WorldWideScience

Sample records for lemmiscus curtatus sagebrush

  1. Seeding considerations in restoring big sagebrush habitat

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scott M. Lambert

    2005-01-01

    This paper describes methods of managing or seeding to restore big sagebrush communities for wildlife habitat. The focus is on three big sagebrush subspecies, Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis), basin big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata), and mountain...

  2. Big sagebrush seed bank densities following wildfires

    Science.gov (United States)

    Big sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) is a critical shrub to many wildlife species including sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), and pygmy rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis). Big sagebrush is killed by wildfires and big sagebrush seed is generally short-lived and do not s...

  3. Banking Wyoming big sagebrush seeds

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    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...

  4. Distribuição temporal de densidade de Aporobopyrus curtatus (Richardson (Crustacea, Isopoda, Bopyridae, um parasito de Petrolisthes armatus (Gibbes (Crustacea, Anomura, Porcellanidae na Ilha do Farol, Matinhos, Paraná, Brasil Temporal distribution of density of Aporobopyrus curtatus (Richardson (Isopoda, Bopyridae, a parasite of Petrolisthes armatus (Gibbes (Anomura, Porcellanidae from Farol Island, Matinhos, Paraná State, Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Edinalva Oliveira

    2006-12-01

    Full Text Available Os seguintes aspectos foram tratados sobre uma população do isopódo bopirídeo Aporobopyrus curtatus, parasito do caranguejo porcelanídeo Petrolisthes armatus: descrição e morfometria dos estágios de desenvolvimento, distribuição temporal da densidade relativa e da proporção de sexos. Adicionalmente, um provável ciclo de vida do parasito foi proposto. As coletas dos caranguejos hospedeiros foram feitas na Ilha do Farol, Matinhos, Estado do Paraná, de novembro de 1989 a abril de 1991. Um total de 967 bopirídeos foi obtido de 529 caranguejos porcelanídeos. Os seguintes estágios de desenvolvimento ou reprodutivos foram reconhecidos na população do parasito: criptonisco, fêmea imatura, fêmea madura, fêmea ovígera, fêmea embrionada, bopirídeo e macho maduro. A densidade relativa flutuou de 0,09 (janeiro/1990 a 0,33 parasitos por hospedeiro (abril/1990 e abril/1991. Dentre os parasitos imaturos, houve predominância de fêmeas, entretanto, a proporção de sexos foi de 1:1 na população madura. As larvas criptoniscos invadiram os hospedeiros P. armatus de novembro a maio, mas, casais de adultos de A. curtatus estiveram presentes o ano inteiro, exceto em janeiro. Fêmeas imaturas estiveram ausentes somente em quatro meses e os bopirídeos em seis meses durante os 18 meses de estudo. Houve uma sincronia no desenvolvimento do hospedeiro e do respectivo parasito: parasitos larvais infestaram hospedeiros juvenis e parasitos maduros, os hospedeiros maduros.The following aspects on the population of the bopyrid Aporobopyrus curtatus infesting the porcelain crab Petrolisthes armatus from Farol Island were treated: description and biometry of the developmental stages, temporal distribution of the relative density and the sex-ratio. Furthermore, a probable life cycle of this parasite is proposed. Collections of the crab hosts were done in the Farol Island, Matinhos, Paraná State, Brazil, from November 1989 to April 1991. A total of 967

  5. 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

  6. Conservation of priority birds in sagebrush ecosystems

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    Terrell D. Rich; Michael J. Wisdom; Victoria A. Saab

    2005-01-01

    Sagebrush ecosystems occupy over 62,000,000 ha of the western US. However, they have been degraded or completely eliminated by agricultural conversion, overgrazing by domestic livestock, invasion of exotic plants, expansion of pinyon and juniper woodlands, uncharacteristic wildfires, and fragmentation. This habitat loss has led to an increasing number of special status...

  7. Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) communities: Ecology, importance and restoration potential

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    Stephen B. Monsen; Nancy L. Shaw

    2000-01-01

    Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) is the most common and widespread sagebrush species in the Intermountain region. Climatic patterns, elevation gradients, soil characteristics and fire are among the factors regulating the distribution of its three major subspecies. Each of these subspecies is considered a topographic climax dominant....

  8. 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...

  9. 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...

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. Remote sensing of sagebrush canopy nitrogen

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    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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

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

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    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...

  16. Cold hardiness in Wyoming big sagebrush seedlings: implications for nursery production and outplanting

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kayla R. Herriman; Anthony S. Davis

    2012-01-01

    Throughout much of the interior western United States, Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis) is a keystone species, serving an important ecological role in sagebrush steppe and Great Basin sagebrush vegetation types (Lysne 2005, Lambrecht et al. 2007). Over the past century, these ecosystems have been degraded by fire, invasive species, and...

  17. 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....

  18. 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...

  19. Airborne signals of communication in sagebrush: a pharmacological approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shiojiri, Kaori; Ishizaki, Satomi; Ozawa, Rika; Karban, Richard

    2015-01-01

    When plants receive volatiles from a damaged plant, the receivers become more resistant to herbivory. This phenomenon has been reported in many plant species and called plant-plant communication. Lab experiments have suggested that several compounds may be functioning as airborne signals. The objective of this study is to identify potential airborne signals used in communication between sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) individuals in the field. We collected volatiles of one branch from each of 99 sagebrush individual plants. Eighteen different volatiles were detected by GC-MS analysis. Among these, 4 compounds; 1.8-cineol, β-caryophyllene, α-pinene and borneol, were investigated as signals of communication under natural conditions. The branches which received either 1,8-cineol or β-caryophyllene tended to get less damage than controls. These results suggested that 1,8-cineol and β-caryophyllene should be considered further as possible candidates for generalized airborne signals in sagebrush.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnston, Aaron N.; 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

  1. Improving sustainable seed yield in Wyoming big sagebrush

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jeremiah C. Armstrong

    2007-01-01

    As part of the Great Basin Restoration Initiative, the effects of browsing, competition removal, pruning, fertilization and seed collection methods on increasing seed production in Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. spp wyomingensis Beetle & Young) were studied. Study sites were located in Idaho, Nevada, and Utah. A split-plot...

