contains decomposing plant materials, a diverse microbial and microfaunal community, humus, and inert organic matter. All are biochemically complex and all may contain ice nucleating constituents, either by design or by chance. Indeed the smoothness of the INP temperature spectra of soils is indicative of numerous, overlapping distributions of INP. We report recent progress in identifying and quantifying the organic INP in soils and boundary layer aerosols representative of West Central U.S. ecosystems, and how their characteristics may affect their dispersal. Chemical, enzymatic and DNA-based tests were used to assess contributions of INP from plant tissues, INA bacteria, INA fungi, organic crystals, monolayers of aliphatic alcohols, carbohydrates, and humic substances, while heat- and peroxide-based tests

  10. Corticosterone metabolite concentrations in greater sage-grouse are positively associated with the presence of cattle grazing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jankowski, M.D.; Russell, Robin E.; Franson, J. Christian; Dusek, Robert J.; Hines, M.K.; Gregg, M.; Hofmeister, Erik K.

    2014-01-01

    The sagebrush biome in the western United States is home to the imperiled greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and encompasses rangelands used for cattle production. Cattle grazing activities have been implicated in the range-wide decline of the sage-grouse, but no studies have investigated the relationship between the physiological condition of sage-grouse and the presence of grazing cattle. We sampled 329 sage-grouse across four sites (two grazed and two ungrazed) encompassing 13 600 km2 during the spring and late summer–early autumn of 2005 to evaluate whether demographic factors, breeding status, plasma protein levels, and residence in a cattle-grazed habitat were associated with the stress hormone corticosterone. Corticosterone was measured in feces as immunoreactive corticosterone metabolites (ICM). Males captured during the lekking season exhibited higher ICM levels than all others. Prenesting female sage-grouse captured in a grazed site had higher ICM levels than those in ungrazed sites and prenesting female plasma protein levels were negatively correlated with ICM concentrations. With the use of a small-scale spatial model, we identified a positive correlation between cattle pat count and sage-grouse ICM levels. Our model indicated that ICM levels increased by 2.60 ng · g-1 dry feces for every increase in the number of cow pats found in the vicinity. Management practices will benefit from future research regarding the consistency and mechanism(s) responsible for this association and, importantly, how ICM levels and demographic rates are related in this species of conservation concern.

  11. Modeling ecological minimum requirements for distribution of greater sage-grouse leks: implications for population connectivity across their western range, U.S.A.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knick, Steven T.; Hanser, Steven E.; Preston, Kristine L.

    2013-01-01

    Greater sage-grouse Centrocercus urophasianus (Bonaparte) currently occupy approximately half of their historical distribution across western North America. Sage-grouse are a candidate for endangered species listing due to habitat and population fragmentation coupled with inadequate regulation to control development in critical areas. Conservation planning would benefit from accurate maps delineating required habitats and movement corridors. However, developing a species distribution model that incorporates the diversity of habitats used by sage-grouse across their widespread distribution has statistical and logistical challenges. We first identified the ecological minimums limiting sage-grouse, mapped similarity to the multivariate set of minimums, and delineated connectivity across a 920,000 km2 region. We partitioned a Mahalanobis D2 model of habitat use into k separate additive components each representing independent combinations of species–habitat relationships to identify the ecological minimums required by sage-grouse. We constructed the model from abiotic, land cover, and anthropogenic variables measured at leks (breeding) and surrounding areas within 5 km. We evaluated model partitions using a random subset of leks and historic locations and selected D2 (k = 10) for mapping a habitat similarity index (HSI). Finally, we delineated connectivity by converting the mapped HSI to a resistance surface. Sage-grouse required sagebrush-dominated landscapes containing minimal levels of human land use. Sage-grouse used relatively arid regions characterized by shallow slopes, even terrain, and low amounts of forest, grassland, and agriculture in the surrounding landscape. Most populations were interconnected although several outlying populations were isolated because of distance or lack of habitat corridors for exchange. Land management agencies currently are revising land-use plans and designating critical habitat to conserve sage-grouse and avoid endangered

  12. Systematic Mapping and Statistical Analyses of Valley Landform and Vegetation Asymmetries Across Hydroclimatic Gradients

    Science.gov (United States)

    Poulos, M. J.; Pierce, J. L.; McNamara, J. P.; Flores, A. N.; Benner, S. G.

    2015-12-01

    Terrain aspect alters the spatial distribution of insolation across topography, driving eco-pedo-hydro-geomorphic feedbacks that can alter landform evolution and result in valley asymmetries for a suite of land surface characteristics (e.g. slope length and steepness, vegetation, soil properties, and drainage development). Asymmetric valleys serve as natural laboratories for studying how landscapes respond to climate perturbation. In the semi-arid montane granodioritic terrain of the Idaho batholith, Northern Rocky Mountains, USA, prior works indicate that reduced insolation on northern (pole-facing) aspects prolongs snow pack persistence, and is associated with thicker, finer-grained soils, that retain more water, prolong the growing season, support coniferous forest rather than sagebrush steppe ecosystems, stabilize slopes at steeper angles, and produce sparser drainage networks. We hypothesize that the primary drivers of valley asymmetry development are changes in the pedon-scale water-balance that coalesce to alter catchment-scale runoff and drainage development, and ultimately cause the divide between north and south-facing land surfaces to migrate northward. We explore this conceptual framework by coupling land surface analyses with statistical modeling to assess relationships and the relative importance of land surface characteristics. Throughout the Idaho batholith, we systematically mapped and tabulated various statistical measures of landforms, land cover, and hydroclimate within discrete valley segments (n=~10,000). We developed a random forest based statistical model to predict valley slope asymmetry based upon numerous measures (n>300) of landscape asymmetries. Preliminary results suggest that drainages are tightly coupled with hillslopes throughout the region, with drainage-network slope being one of the strongest predictors of land-surface-averaged slope asymmetry. When slope-related statistics are excluded, due to possible autocorrelation, valley

  13. Avian wildlife as sentinels of ecosystem health.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smits, Judit E G; Fernie, Kimberly J

    2013-05-01

    Birds have been widely used as sentinels of ecosystem health reflecting changes in habitat quality, increased incidence of disease, and exposure to and effects of chemical contaminants. Numerous studies addressing these issues focus on the breeding period, since hormonal, behavioural, reproductive, and developmental aspects of the health can be observed over a relatively short time-span. Many body systems within individuals are tightly integrated and interdependent, and can be affected by contaminant chemicals, disease, and habitat changes in complex ways. Animals higher in the food web will reflect cumulative effects of multiple stressors. Such features make birds ideal indicators for assessing environmental health in areas of environmental concern. Five case studies are presented, highlighting the use of different species which have provided insight into ecosystem sustainability, including (i) the consequences of anthropogenic disturbances of sagebrush habitat on the greater northern sage grouse Centrocercus urophasianus; (ii) the high prevalence of disease in very specific passerine species in the Canary Islands closely paralleling deterioration of formerly productive desert habitat and ensuing interspecific stressors; (iii) fractures, abnormal bone structure, and associated biochemical aberrations in nestling storks exposed to acidic tailings mud from a dyke rupture at an iron pyrite mine near Sevilla, Spain; (iv) newly presented data demonstrating biochemical changes in nestling peregrine falcons Falco peregrinus and associations with exposure to major chemical classes in the Great Lakes Basin of Canada; and (v) the variability in responses of tree swallows Tachycineta bicolor to contaminants, biological and meteorological challenges when breeding in the Athabasca oil sands. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Filling the interspace—restoring arid land mosses: source populations, organic matter, and overwintering govern success

    Science.gov (United States)

    Condon, Lea; Pyke, David A.

    2016-01-01

    Biological soil crusts contribute to ecosystem functions and occupy space that could be available to invasive annual grasses. Given disturbances in the semiarid shrub steppe communities, we embarked on a set of studies to investigate restoration potential of mosses in sagebrush steppe ecosystems. We examined establishment and growth of two moss species common to the Great Basin, USA: Bryum argenteum and Syntrichia ruralis from two environmental settings (warm dry vs. cool moist). Moss fragments were inoculated into a third warm dry setting, on bare soil in spring and fall, both with and without a jute net and with and without spring irrigation. Moss cover was monitored in spring seasons of three consecutive years. Both moss species increased in cover over the winter. When Bryum received spring irrigation that was out of sync with natural precipitation patterns, moss cover increased and then crashed, taking two seasons to recover. Syntrichia did not respond to the irrigation treatment. The addition of jute net increased moss cover under all conditions, except Syntrichia following fall inoculation, which required a second winter to increase in cover. The warm dry population of Bryum combined with jute achieved on average 60% cover compared to the cool moist population that achieved only 28% cover by the end of the study. Differences were less pronounced for Syntrichia where moss from the warm dry population with jute achieved on average 51% cover compared to the cool moist population that achieved 43% cover by the end of the study. Restoration of arid land mosses may quickly protect soils from erosion while occupying sites before invasive plants. We show that higher moss cover will be achieved quickly with the addition of organic matter and when moss fragments originate from sites with a climate that is similar to that of the restoration site.

  15. Nitrogen limitation, 15N tracer retention, and growth response in intact and Bromus tectorum-invaded Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Witwicki, Dana L.; Doescher, Paul S.; Pyke, David A.; DeCrappeo, Nicole M.; Perakis, Steven S.

    2012-01-01

    Annual grass invasion into shrub-dominated ecosystems is associated with changes in nutrient cycling that may alter nitrogen (N) limitation and retention. Carbon (C) applications that reduce plant-available N have been suggested to give native perennial vegetation a competitive advantage over exotic annual grasses, but plant community and N retention responses to C addition remain poorly understood in these ecosystems. The main objectives of this study were to (1) evaluate the degree of N limitation of plant biomass in intact versus B. tectorum-invaded sagebrush communities, (2) determine if plant N limitation patterns are reflected in the strength of tracer 15N retention over two growing seasons, and (3) assess if the strength of plant N limitation predicts the efficacy of carbon additions intended to reduce soil N availability and plant growth. Labile C additions reduced biomass of exotic annual species; however, growth of native A. tridentata shrubs also declined. Exotic annual and native perennial plant communities had divergent responses to added N, with B. tectorum displaying greater ability to use added N to rapidly increase aboveground biomass, and native perennials increasing their tissue N concentration but showing little growth response. Few differences in N pools between the annual and native communities were detected. In contrast to expectations, however, more 15N was retained over two growing seasons in the invaded annual grass than in the native shrub community. Our data suggest that N cycling in converted exotic annual grasslands of the northern Intermountain West, USA, may retain N more strongly than previously thought.

  16. Estimating pinyon and juniper cover across Utah using NAIP imagery

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Darrell B. Roundy

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available Expansion of Pinus L. (pinyon and Juniperus L. (juniper (P-J trees into sagebrush (Artemisia L. steppe communities can lead to negative effects on hydrology, loss of wildlife habitat, and a decrease in desirable understory vegetation. Tree reduction treatments are often implemented to mitigate these negative effects. In order to prioritize and effectively plan these treatments, rapid, accurate, and inexpensive methods are needed to estimate tree canopy cover at the landscape scale. We used object based image analysis (OBIA software (Feature AnalystTM for ArcMap 10.1®, ENVI Feature Extraction®, and Trimble eCognition Developer 8.2® to extract tree canopy cover using NAIP (National Agricultural Imagery Program imagery. We then compared our extractions with ground measured tree canopy cover (crown diameter and line point intercept on 309 plots across 44 sites in Utah. Extraction methods did not consistently over- or under-estimate ground measured P-J canopy cover except where tree cover was >45%. Estimates of tree canopy cover using OBIA techniques were strongly correlated with estimates using the crown diameter method (r = 0.93 for ENVI, 0.91 for Feature AnalystTM, and 0.92 for eCognition. Tree cover estimates using OBIA techniques had lower correlations with tree cover measurements using the line-point intercept method (r = 0.85 for ENVI, 0.83 for Feature AnalystTM, and 0.83 for eCognition. All software packages accurately and inexpensively extracted P-J canopy cover from NAIP imagery when the imagery was not blurred, and when P-J cover was not mixed with Amelanchier alnifolia (Utah serviceberry and Quercus gambelii (Gambel’s oak, which had similar spectral values as P-J.

  17. Long-term trends in restoration and associated land treatments in the southwestern United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Copeland, Stella M.; Munson, Seth M.; Pilliod, David S.; Welty, Justin L.; Bradford, John B.; Butterfield, Bradley J.

    2018-01-01

    Restoration treatments, such as revegetation with seeding or invasive species removal, have been applied on U.S. public lands for decades. Temporal trends in these management actions have not been extensively summarized previously, particularly in the southwestern United States where invasive plant species, drought, and fire have altered dryland ecosystems. We assessed long-term (1940–2010) trends in restoration using approximately 4,000 vegetation treatments conducted on Bureau of Land Management lands across the southwestern United States. We found that since 1940, the proportions of seeding and vegetation/soil manipulation (e.g. vegetation removal or plowing) treatments have declined, while the proportions of prescribed burn and invasive species treatments have increased. Treatments in pinyon-juniper and big sagebrush communities declined in comparison to treatments in desert scrub, creosote bush, and riparian woodland communities. Restoration-focused treatment objectives increased relative to resource extraction objectives. Species richness and proportion of native species used in seeding treatments also increased. Inflation-adjusted costs per area rose 750% for vegetation/soil manipulation, 600% for seeding, and 400% for prescribed burn treatments in the decades from 1981 to 2010. Seeding treatments were implemented in warmer and drier years when compared to the climate conditions of the entire study period and warmer and wetter years relative to several years before and after the treatment. These results suggest that treatments over a 70-year period on public lands in the southwestern United States are shifting toward restoration practices that are increasingly large, expensive, and related to fire and invasive species control.

  18. Influence of Mowing Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis on Winter Habitat for Wildlife

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davies, Kirk W.; Bates, Jonathan D.; Johnson, Dustin D.; Nafus, Aleta M.

    2009-07-01

    Mowing is commonly implemented to Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis (Beetle & A. Young) S.L. Welsh (Wyoming big sagebrush) plant communities to improve wildlife habitat, increase forage production for livestock, and create fuel breaks for fire suppression. However, information detailing the influence of mowing on winter habitat for wildlife is lacking. This information is crucial because many wildlife species depended on A. tridentata spp. wyomingensis plant communities for winter habitat and consume significant quantities of Artemisia during this time . Furthermore, information is generally limited describing the recovery of A. tridentata spp. wyomingensis to mowing and the impacts of mowing on stand structure. Stand characteristics and Artemisia leaf tissue crude protein (CP), acid detergent fiber (ADF), and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) concentrations were measured in midwinter on 0-, 2-, 4-, and 6-year-old fall-applied mechanical (mowed at 20 cm height) treatments and compared to adjacent untreated (control) areas. Mowing compared to the control decreased Artemisia cover, density, canopy volume, canopy elliptical area, and height ( P < 0.05), but all characteristics were recovering ( P < 0.05). Mowing A. tridentata spp. wyomingensis plant communities slightly increases the nutritional quality of Artemisia leaves ( P < 0.05), but it simultaneously results in up to 20 years of decrease in Artemisia structural characteristics. Because of the large reduction in A. tridentata spp. wyomingensis for potentially 20 years following mowing, mowing should not be applied in Artemisia facultative and obligate wildlife winter habitat. Considering the decline in A. tridentata spp. wyomingensis-dominated landscapes, we caution against mowing these communities.

  19. Estimating the spatial and temporal distribution of species richness within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steve Wathen

    Full Text Available Evidence for significant losses of species richness or biodiversity, even within protected natural areas, is mounting. Managers are increasingly being asked to monitor biodiversity, yet estimating biodiversity is often prohibitively expensive. As a cost-effective option, we estimated the spatial and temporal distribution of species richness for four taxonomic groups (birds, mammals, herpetofauna (reptiles and amphibians, and plants within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks using only existing biological studies undertaken within the Parks and the Parks' long-term wildlife observation database. We used a rarefaction approach to model species richness for the four taxonomic groups and analyzed those groups by habitat type, elevation zone, and time period. We then mapped the spatial distributions of species richness values for the four taxonomic groups, as well as total species richness, for the Parks. We also estimated changes in species richness for birds, mammals, and herpetofauna since 1980. The modeled patterns of species richness either peaked at mid elevations (mammals, plants, and total species richness or declined consistently with increasing elevation (herpetofauna and birds. Plants reached maximum species richness values at much higher elevations than did vertebrate taxa, and non-flying mammals reached maximum species richness values at higher elevations than did birds. Alpine plant communities, including sagebrush, had higher species richness values than did subalpine plant communities located below them in elevation. These results are supported by other papers published in the scientific literature. Perhaps reflecting climate change: birds and herpetofauna displayed declines in species richness since 1980 at low and middle elevations and mammals displayed declines in species richness since 1980 at all elevations.

  20. Spatially explicit modeling of annual and seasonal habitat for greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in Nevada and Northeastern California—An updated decision-support tool for management

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coates, Peter S.; Casazza, Michael L.; Brussee, Brianne E.; Ricca, Mark A.; Gustafson, K. Benjamin; Sanchez-Chopitea, Erika; Mauch, Kimberly; Niell, Lara; Gardner, Scott; Espinosa, Shawn; Delehanty, David J.

    2016-05-20

    Successful adaptive management hinges largely upon integrating new and improved sources of information as they become available. As a timely example of this tenet, we updated a management decision support tool that was previously developed for greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus, hereinafter referred to as “sage-grouse”) populations in Nevada and California. Specifically, recently developed spatially explicit habitat maps derived from empirical data played a key role in the conservation of this species facing listing under the Endangered Species Act. This report provides an updated process for mapping relative habitat suitability and management categories for sage-grouse in Nevada and northeastern California (Coates and others, 2014, 2016). These updates include: (1) adding radio and GPS telemetry locations from sage-grouse monitored at multiple sites during 2014 to the original location dataset beginning in 1998; (2) integrating output from high resolution maps (1–2 m2) of sagebrush and pinyon-juniper cover as covariates in resource selection models; (3) modifying the spatial extent of the analyses to match newly available vegetation layers; (4) explicit modeling of relative habitat suitability during three seasons (spring, summer, winter) that corresponded to critical life history periods for sage-grouse (breeding, brood-rearing, over-wintering); (5) accounting for differences in habitat availability between more mesic sagebrush steppe communities in the northern part of the study area and drier Great Basin sagebrush in more southerly regions by categorizing continuous region-wide surfaces of habitat suitability index (HSI) with independent locations falling within two hydrological zones; (6) integrating the three seasonal maps into a composite map of annual relative habitat suitability; (7) deriving updated land management categories based on previously determined cut-points for intersections of habitat suitability and an updated index of sage

  1. Encounters with Pinyon-Juniper influence riskier movements in Greater Sage-Grouse across the Great Basin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prochazka, Brian; Coates, Peter S.; Ricca, Mark; Casazza, Michael L.; Gustafson, K. Ben; Hull, Josh M.

    2016-01-01

    Fine-scale spatiotemporal studies can better identify relationships between individual survival and habitat fragmentation so that mechanistic interpretations can be made at the population level. Recent advances in Global Positioning System (GPS) technology and statistical models capable of deconstructing high-frequency location data have facilitated interpretation of animal movement within a behaviorally mechanistic framework. Habitat fragmentation due to singleleaf pinyon (Pinus monophylla; hereafter pinyon) and Utah juniper (Juniperus osteosperma; hereafter juniper) encroachment into sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) communities is a commonly implicated perturbation that can adversely influence greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereafter sage-grouse) demographic rates. Using an extensive GPS data set (233 birds and 282,954 locations) across 12 study sites within the Great Basin, we conducted a behavioral change point analysis and subsequently constructed Brownian bridge movement models from each behaviorally homogenous section. We found a positive relationship between modeled movement rate and probability of encountering pinyon-juniper with significant variation among age classes. The probability of encountering pinyon-juniper among adults was two and three times greater than that of yearlings and juveniles, respectively. However, the movement rate in response to the probability of encountering pinyon-juniper trees was 1.5 times greater for juveniles. We then assessed the risk of mortality associated with an interaction between movement rate and the probability of encountering pinyon-juniper using shared frailty models. During pinyon-juniper encounters, on average, juvenile, yearling, and adult birds experienced a 10.4%, 0.2%, and 0.3% reduction in annual survival probabilities. Populations that used pinyon-juniper habitats with a frequency ≥ 3.8 times the overall mean experienced decreases in annual survival probabilities of 71.1%, 0.9%, and 0.9%. This

  2. Ecosystem engineering varies spatially: a test of the vegetation modification paradigm for prairie dogs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baker, Bruce W.; Augustine, David J.; Sedgwick, James A.; Lubow, Bruce C.

    2013-01-01

    Colonial, burrowing herbivores can be engineers of grassland and shrubland ecosystems worldwide. Spatial variation in landscapes suggests caution when extrapolating single-place studies of single species, but lack of data and the need to generalize often leads to ‘model system’ thinking and application of results beyond appropriate statistical inference. Generalizations about the engineering effects of prairie dogs (Cynomys sp.) developed largely from intensive study at a single complex of black-tailed prairie dogs C. ludovicianus in northern mixed prairie, but have been extrapolated to other ecoregions and prairie dog species in North America, and other colonial, burrowing herbivores. We tested the paradigm that prairie dogs decrease vegetation volume and the cover of grasses and tall shrubs, and increase bare ground and forb cover. We sampled vegetation on and off 279 colonies at 13 complexes of 3 prairie dog species widely distributed across 5 ecoregions in North America. The paradigm was generally supported at 7 black-tailed prairie dog complexes in northern mixed prairie, where vegetation volume, grass cover, and tall shrub cover were lower, and bare ground and forb cover were higher, on colonies than at paired off-colony sites. Outside the northern mixed prairie, all 3 prairie dog species consistently reduced vegetation volume, but their effects on cover of plant functional groups varied with prairie dog species and the grazing tolerance of dominant perennial grasses. White-tailed prairie dogs C. leucurus in sagebrush steppe did not reduce shrub cover, whereas black-tailed prairie dogs suppressed shrub cover at all complexes with tall shrubs in the surrounding habitat matrix. Black-tailed prairie dogs in shortgrass steppe and Gunnison's prairie dogs C. gunnisoni in Colorado Plateau grassland both had relatively minor effects on grass cover, which may reflect the dominance of grazing-tolerant shortgrasses at both complexes. Variation in modification of

  3. Carbon fluxes in ecosystems of Yellowstone National Park predicted from remote sensing data and simulation modeling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Potter, Christopher; Klooster, Steven; Crabtree, Robert; Huang, Shengli; Gross, Peggy; Genovese, Vanessa

    2011-08-11

    A simulation model based on remote sensing data for spatial vegetation properties has been used to estimate ecosystem carbon fluxes across Yellowstone National Park (YNP). The CASA (Carnegie Ames Stanford Approach) model was applied at a regional scale to estimate seasonal and annual carbon fluxes as net primary production (NPP) and soil respiration components. Predicted net ecosystem production (NEP) flux of CO2 is estimated from the model for carbon sinks and sources over multi-year periods that varied in climate and (wildfire) disturbance histories. Monthly Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) image coverages from the NASA Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument (from 2000 to 2006) were direct inputs to the model. New map products have been added to CASA from airborne remote sensing of coarse woody debris (CWD) in areas burned by wildfires over the past two decades. Model results indicated that relatively cooler and wetter summer growing seasons were the most favorable for annual plant production and net ecosystem carbon gains in representative landscapes of YNP. When summed across vegetation class areas, the predominance of evergreen forest and shrubland (sagebrush) cover was evident, with these two classes together accounting for 88% of the total annual NPP flux of 2.5 Tg C yr-1 (1 Tg = 1012 g) for the entire Yellowstone study area from 2000-2006. Most vegetation classes were estimated as net ecosystem sinks of atmospheric CO2 on annual basis, making the entire study area a moderate net sink of about +0.13 Tg C yr-1. This average sink value for forested lands nonetheless masks the contribution of areas burned during the 1988 wildfires, which were estimated as net sources of CO2 to the atmosphere, totaling to a NEP flux of -0.04 Tg C yr-1 for the entire burned area. Several areas burned in the 1988 wildfires were estimated to be among the lowest in overall yearly NPP, namely the Hellroaring Fire, Mink Fire, and Falls Fire areas. Rates of

  4. Ecological risks of shale oil and gas development to wildlife, aquatic resources and their habitats.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brittingham, Margaret C; Maloney, Kelly O; Farag, Aïda M; Harper, David D; Bowen, Zachary H

    2014-10-07

    . Examples include core forest habitat and forest specialists, sagebrush habitat and specialists, vernal pond inhabitants and stream biota. We suggest five general areas of research and monitoring that could aid in development of effective guidelines and policies to minimize negative impacts and protect vulnerable species and ecosystems: (1) spatial analyses, (2) species-based modeling, (3) vulnerability assessments, (4) ecoregional assessments, and (5) threshold and toxicity evaluations.

  5. Mapping and spatial-temporal modeling of Bromus tectorum invasion in central Utah

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jin, Zhenyu

    Cheatgrass, or Downy Brome, is an exotic winter annual weed native to the Mediterranean region. Since its introduction to the U.S., it has become a significant weed and aggressive invader of sagebrush, pinion-juniper, and other shrub communities, where it can completely out-compete native grasses and shrubs. In this research, remotely sensed data combined with field collected data are used to investigate the distribution of the cheatgrass in Central Utah, to characterize the trend of the NDVI time-series of cheatgrass, and to construct a spatially explicit population-based model to simulate the spatial-temporal dynamics of the cheatgrass. This research proposes a method for mapping the canopy closure of invasive species using remotely sensed data acquired at different dates. Different invasive species have their own distinguished phenologies and the satellite images in different dates could be used to capture the phenology. The results of cheatgrass abundance prediction have a good fit with the field data for both linear regression and regression tree models, although the regression tree model has better performance than the linear regression model. To characterize the trend of NDVI time-series of cheatgrass, a novel smoothing algorithm named RMMEH is presented in this research to overcome some drawbacks of many other algorithms. By comparing the performance of RMMEH in smoothing a 16-day composite of the MODIS NDVI time-series with that of two other methods, which are the 4253EH, twice and the MVI, we have found that RMMEH not only keeps the original valid NDVI points, but also effectively removes the spurious spikes. The reconstructed NDVI time-series of different land covers are of higher quality and have smoother temporal trend. To simulate the spatial-temporal dynamics of cheatgrass, a spatially explicit population-based model is built applying remotely sensed data. The comparison between the model output and the ground truth of cheatgrass closure demonstrates

  6. Plant phenolics and absorption features in vegetation reflectance spectra near 1.66 μm

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kokaly, Raymond F.; Skidmore, Andrew K

    2015-01-01

    Past laboratory and field studies have quantified phenolic substances in vegetative matter from reflectance measurements for understanding plant response to herbivores and insect predation. Past remote sensing studies on phenolics have evaluated crop quality and vegetation patterns caused by bedrock geology and associated variations in soil geochemistry. We examined spectra of pure phenolic compounds, common plant biochemical constituents, dry leaves, fresh leaves, and plant canopies for direct evidence of absorption features attributable to plant phenolics. Using spectral feature analysis with continuum removal, we observed that a narrow feature at 1.66 μm is persistent in spectra of manzanita, sumac, red maple, sugar maple, tea, and other species. This feature was consistent with absorption caused by aromatic C-H bonds in the chemical structure of phenolic compounds and non-hydroxylated aromatics. Because of overlapping absorption by water, the feature was weaker in fresh leaf and canopy spectra compared to dry leaf measurements. Simple linear regressions of feature depth and feature area with polyphenol concentration in tea resulted in high correlations and low errors (% phenol by dry weight) at the dry leaf (r2 = 0.95, RMSE = 1.0%, n = 56), fresh leaf (r2 = 0.79, RMSE = 2.1%, n = 56), and canopy (r2 = 0.78, RMSE = 1.0%, n = 13) levels of measurement. Spectra of leaves, needles, and canopies of big sagebrush and evergreens exhibited a weak absorption feature centered near 1.63 μm, short ward of the phenolic compounds, possibly consistent with terpenes. This study demonstrates that subtle variation in vegetation spectra in the shortwave infrared can directly indicate biochemical constituents and be used to quantify them. Phenolics are of lesser abundance compared to the major plant constituents but, nonetheless, have important plant functions and ecological significance. Additional research is needed to advance our understanding of the

  7. Geochemical results of a hydrothermally altered area at Baker Creek, Blaine County, Idaho

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erdman, James A.; Moye, Falma J.; Theobald, Paul K.; McCafferty, Anne E.; Larsen, Richard K.

    2001-01-01

    The area immediately east of Baker Creek, Blaine County, Idaho, is underlain by a thick section of mafic to intermediate lava flows of the Eocene Challis Volcanic Group. Widespread propylitic alteration surrounds a zone of argillic alteration and an inner core of phyllic alteration. Silicified breccia is present along an east-trending fault within the zone of phyllic alteration. As part of a reconnaissance geochemical survey, soils and plants were sampled. Several species of plants (Douglas-fir [ Pseudotsuga menziesii ], mountain big sagebrush [ Artemisia tridentata ssp. vaseyana ], and elk sedge [ Carex geyerii ]) were collected from 10 upland localities and stream sediments, panned concentrates, and aquatic mosses were collected from 16 drainage basin localities all of which were generally within the area of alteration. Geochemical results yielded anomalous concentrations of molybenum, zinc, silver, and lead in at least half of the seven different sample media and of gold, thallium, arsenic, antimony, manganese, boron, cadmium, bismuth, copper, and beryllium in from one to four of the various media. Part of this suite of elements? silver, gold, arsenic, antimony, thallium, and manganese? suggests that the mineralization in the area is epithermal. Barite and pyrite (commonly botryoidal-framboidal) are widespread throughout the area sampled. Visible gold and pyromorphite (a secondary lead mineral) were identified in only one small drainage basin, but high levels of gold were detected in aquatic mosses over a larger area. Data from the upland and stream sampling indicate two possible mineralized areas. The first mineralized area was identified by a grab sample from an outcrop of quartz stockwork that contained 50 ppb Au, 1.5 ppm Ag, and 50 ppm Mo. Although the soil and plant species that were sampled in the area indicated mineralized bedrock, the Douglas-fir samples were the best indicators of the silver anomaly. The second possible mineralized area centers on the

  8. Use of Plant Hydraulic Theory to Predict Ecosystem Fluxes Across Mountainous Gradients in Environmental Controls and Insect Disturbances

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ewers, B. E.; Pendall, E.; Reed, D. E.; Barnard, H. R.; Whitehouse, F.; Frank, J. M.; Massman, W. J.; Brooks, P. D.; Biederman, J. A.; Harpold, A. A.; Naithani, K. J.; Mitra, B.; Mackay, D. S.; Norton, U.; Borkhuu, B.

    2011-12-01

    While mountainous areas are critical for providing numerous ecosystem benefits at the regional scale, the strong gradients in environmental controls make predictions difficult. A key part of the problem is quantifying and predicting the feedback between mountain gradients and plant function which then controls ecosystem cycling. The emerging theory of plant hydraulics provides a rigorous yet simple platform from which to generate testable hypotheses and predictions of ecosystem pools and fluxes. Plant hydraulic theory predicts that plant controls over carbon, water, energy and nutrient fluxes can be derived from the limitation of plant water transport from the soil through xylem and out of stomata. In addition, the limit to plant water transport can be predicted by combining plant structure (e.g. xylem diameters or root-to-shoot ratios) and plant function (response of stomatal conductance to vapor pressure deficit or root vulnerability to cavitation). We evaluate the predictions of the plant hydraulic theory by testing it against data from a mountain gradient encompassing sagebrush steppe through subalpine forests (2700 to 3400 m). We further test the theory by predicting the carbon, water and nutrient exchanges from several coniferous trees in the same gradient that are dying from xylem dysfunction caused by blue-stain fungi carried by bark beetles. The common theme of both of these data sets is a change in water limitation caused by either changing precipitation along the mountainous gradient or lack of access to soil water from xylem-occluding fungi. Across all of the data sets which range in scale from individual plants to hillslopes, the data fit the predictions of plant hydraulic theory. Namely, there was a proportional tradeoff between the reference canopy stomatal conductance to water vapor and the sensitivity of that conductance to vapor pressure deficit that quantitatively fits the predictions of plant hydraulic theory. Incorporating this result into

  9. Acute environmental toxicity and persistence of DEM, a chemical agent simulant: Diethyl malonate. [Diethyl malonate

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Cataldo, D.A.; Ligotke, M.W.; Harvey, S.D.; Fellows, R.J.; Li, Shu-mei W.; Van Voris, P.; Wentsel, R.S.

    1990-05-01

    The purpose of the following chemical simulant studies is to assess the potential acute environmental effects and persistence of diethyl malonate (DEM). Deposition velocities for DEM to soil surfaces ranged from 0.04 to 0.2 cm/sec. For foliar surfaces, deposition velocities ranged from 0.0002 cm/sec at low air concentrations to 0.05 cm/sec for high dose levels. The residence times or half-lives of DEM deposited to soils was 2 h for the fast component and 5 to 16 h for the residual material. DEM deposited to foliar surfaces also exhibited biphasic depuration. The half-life of the short residence time component ranged from 1 to 3 h, while the longer time component had half-times of 16 to 242 h. Volatilization and other depuration mechanisms reduce surface contaminant levels in both soils and foliage to less than 1% of initial dose within 96 h. DEM is not phytotoxic at foliar mass loading levels of less than 10 {mu}m/cm{sup 2}. However, severe damage is evident at mass loading levels in excess of 17 {mu}g/cm{sup 2}. Tall fescue and sagebrush were more affected than was short-needle pine, however, mass loading levels were markedly different. Regrowth of tall fescue indicated that the effects of DEM are residual, and growth rates are affected only at higher mass loadings through the second harvest. Results from in vitro testing of DEM indicated concentrations below 500 {mu}g/g dry soil generally did not negatively impact soil microbial activity. Short-term effects of DEM were more profound on soil dehydrogenase activity than on soil phosphatase activity. No enzyme inhibition or enhancement was observed after 28 days in incubation. Results of the earthworm bioassay indicate survival to be 86 and 66% at soil doses of 107 and 204 {mu}g DEM/cm{sup 2}, respectively. At higher dose level, activity or mobility was judged to be affected in over 50% of the individuals. 21 refs., 10 figs., 15 tabs.

  10. Genomic single-nucleotide polymorphisms confirm that Gunnison and Greater sage-grouse are genetically well differentiated and that the Bi-State population is distinct

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; Cornman, Robert S.; Jones, Kenneth L.; Fike, Jennifer

    2015-01-01

    Sage-grouse are iconic, declining inhabitants of sagebrush habitats in western North America, and their management depends on an understanding of genetic variation across the landscape. Two distinct species of sage-grouse have been recognized, Greater (Centrocercus urophasianus) and Gunnison sage-grouse (C. minimus), based on morphology, behavior, and variation at neutral genetic markers. A parapatric group of Greater Sage-Grouse along the border of California and Nevada ("Bi-State") is also genetically distinct at the same neutral genetic markers, yet not different in behavior or morphology. Because delineating taxonomic boundaries and defining conservation units is often difficult in recently diverged taxa and can be further complicated by highly skewed mating systems, we took advantage of new genomic methods that improve our ability to characterize genetic variation at a much finer resolution. We identified thousands of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) among Gunnison, Greater, and Bi-State sage-grouse and used them to comprehensively examine levels of genetic diversity and differentiation among these groups. The pairwise multilocus fixation index (FST) was high (0.49) between Gunnison and Greater sage-grouse, and both principal coordinates analysis and model-based clustering grouped samples unequivocally by species. Standing genetic variation was lower within the Gunnison Sage-Grouse. The Bi-State population was also significantly differentiated from Greater Sage-Grouse, albeit more weakly (FST = 0.09), and genetic clustering results were consistent with reduced gene flow with Greater Sage-Grouse. No comparable genetic divisions were found within the Greater Sage-Grouse sample, which spanned the southern half of the range. Thus, we provide much stronger genetic evidence supporting the recognition of Gunnison Sage-Grouse as a distinct species with low genetic diversity. Further, our work confirms that the Bi-State population is differentiated from other

  11. Glacial and Quaternary geology of the northern Yellowstone area, Montana and Wyoming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pierce, Kenneth L.; Licciardi, Joseph M.; Krause, Teresa R.; Whitlock, Cathy

    2014-01-01

    This field guide focuses on the glacial geology and paleoecology beginning in the Paradise Valley and progressing southward into northern Yellowstone National Park. During the last (Pinedale) glaciation, the northern Yellowstone outlet glacier flowed out of Yellowstone Park and down the Yellowstone River Valley into the Paradise Valley. The field trip will traverse the following Pinedale glacial sequence: (1) deposition of the Eightmile terminal moraines and outwash 16.5 ± 1.4 10Be ka in the Paradise Valley; (2) glacial recession of ~8 km and deposition of the Chico moraines and outwash 16.1 ± 1.7 10Be ka; (3) glacial recession of 45 km to near the northern Yellowstone boundary and moraine deposition during the Deckard Flats readjustment 14.2 ± 1.2 10Be ka; and (4) glacial recession of ~37 km and deposition of the Junction Butte moraines 15.2 ± 1.3 10Be ka (this age is a little too old based on the stratigraphic sequence). Yellowstone's northern range of sagebrush-grasslands and bison, elk, wolf, and bear inhabitants is founded on glacial moraines, sub-glacial till, and outwash deposited during the last glaciation. Floods released from glacially dammed lakes and a landslide-dammed lake punctuate this record. The glacial geologic reconstruction was evaluated by calculation of basal shear stress, and yielded the following values for flow pattern in plan view: strongly converging—1.21 ± 0.12 bars (n = 15); nearly uniform—1.04 ± 0.16 bars (n = 11); and strongly diverging—0.84 ± 0.14 bars (n = 16). Reconstructed mass balance yielded accumulation and ablation each of ~3 km3/yr, with glacial movement near the equilibrium line altitude dominated by basal sliding. Pollen and charcoal records from three lakes in northern Yellowstone provide information on the postglacial vegetation and fire history. Following glacial retreat, sparsely vegetated landscapes were colonized first by spruce parkland and then by closed subalpine forests. Regional fire activity

  12. Influence of Habitat and Intrinsic Characteristics on Survival of Neonatal Pronghorn.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christopher N Jacques

    , especially as they relate to coyote predation. Thus, landscape level variables (particularly percentages of open water, grassland habitats, and shrub density should be incorporated into the development or implementation of pronghorn management plans across sagebrush steppe communities of the western Dakotas, and potentially elsewhere within the geographic range of pronghorn.

  13. Effectiveness of post-fire seeding at the Fitzner-Eberhardt Arid Land Ecology Reserve, Washington

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wirth, Troy A.; Pyke, David A.

    2011-01-01

    In August 2007, the Milepost 17 and Wautoma fires burned a combined total of 77,349 acres (31,302 hectares) of the Fitzner-Eberhardt Arid Land Ecology Reserve (ALE), part of the Hanford Reach National Monument administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Mid-Columbia National Wildlife Refuge. In 2009, the USFWS implemented a series of seeding and herbicide treatments to mitigate potential negative consequences of these fires, including mortality of native vegetation, invasion of Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass), and soil erosion. Treatments included combinations of seeding (drill and aerial), herbicides, and one of six different mixtures of species. Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis (Wyoming big sagebrush) also was planted by hand in a small area in the southern end of the fire perimeter. Due to differences in plant communities prior to the fire and the multiple treatments applied, treatments were grouped into five treatment associations including mid-elevation aerial seedings, low-elevation aerial seedings, low-elevation drill seedings, high-elevation drill seeding, and no seeding treatments. Data collected at the mid-elevation aerial seedings indicate that the seeding did not appear to increase the density of seedlings compared to the non-seeded area in 2010. At the low-elevation aerial seedings, there were significantly more seedlings at seeded areas as compared to non-seeded areas. Low densities of existing perennial plants probably fostered a low-competition environment enabling seeds to germinate and emerge in 2010 during adequate moisture. Low-elevation drill seedings resulted in significant emergence of seeded grasses in 2009 and 2010 and forbs in 2010. This was likely due to adequate precipitation and that the drill seeding assured soil-to-seed contact. At the high-elevation drill seeding, which was implemented in 2009, there were a high number of seedlings in 2010. Transplanting of A. tridentata following the fires resulted in variable

  14. Evaluation of the Life History of Native Salmonids in the Malheur River Basin; Cooperative Bull Trout/Redband Trout Research Project, 2000-2001 Annual Report.

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gonzales, Dan; Schwabe, Lawrence; Wenick, Jess (Burns Paiute Tribe, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Burns, OR)

    2001-08-01

    The Malheur basin lies within southeastern Oregon. The Malheur River is a tributary to the Snake River, entering at about River Kilometer (RK) 595. The hydrological drainage area of the Malheur River is approximately 12,950 km{sup 2} and is roughly 306 km in length. The headwaters of the Malheur River originate in the Blue Mountains at elevations of 6,500 to 7,500 feet, and drops to an elevation of 2000 feet at the confluence with the Snake River near Ontario, Oregon. The climate of the Malheur basin is characterized by hot dry summers, occasionally exceeding 38 C and cold winters that may drop below -29 C. Average annual precipitation is 300 centimeters and ranges from 100 centimeters in the upper mountains to less than 25 centimeters in the lower reaches (Gonzalez 1999). Wooded areas consist primarily of mixed fir and pine forest in the higher elevations. Sagebrush and grass communities dominate the flora in the lower elevations. Efforts to document salmonid life histories, water quality, and habitat conditions have continued in fiscal year 2000. The Burns Paiute Tribe (BPT), United States Forest Service (USFS), and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), have been working cooperatively to achieve this common goal. Bull trout ''Salvenlinus confluentus'' have specific environmental requirements and complex life histories making them especially susceptible to human activities that alter their habitat (Howell and Buchanan 1992). Bull trout are considered to be a cold-water species and are temperature dependent. This presents a challenge for managers, biologists, and private landowners in the Malheur basin. Because of the listing of bull trout under the Endangered Species Act as threatened and the current health of the landscape, a workgroup was formed to develop project objectives related to bull trout. This report will reflect work completed during the Bonneville Power contract period starting 1 April 2000 and ending 31 March 2001. The

  15. Investigation of the spatio-temporal variability of atmospheric boundary layer depths over mountainous terrain observed with a suite of ground-based and airborne instruments during the MATERHORN field experiment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pal, S.; De Wekker, S.; Emmitt, G. D.

    2013-12-01

    We present first results of the spatio-temporal variability of atmospheric boundary layer depths obtained with a suite of ground-based and airborne instruments deployed during the first field phase of The Mountain Terrain Atmospheric Modeling and Observations (MATERHORN) Program (http://www3.nd.edu/~dynamics/materhorn/index.php) at Dugway Proving Ground (DPG, Utah, USA) in Fall 2012. We mainly use high-resolution data collected on selected intensive observation periods obtained by Doppler lidars, ceilometer, and in-situ measurements from an unmanned aerial vehicle for the measurements of atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) depths. In particular, a Navy Twin Otter aircraft flew 6 missions of about 5 hours each during the daytime, collecting remotely sensed (Doppler lidar, TODWL) wind data in addition to in-situ turbulence measurements which allowed a detailed investigation of the spatial heterogeneity of the convective boundary layer turbulence features over a steep isolated mountain of a horizontal and vertical scale of about 10 km and 1 km, respectively. Additionally, we use data collected by (1) radiosonde systems at two sites of Granite Mountain area in DPG (Playa and Sagebrush), (2) sonic anemometers (CSAT-3D) for high resolution turbulence flux measurements near ground, (3) Pyranometer for incoming solar radiation, and (4) standard meteorological measurements (PTU) obtained near the surface. In this contribution, we discuss and address (1) composites obtained with lidar, ceilometer, micro-meteorological measurements, and radiosonde observations to determine the quasi-continuous regime of ABL depths, growth rates, maximum convective boundary layer (CBL) depths, etc., (2) the temporal variability in the ABL depths during entire diurnal cycle and the spatial heterogeneity in the daytime ABL depths triggered by the underlying orography in the experimental area to investigate the most possible mechanisms (e.g. combined effect of diurnal cycle and orographic trigger

  16. Probability of lek collapse is lower inside sage-grouse Core Areas: Effectiveness of conservation policy for a landscape species.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Emma Suzuki Spence

    Full Text Available Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus occupy sagebrush (Artemisia spp. habitats in 11 western states and 2 Canadian provinces. In September 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the listing status for sage-grouse had changed from warranted but precluded to not warranted. The primary reason cited for this change of status was that the enactment of new regulatory mechanisms was sufficient to protect sage-grouse populations. One such plan is the 2008, Wyoming Sage Grouse Executive Order (SGEO, enacted by Governor Freudenthal. The SGEO identifies "Core Areas" that are to be protected by keeping them relatively free from further energy development and limiting other forms of anthropogenic disturbances near active sage-grouse leks. Using the Wyoming Game and Fish Department's sage-grouse lek count database and the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission database of oil and gas well locations, we investigated the effectiveness of Wyoming's Core Areas, specifically: 1 how well Core Areas encompass the distribution of sage-grouse in Wyoming, 2 whether Core Area leks have a reduced probability of lek collapse, and 3 what, if any, edge effects intensification of oil and gas development adjacent to Core Areas may be having on Core Area populations. Core Areas contained 77% of male sage-grouse attending leks and 64% of active leks. Using Bayesian binomial probability analysis, we found an average 10.9% probability of lek collapse in Core Areas and an average 20.4% probability of lek collapse outside Core Areas. Using linear regression, we found development density outside Core Areas was related to the probability of lek collapse inside Core Areas. Specifically, probability of collapse among leks >4.83 km from inside Core Area boundaries was significantly related to well density within 1.61 km (1-mi and 4.83 km (3-mi outside of Core Area boundaries. Collectively, these data suggest that the Wyoming Core Area Strategy has benefited

  17. Water and Nitrogen Limitations of Ecosystem Processes Across Three Dryland Plant Communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beltz, C.; Lauenroth, W. K.; Burke, I. C.

    2017-12-01

    The availability of water and nitrogen (N) play a major role in controlling the distribution of ecosystem types and the rates of ecosystem processes across the globe. Both these resources are being altered by human activity. Anthropogenic fixation of N has increased inputs into the biosphere from 0.5 kg N ha-1 yr-1 to upwards of 10 kg N ha-1 yr-1, while the amount and seasonality of precipitation are expected to continue to change. Within dryland environments, the relationships between increasingly available N and ecosystem processes are especially complex due to dryland's characteristic strong limitation by low and highly variable precipitation. Other experiments have shown that this interplay between N and water can cause temporally complex co-limitation and spatially complex responses with variable effects on ecosystems, such as those to net primary productivity, soil respiration, and plant community composition. Research spanning multiple dryland plant communities is critical for generalizing findings to the 40% of the Earth's terrestrial surface covered in dryland ecosystems. Given IPCC projections in which both N availability and precipitation are altered, examining their interactive effect across multiple plant communities is critical to increasing our understanding of the limitations to ecosystem process in drylands. We are studying a gradient of three plant communities representing a C4 grassland (shortgrass steppe), a C3/C4 grassland (mixed grass prairie), and a shrub-dominated ecosystem with C3 and C4 grasses (sagebrush steppe). We added two levels of N (10 kg N ha-1 and 100 kg N ha-1) and increased summer monthly precipitation by 20%. Sites responded differently to treatments, with the scale of effect varying by treatment. The high-level nitrogen increased soil N availability and soil respiration, while decreasing soil carbon in the labile pool in the upper soil layers. These results will allow for better understanding of increased N in combination with

  18. Estimating vegetation biomass and cover across large plots in shrub and grass dominated drylands using terrestrial lidar and machine learning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, Kyle E.; Glenn, Nancy F.; Spaete, Lucas P.; Shinneman, Douglas; Pilliod, David S.; Arkle, Robert; McIlroy, Susan; Derryberry, DeWayne R.

    2018-01-01

    Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) has been shown to enable an efficient, precise, and non-destructive inventory of vegetation structure at ranges up to hundreds of meters. We developed a method that leverages TLS collections with machine learning techniques to model and map canopy cover and biomass of several classes of short-stature vegetation across large plots. We collected high-definition TLS scans of 26 1-ha plots in desert grasslands and big sagebrush shrublands in southwest Idaho, USA. We used the Random Forests machine learning algorithm to develop decision tree models predicting the biomass and canopy cover of several vegetation classes from statistical descriptors of the aboveground heights of TLS points. Manual measurements of vegetation characteristics collected within each plot served as training and validation data. Models based on five or fewer TLS descriptors of vegetation heights were developed to predict the canopy cover fraction of shrubs (R2 = 0.77, RMSE = 7%), annual grasses (R2 = 0.70, RMSE = 21%), perennial grasses (R2 = 0.36, RMSE = 12%), forbs (R2 = 0.52, RMSE = 6%), bare earth or litter (R2 = 0.49, RMSE = 19%), and the biomass of shrubs (R2 = 0.71, RMSE = 175 g) and herbaceous vegetation (R2 = 0.61, RMSE = 99 g) (all values reported are out-of-bag). Our models explained much of the variability between predictions and manual measurements, and yet we expect that future applications could produce even better results by reducing some of the methodological sources of error that we encountered. Our work demonstrates how TLS can be used efficiently to extend manual measurement of vegetation characteristics from small to large plots in grasslands and shrublands, with potential application to other similarly structured ecosystems. Our method shows that vegetation structural characteristics can be modeled without classifying and delineating individual plants, a challenging and time-consuming step common in previous

  19. Influence of habitat and intrinsic characteristics on survival of neonatal pronghorn

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jacques, Christopher N.; Jenks, Jonathan A.; Grovenburg, Troy W.; Klaver, Robert W.

    2015-01-01

    , especially as they relate to coyote predation. Thus, landscape level variables (particularly percentages of open water, grassland habitats, and shrub density) should be incorporated into the development or implementation of pronghorn management plans across sagebrush steppe communities of the western Dakotas, and potentially elsewhere within the geographic range of pronghorn.

  20. A coupled carbon and plant hydraulic model to predict ecosystem carbon and water flux responses to disturbance and environmental change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mackay, D. S.; Ewers, B. E.; Roberts, D. E.; McDowell, N. G.; Pendall, E.; Frank, J. M.; Reed, D. E.; Massman, W. J.; Mitra, B.

    2011-12-01

    Changing climate drivers including temperature, humidity, precipitation, and carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations directly control land surface exchanges of CO2 and water. In a profound way these responses are modulated by disturbances that are driven by or exacerbated by climate change. Predicting these changes is challenging given that the feedbacks between environmental controls, disturbances, and fluxes are complex. Flux data in areas of bark beetle outbreaks in the western U.S.A. show differential declines in carbon and water flux in response to the occlusion of xylem by associated fungi. For example, bark beetle infestation at the GLEES AmeriFlux site manifested in a decline in summer water use efficiency to 60% in the year after peak infestation compared to previous years, and no recovery of carbon uptake following a period of high vapor pressure deficit. This points to complex feedbacks between disturbance and differential ecosystem reaction and relaxation responses. Theory based on plant hydraulics and extending to include links to carbon storage and exhaustion has potential for explaining these dynamics with simple, yet rigorous models. In this spirit we developed a coupled model that combines an existing model of canopy water and carbon flow, TREES [e.g., Loranty et al., 2010], with the Sperry et al., [1998] plant hydraulic model. The new model simultaneously solves carbon uptake and losses along with plant hydraulics, and allows for testing specific hypotheses on feedbacks between xylem dysfunction, stomatal and non-stomatal controls on photosynthesis and carbon allocation, and autotrophic and heterotrophic respiration. These are constrained through gas exchange, root vulnerability to cavitation, sap flux, and eddy covariance data in a novel model complexity-testing framework. Our analysis focuses on an ecosystem gradient spanning sagebrush to subalpine forests. Our modeling results support hypotheses on feedbacks between hydraulic dysfunction and 1) non

  1. Chlorophyll fluorescence is a rigorous, high throughput tool to analyze the impacts of genotype, species, and stress on plant and ecosystem productivity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ewers, B. E.; Pleban, J. R.; Aston, T.; Beverly, D.; Speckman, H. N.; Hosseini, A.; Bretfeld, M.; Edwards, C.; Yarkhunova, Y.; Weinig, C.; Mackay, D. S.

    2017-12-01

    Abiotic and biotic stresses reduce plant productivity, yet high-throughput characterization of plant responses across genotypes, species and stress conditions are limited by both instrumentation and data analysis techniques. Recent developments in chlorophyll a fluorescence measurement at leaf to landscape scales could improve our predictive understanding of plants response to stressors. We analyzed the interaction of species and stress across two crop types, five gymnosperm and two angiosperm tree species from boreal and montane forests, grasses, forbs and shrubs from sagebrush steppe, and 30 tree species from seasonally wet tropical forest. We also analyzed chlorophyll fluorescence and gas exchange data from twelve Brassica rapa crop accessions and 120 recombinant inbred lines to investigate phenotypic responses to drought. These data represent more than 10,000 measurements of fluorescence and allow us to answer two questions 1) are the measurements from high-throughput, hand held and drone-mounted instruments quantitatively similar to lower throughput camera and gas exchange mounted instruments and 2) do the measurements find differences in genotypic, species and environmental stress on plants? We found through regression that the high and low throughput instruments agreed across both individual chlorophyll fluorescence components and calculated ratios and were not different from a 1:1 relationship with correlation greater than 0.9. We used hierarchical Bayesian modeling to test the second question. We found a linear relationship between the fluorescence-derived quantum yield of PSII and the quantum yield of CO2 assimilation from gas-exchange, with a slope of ca. 0.1 indicating that the efficiency of the entire photosynthetic process was about 10% of PSII across genotypes, species and drought stress. Posterior estimates of quantum yield revealed that drought-treatment, genotype and species differences were preserved when accounting for measurement uncertainty

  2. Distribution of Clokey's Eggvetch

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    David C. Anderson

    1998-12-01

    -leaf pinyon (Pinus monophylla), Utah juniper (Juniperus osteosperma), and big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata). Overall, the populations of Clokey's eggvetch on the NTS appear to be vigorous and do not appear threatened. It is estimated that there are approximately 2300 plants on the NTS. It should be considered as a species of concern because of its localized distribution, but it does not appear to warrant protection under the ESA.

  3. Effects of drought and prolonged winter on Townsend's ground squirrel demography in shrubsteppe habitats

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van Horne, Beatrice; Olson, Gail S.; Schooley, Robert L.; Corn, Janelle G.; Burnham, Kenneth P.

    1997-01-01

    During a mark–recapture study of Townsend's ground squirrels (Spermophilus townsendii) on 20 sites in the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area, Idaho, in 1991 through 1994, 4407 animals were marked in 17639 capture events. This study of differences in population dynamics of Townsend's ground squirrels among habitats spanned a drought near the extreme of the 130-yr record, followed by prolonged winter conditions.Townsend's ground squirrels have a short active season (≈4 mo) in which to reproduce and store fat for overwintering. Their food consists largely of succulent grasses and forbs in this dry shrubsteppe and grassland habitat. The drought in the latter half of the 1992 active season produced early drying of Sandberg's bluegrass (Poa secunda) and was associated with low adult and juvenile body masses prior to immergence into estivation/hibernation. The following prolonged winter was associated with late emergence of females in 1993. Early-season body masses of adults were low in 1993 relative to 1992, whereas percentage of body fat in males was relatively high. These weather patterns in spring 1992 and winter 1993 also resulted in reduced adult persistence through the ≈7-mo inactive period, especially for adult females, and near-zero persistence of >1200 juveniles. Consequently, densities of Townsend's ground squirrels across the 20 livetrap sites declined.The demographic effects of drought and prolonged winter lasted at least through the subsequent breeding season. Adult females that survived these weather extremes produced fewer emergent young per female than did adult females prior to the event. Prior to the drought/prolonged winter, yearling female body masses were higher than, or indistinguishable from, those of adults. Females produced in 1993 had lower body masses as yearlings than did adult females.Demographic response to the drought and prolonged winter varied with habitat; ground squirrels in sagebrush habitat showed less decline

  4. Probability of lek collapse is lower inside sage-grouse Core Areas: Effectiveness of conservation policy for a landscape species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spence, Emma Suzuki; Beck, Jeffrey L; Gregory, Andrew J

    2017-01-01

    Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) occupy sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) habitats in 11 western states and 2 Canadian provinces. In September 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the listing status for sage-grouse had changed from warranted but precluded to not warranted. The primary reason cited for this change of status was that the enactment of new regulatory mechanisms was sufficient to protect sage-grouse populations. One such plan is the 2008, Wyoming Sage Grouse Executive Order (SGEO), enacted by Governor Freudenthal. The SGEO identifies "Core Areas" that are to be protected by keeping them relatively free from further energy development and limiting other forms of anthropogenic disturbances near active sage-grouse leks. Using the Wyoming Game and Fish Department's sage-grouse lek count database and the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission database of oil and gas well locations, we investigated the effectiveness of Wyoming's Core Areas, specifically: 1) how well Core Areas encompass the distribution of sage-grouse in Wyoming, 2) whether Core Area leks have a reduced probability of lek collapse, and 3) what, if any, edge effects intensification of oil and gas development adjacent to Core Areas may be having on Core Area populations. Core Areas contained 77% of male sage-grouse attending leks and 64% of active leks. Using Bayesian binomial probability analysis, we found an average 10.9% probability of lek collapse in Core Areas and an average 20.4% probability of lek collapse outside Core Areas. Using linear regression, we found development density outside Core Areas was related to the probability of lek collapse inside Core Areas. Specifically, probability of collapse among leks >4.83 km from inside Core Area boundaries was significantly related to well density within 1.61 km (1-mi) and 4.83 km (3-mi) outside of Core Area boundaries. Collectively, these data suggest that the Wyoming Core Area Strategy has benefited sage

  5. Spatially explicit modeling of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) habitat in Nevada and northeastern California: a decision-support tool for management

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coates, Peter S.; Casazza, Michael L.; Brussee, Brianne E.; Ricca, Mark A.; Gustafson, K. Benjamin; Overton, Cory T.; Sanchez-Chopitea, Erika; Kroger, Travis; Mauch, Kimberly; Niell, Lara; Howe, Kristy; Gardner, Scott; Espinosa, Shawn; Delehanty, David J.

    2014-01-01

    Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus, hereafter referred to as “sage-grouse”) populations are declining throughout the sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystem, including millions of acres of potential habitat across the West. Habitat maps derived from empirical data are needed given impending listing decisions that will affect both sage-grouse population dynamics and human land-use restrictions. This report presents the process for developing spatially explicit maps describing relative habitat suitability for sage-grouse in Nevada and northeastern California. Maps depicting habitat suitability indices (HSI) values were generated based on model-averaged resource selection functions informed by more than 31,000 independent telemetry locations from more than 1,500 radio-marked sage-grouse across 12 project areas in Nevada and northeastern California collected during a 15-year period (1998–2013). Modeled habitat covariates included land cover composition, water resources, habitat configuration, elevation, and topography, each at multiple spatial scales that were relevant to empirically observed sage-grouse movement patterns. We then present an example of how the HSI can be delineated into categories. Specifically, we demonstrate that the deviation from the mean can be used to classify habitat suitability into three categories of habitat quality (high, moderate, and low) and one non-habitat category. The classification resulted in an agreement of 93–97 percent for habitat versus non-habitat across a suite of independent validation datasets. Lastly, we provide an example of how space use models can be integrated with habitat models to help inform conservation planning. In this example, we combined probabilistic breeding density with a non-linear probability of occurrence relative to distance to nearest lek (traditional breeding ground) using count data to calculate a composite space use index (SUI). The SUI was then classified into two categories of use

  6. Changes in avian and plant communities of aspen woodlands over 12 years after livestock removal in the northwestern Great Basin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Earnst, Susan L.; Dobkin, David S.; Ballard, Jennifer A.

    2012-01-01

    Riparian and quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) woodlands are centers of avian abundance and diversity in the western United States, but they have been affected adversely by land use practices, particularly livestock grazing. In 1990, cattle were removed from a 112,500-ha national wildlife refuge in southeastern Oregon. Thereafter, we monitored changes in vegetation and bird abundance in years 1–3 (phase 1) and 10–12 (phase 2) in 17 riparian and 9 snow-pocket aspen plots. On each 1.5-ha plot, we sampled vegetation in 6 transects. Three times during each breeding season, observers recorded all birds 50 m to each side of the plot's 150-m centerline for 25 minutes. We analyzed data with multivariate analysis of variance and paired t tests with p values adjusted for multiple comparisons. In both periods, riparian and snow-pocket aspen produced extensive regeneration of new shoots (x̄ = 2646 stems/ha and 7079 stems/ha, respectively). By phase 2, a 64% increase in medium-diameter trees in riparian stands indicated successful recruitment into the overstory, but this pattern was not seen in snow-pocket stands, where the density of trees was over 2 times greater. By phase 2 in riparian and snow-pocket stands, native forb cover had increased by 68% and 57%, respectively, mesic shrub cover had increased by 29% and 58%, and sagebrush cover had decreased by 24% and 31%. Total avian abundance increased by 33% and 39% in riparian and snow-pocket aspen, respectively, ground or understory nesters increased by 133% and 67% and overstory nesters increased by 34% and 33%. Similarly, ground or understory foragers increased by 25% and 32%, aerial foragers by 55% and 57%, and overstory foragers by 66% and 43%. We interpreted the substantial regeneration of aspen shoots, increased densities of riparian forbs and shrubs, and increased avian abundances as a multitrophic-level response to the total removal of livestock and as substantial movement toward recovery of biological integrity.

  7. Microhabitat Conditions in Wyoming's Sage-Grouse Core Areas: Effects on Nest Site Selection and Success.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jonathan B Dinkins

    Full Text Available The purpose of our study was to identify microhabitat characteristics of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus nest site selection and survival to determine the quality of sage-grouse habitat in 5 regions of central and southwest Wyoming associated with Wyoming's Core Area Policy. Wyoming's Core Area Policy was enacted in 2008 to reduce human disturbance near the greatest densities of sage-grouse. Our analyses aimed to assess sage-grouse nest selection and success at multiple micro-spatial scales. We obtained microhabitat data from 928 sage-grouse nest locations and 819 random microhabitat locations from 2008-2014. Nest success was estimated from 924 nests with survival data. Sage-grouse selected nests with greater sagebrush cover and height, visual obstruction, and number of small gaps between shrubs (gap size ≥0.5 m and <1.0 m, while selecting for less bare ground and rock. With the exception of more small gaps between shrubs, we did not find any differences in availability of these microhabitat characteristics between locations within and outside of Core Areas. In addition, we found little supporting evidence that sage-grouse were selecting different nest sites in Core Areas relative to areas outside of Core. The Kaplan-Meier nest success estimate for a 27-day incubation period was 42.0% (95% CI: 38.4-45.9%. Risk of nest failure was negatively associated with greater rock and more medium-sized gaps between shrubs (gap size ≥2.0 m and <3.0 m. Within our study areas, Wyoming's Core Areas did not have differing microhabitat quality compared to outside of Core Areas. The close proximity of our locations within and outside of Core Areas likely explained our lack of finding differences in microhabitat quality among locations within these landscapes. However, the Core Area Policy is most likely to conserve high quality habitat at larger spatial scales, which over decades may have cascading effects on microhabitat quality available

  8. Hierarchical spatial genetic structure in a distinct population segment of greater sage-grouse

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; Casazza, Michael L.; Fike, Jennifer A.; Coates, Peter S.

    2014-01-01

    north–south gradient. This genetic subdivision within the Bi-State is likely the result of habitat loss and fragmentation that has been exacerbated by recent human activities and the encroachment of singleleaf pinyon (Pinus monophylla) and juniper (Juniperus spp.) trees. While genetic concerns may be only one of many priorities for the conservation and management of the Bi-State greater sage-grouse, we believe that they warrant attention along with other issues (e.g., quality of sagebrush habitat, preventing future loss of habitat). Management actions that promote genetic connectivity, especially with respect to WM and PNa, may be critical to the long-term viability of the Bi-State DPS.

  9. Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus surveys in the North American Intermountain West: utilizing citizen scientists to conduct monitoring across a broad geographic scale

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert A. Miller

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available The Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus is an open-country species breeding in the northern United States and Canada, and has likely experienced a long-term, range-wide, and substantial decline. However, the cause and magnitude of the decline is not well understood. We set forth to address the first two of six previously proposed conservation priorities to be addressed for this species: (1 better define habitat use and (2 improve population monitoring. We recruited 131 volunteers to survey over 6.2 million ha within the state of Idaho for Short-eared Owls during the 2015 breeding season. We surveyed 75 transects, 71 of which were surveyed twice, and detected Short-eared Owls on 27 transects. We performed multiscale occupancy modeling to identify habitat associations, and performed multiscale abundance modeling to generate a state-wide population estimate. Our results suggest that within the state of Idaho, Short-eared Owls are more often found in areas with marshland or riparian habitat or areas with greater amounts of sagebrush habitat at the 1750 ha transect scale. At the 50 ha point scale, Short-eared Owls tend to associate positively with fallow and bare dirt agricultural land and negatively with grassland. Cropland was not chosen at the broader transect scale suggesting that Short-eared Owls may prefer more heterogeneous landscapes. On the surface our results may seem contradictory to the presumed land use by a "grassland" species; however, the grasslands of the Intermountain West, consisting largely of invasive cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum, lack the complex structure shown to be preferred by these owls. We suggest the local adaptation to agriculture represents the next best habitat to their historical native habitat preferences. Regardless, we have confirmed regional differences that should be considered in conservation planning for this species. Last, our results demonstrate the feasibility, efficiency, and effectiveness of utilizing public

  10. Greater sage-grouse science (2015–17)—Synthesis and potential management implications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hanser, Steven E.; Deibert, Patricia A.; Tull, John C.; Carr, Natasha B.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Bargsten, Travis D.; Christiansen, Thomas J.; Coates, Peter S.; Crist, Michele R.; Doherty, Kevin E.; Ellsworth, Ethan A.; Foster, Lee J.; Herren, Vicki A.; Miller, Kevin H.; Moser, Ann; Naeve, Robin M.; Prentice, Karen L.; Remington, Thomas E.; Ricca, Mark A.; Shinneman, Douglas J.; Truex, Richard L.; Wiechman , Lief A.; Wilson, Dereck C.; Bowen, Zachary H.

    2018-02-15

    Executive SummaryThe greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereafter called “sage-grouse”), a species that requires sagebrush (Artemisia spp.), has experienced range-wide declines in its distribution and abundance. These declines have prompted substantial research and management investments to improve the understanding of sage-grouse and its habitats and reverse declines in distribution and population numbers.Over the past two decades, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has responded to eight petitions to list the sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, with the completion of the most recent listing determination in September 2015. At that time, the USFWS determined that the sage-grouse did not warrant a listing, primarily because of the large scale science-based conservation and planning efforts completed or started by Federal, State, local agencies, private landowners, and other entities across the range. The planning efforts culminated in the development of the 2015 Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service Land Use Plan Amendments, which provided regulatory certainty and commitment from Federal land-management agencies to limit, mitigate, and track anthropogenic disturbance and implement other sage-grouse conservation measures.After these policy decisions, the scientific community has continued to refine and expand the knowledge available to inform implementation of management actions, increase the efficiency and effectiveness of those actions, and continue developing an overall understanding of sage-grouse populations, habitat requirements, and their response to human activity and other habitat changes. The development of science has been driven by multiple prioritization documents including the “Greater Sage-Grouse National Research Strategy” (Hanser and Manier, 2013) and, most recently, the “Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy Actionable Science Plan” (Integrated Rangeland Fire Management

  11. Annotated bibliography of scientific research on greater sage-grouse published since January 2015

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carter, Sarah K.; Manier, Daniel J.; Arkle, Robert S.; Johnston, Aaron; Phillips, Susan L.; Hanser, Steven E.; Bowen, Zachary H.

    2018-02-14

    The greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereafter GRSG) has been a focus of scientific investigation and management action for the past two decades. The 2015 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listing determination of “not warranted” was in part due to a large-scale collaborative effort to develop strategies to conserve GRSG populations and their habitat and to reduce threats to both. New scientific information augments existing knowledge and can help inform updates or modifications to existing plans for managing GRSG and sagebrush ecosystems. However, the sheer number of scientific publications can be a challenge for managers tasked with evaluating and determining the need for potential updates to existing planning documents. To assist in this process, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has reviewed and summarized the scientific literature published since January 1, 2015.To identify articles and reports published about GRSG, we first conducted a structured search of three reference databases (Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar) using the search term “greater sage-grouse.” We refined the initial list of products by (1) removing duplicates, (2) excluding products that were not published as research or scientific review articles in peer-reviewed journals or as formal government technical reports, and (3) retaining only those products for which GRSG or their habitat was a research focus.We summarized the contents of each product by using a consistent structure (background, objectives, methods, location, findings, and implications) and assessed the content of each product relevant to a list of 31 management topics. These topics include GRSG biology and habitat characteristics along with potential management actions, land uses, and environmental factors related to GRSG management and conservation. We also noted which articles/reports created new geospatial data.The final search was conducted on January 6, 2018, and application of our criteria

  12. The role of episodic fire-related debris flows on long-term (103-104) sediment yields in the Middle Fork Salmon River Watershed, in central Idaho

    Science.gov (United States)

    Riley, K. E.; Pierce, J. L.; Hopkins, A.

    2010-12-01

    Episodic fire-related debris flows contribute large amounts of sediment and large woody debris to streams. This study evaluates fire-related sedimentation from small steep tributaries of the Middle Fork Salmon River (MFSR) in central Idaho to evaluate the timing, frequency, and magnitude of episodic fire-related sedimentation on long-term (10 3-10 4) sediment yields. The MFSR lies within the Northern Rocky Mountains and encompasses a range of ecosystems including high elevation (~3,000 -1,700 m) subalpine pine and spruce forests, mid-elevation (2650 - 1130 m) montane Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine-dominated forests and low elevation (~ 1,800 - 900 m) sagebrush steppe. Recent debris flow events in tributaries of the MFSR appear to primarily result from increased surface runoff, rilling, and progressive sediment bulking following high severity fires. This study estimates: 1) the volume of sediment delivered by four recent (1997-2008) fire-related debris flow events using real time kinematic GPS surveys, and 2) the timing of Holocene fire-related debris flow events determined by 14C dating charcoal fragments preserved in buried burned soils and within fire-related deposits. Our measured volumes of the four recent debris flow events are compared to two empirically derived volume estimates based on remotely sensed spatial data (burn severity and slope), measured geometric data (longitudinal profile, cross sectional area, flow banking angle), and precipitation records. Preliminary stratigraphic profiles in incised alluvial fans suggest that a large percentage of alluvial fan thickness is composed of fire-related deposits suggesting fire-related hillslope erosion is a major process delivering sediment to alluvial fans and to the MFSR. Fire-related deposits from upper basins compose ~71% of total alluvial fan thickness, while fire-related deposits from lower basins make up 36% of alluvial fan thickness. However, lower basins are less densely vegetated with small diameter

  13. A Regional Approach to Wildlife Monitoring Related to Energy Exploration and Development in Colorado

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kotliar, Natasha B.; Bowen, Zachary H.; Ouren, Douglas S.; Farmer, Adrian H.

    2008-01-01

    : White River, Glenwood Springs, Kremmling, Grand Junction, and Little Snake. The overall study area was selected to encompass the primary distribution of sagebrush and greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in Colorado and to provide a larger context for evaluating priority management issues of the White River and Glenwood Springs Field Offices. Within the study area, we selected an additional scale of analysis: the Roan Plateau, an area of increased energy development. We focused our demonstration project on the primary objectives identified by the BLM and other stakeholders: (1) How do we evaluate the cumulative effects of energy development and mitigation activities on species of management interest or concern? (2) How can cumulative effects, including direct and indirect effects, be quantified relative to natural variation? (3) How can we implement compliance and effectiveness monitoring to determine whether lease stipulations are met and restoration/mitigation goals are achieved? We targeted greater sage-grouse because this species was identified as a monitoring priority for the White River Field Office. We also evaluated landscape-level indices to address fragmentation resulting from surface disturbance. The primary purpose of this exercise was to highlight the types of analyses and approaches that could be used to evaluate energy development in an application of the three-phase framework. We provide examples of Phase I products that can be used to guide the refinement of management objectives, development of adaptive management and research frameworks, and planning activities in Phase II. Finally, we report on the BLM's National Sage-Grouse Habitat Conservation Strategy as an example of Phase III activities. The development of an effective monitoring program is a daunting task, and will be difficult to implement by the BLM independently due to the current work load of staff. However, the scientific expertise and experience for developing cr

  14. Late Pleistocene Climate Events and The Origin of Agriculture In SW Asia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rossignol-Strick, M.

    In the Eastern Mediterranean sea, the climate succession of the last deglaciation is documented and dated in marine cores by the d18-O variation of foraminiferal cal- cite and pollen records. The Last Glacial Maximum is identified by a large abundance of grass pollen from a prairie-type vegetal cover with low annual precipitation in the mountainous north and east borderlands of the sea, where the pollen mainly origi- nates. During the first phase of the last deglaciation, the Bolling/Allerod chronozone, the moisture availability increases and makes possible the spread of a deciduous for- est, as shown by the increasing pollen abundance of the deciduous oak. The cold and arid Younger Dryas is identified by a reversal to semi-desert conditions, with the in- crease of sage-brush (Artemisia) and the saline-tolerant Chenopodiaceae. The climate of the earliest Holocene is Optimum for at least 3000 years (9000-6000yr BP), with the largest spread of the deciduous forest at low-middle elevations signalling wet sum- mers and of the Pistacia woodland at low elevations signalling mild, no-frost winters. This is the time when the most recent sapropel deposited in the eastern Mediterranean under anoxic bottom conditions generated by a surface lid of lower salinity due to the concomitant largest floods of the Nile River fed by the strongest African monsoon rains in the Ethiopian Highlands. In SW Asia, the pollen records of lakes and marshes have been correlated with those of the marine cores, thereby obtaining a robust time-frame. In that area, the archaeo- logical data of human settlements are independently dated by 14C. Thus the archaeo- logical succession can be securely set against the well-dated climatic succession. The Late Palaeolithic populations of SW Asia were wandering hunter-gatherers in the prairies of the Last Glacial Maximum, where they already collected wild wheat, barley and fruit. With the Bolling/Allerod wetter and warmer climate, they began to settle in

  15. About rehabilitation of vegetation of disturbed ecosystems of the Semipalatinsk test sites

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Plisak, R.P.; Plisak, S.V.

    2005-01-01

    Full text: Semipalatinsk Test Sites are the place where 470 nuclear tests were conducted in 1949-1989: 26 surface, 87 air, 357 underground. Total area of polluted territories within the test sites reaches 400 square kilometers and 32 squire kilometers at adjoining territory. Radioactive precipitation spread at the territory of 304 thousand square kilometers by traces of radioactive clouds. The precipitation promoted negative processes in environment and damaged public health. One of the most negative factors is products of nuclear decay after underground nuclear tests. They accumulate in soil. Vertical and horizontal migration of radionuclides occurs. The radionuclides accumulate in plants and reach human organism through food chain. Vegetation cover of former Semipalatinsk Test Sites was partly destroyed or damaged on the test sites mentioned above. Nuclear explosions, military and technical construction, building of roads and communication network were conducted out here. Present vegetation cover of breached areas is represented by plant aggregations and communities. They are attributed to different stages of the process of restoration of initial (steppe) vegetation. Rates of rehabilitation of breached ecosystems are conditioned by degree of moisture and properties of formed technogene substratum (soil texture, presence of detritus, and quantity of fine earth). The higher rates of rehabilitation of breached vegetation are typical for ecosystems of flood lands, depressions between hills and slopes of hills of northern exposition. Rehabilitation of zonal ecosystems (sagebrush-eather-grass communities on light chestnut soils) in conditions of arid climate and insignificant water content in substratum of technogene objects proceeds slowly. Rates of restoration of haloxerophyte communities are conditioned by additional moistening of surface washing down of moist ure into micro depressions occupied by sanotiazol. The process of vegetation rehabilitation of damaged

  16. Final Report for Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation Treatment Monitoring of the Keeney Pass, Cow Hollow, Double Mountain, and Farewell Bend Fires

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wirth, Troy A.; Pyke, David A.

    2009-01-01

    A strategy for monitoring post-fire seedings in the sagebrush steppe of the Intermountain West was developed and used to monitor four example fires in the Vale, Oregon District of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). We began to develop a potential approach by (1) reviewing previous vegetation monitoring manuals produced by the Federal government to determine what techniques and approaches had been approved for use, and (2) monitoring a set of example fire rehabilitation projects from 2006 through 2008. We reviewed seven vegetation monitoring manuals approved for use by the Federal government. From these seven manuals, we derived a set of design elements appropriate for monitoring post-fire rehabilitation and stabilization projects. These design elements consisted of objectives, stratification, control plots, random sampling, data quality, and statistical analysis. Additionally, we chose three quantitative vegetation field procedures that were objective and repeatable to be used in conjunction with these six design elements. During the spring and summer of 2006 to 2008, U.S. Geological Survey personnel monitored vegetation in seven post-fire seeding treatments in four burned areas in the Vale district of the BLM in eastern Oregon. Treatments monitored included a native and non-native seeding in each of the Farewell Bend, Double Mountain, and Keeney Pass fires, and a native seeding at the Cow Hollow fire. All fires occurred in 2005. There generally was a low level of plant establishment for all seedings by 2008. The quantitative objective established by the BLM was to achieve 5 seeded grass plants/m2 by the end of 3 years as a result of the seeding. There was an estimated 3.97 and 6.28 plants/m2 in 2006 and 1.06 and 0.85 plants/m2 seeded perennial grasses in 2008 from the Keeney Pass non-native and native seeding, respectively. The Cow Hollow seeding resulted in the lowest establishment of perennial seeded grasses of the four project areas with 0.69 plants/m2 in