  2. 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...

  3. 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.

  4. 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....

  5. 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...

  6. Effects of Wyoming big sagebrush seeding rate and grass competition on the long-term density and canopy volume of the big sagebrush and wildlife habitat

    Science.gov (United States)

    This research was initiated in 1997 to evaluate the effects of seeding rates of grass and Wyoming big sagebrush on the establishment of big sagebrush. The research was accomplished at the Belle Ayr West mine, south of Gillette, WY using a randomized complete block experimental design with three big ...

  7. 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...

  8. 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...

  9. Wyoming big sagebrush seed production from mined and unmined rangelands

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Booth, D.T.; Bai, Y.; Roos, E.E. [USDA ARS, Cheyenne, WY (United States). High Plains Grasslands Research Station

    2003-09-01

    Wyoming Coal Rules and Regulations require shrubs be returned to mined land and that revegetation '...be self renewing.' We evaluated seed production and seed quality of Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. wyomingensis (Beetle & Young)) by measuring the effect of mining, herbivory, and environmental modification on seed production at 5 sites on the Dave Johnston Coal Mine near Glenrock, Wyoming. Mined-land stands ranged in age from 5 to {gt} 20 years. Single sagebrush plants on mined, and adjacent unmined land were treated by: (1) fabric mulch around the base, (2) windbreak on the north and west, (3) both mulch and windbreak, and (4) neither windbreak nor mulch. Plants were fenced and compared with unfenced, untreated, neighboring plants. Seeds were harvested for 3 years and data were collected on seed-stalk numbers, bulk weight of seeds produced, and seed quality. Fenced mined-land plants produced several times more seeds than fenced plants on adjacent unmined land. There was no difference in seed quality. Treatments to modify the plant environment resulted in some benefits but fencing had a greater effect on seed-quality parameters than did planned treatments. We conclude the sagebrush seed-production potential on reclaimed lands such as those of the Dave Johnston Coal Mine is equal to, and often several times greater than that of adjacent unmined lands. However, browsing by wild ungulates can eliminate the mined-land yield advantage.

  10. 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...

  11. 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...

  12. Prescribed fire in a Great Basin sagebrush ecosystem: Dynamics of soil extractable nitrogen and phosphorus

    Science.gov (United States)

    B. M. Rau; R. R. Blank; J. C. Chambers; D. W. Johnson

    2007-01-01

    Pinyon and juniper have been expanding into sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) ecosystems since settlement of the Great Basin around 1860. Herbaceous understory vegetation is eliminated as stand densities increase and the potential for catastrophic fires increases. Prescribed fire is increasingly used to remove trees and promote recovery of sagebrush...

  13. 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...

  14. 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...

  15. 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...

  16. 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. ...

  17. Implications of longer term rest from grazing in the sagebrush steppe

    Science.gov (United States)

    K.W. Davies; M. Vavra; B. Schultz; N. Rimbey

    2014-01-01

    Longer term grazing rest has occurred or been proposed in large portions of the sagebrush steppe based on the assumption that it will improve ecosystem properties. However, information regarding the influence of longer term rest from grazing is limited and has not been summarized. We synthesized the scientific literature on long-term rest in the sagebrush steppe to...

  18. Teetering on the edge or too late? Conservation and research issues for avifauna of sagebrush habitats

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knick, Steven T.; Dobkin, David S.; Rotenberry, John T.; Schroeder, Michael A.; Vander Haegen, W. Matthew; van Riper, Charles

    2003-01-01

    Degradation, fragmentation, and loss of native sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) landscapes have imperiled these habitats and their associated avifauna. Historically, this vast piece of the Western landscape has been undervalued: even though more than 70% of all remaining sagebrush habitat in the United States is publicly owned, <3% of it is protected as federal reserves or national parks. We review the threats facing birds in sagebrush habitats to emphasize the urgency for conservation and research actions, and synthesize existing information that forms the foundation for recommended research directions. Management and conservation of birds in sagebrush habitats will require more research into four major topics: (1) identification of primary land-use practices and their influence on sagebrush habitats and birds, (2) better understanding of bird responses to habitat components and disturbance processes of sagebrush ecosystems, (3) improved hierarchical designs for surveying and monitoring programs, and (4) linking bird movements and population changes during migration and wintering periods to dynamics on the sagebrush breeding grounds. This research is essential because we already have seen that sagebrush habitats can be altered by land use, spread of invasive plants, and disrupted disturbance regimes beyond a threshold at which natural recovery is unlikely. Research on these issues should be instituted on lands managed by state or federal agencies because most lands still dominated by sagebrush are owned publicly. In addition to the challenge of understanding shrubsteppe bird-habitat dynamics, conservation of sagebrush landscapes depends on our ability to recognize and communicate their intrinsic value and on our resolve to conserve them.

  19. Influence of macronutrients and activated charcoal on intake of sagebrush by sheep and goats.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Villalba, J J; Provenza, F D; Banner, R E

    2002-08-01

    We determined if supplemental macronutrients or activated charcoal influenced intake of sagebrush, a shrub that contains terpenes. Sheep (lambs 3 mo age, 33 kg) and goats (kids 5 mo age, 28 kg) were fed supplements high in energy, high in protein, or offered a choice between the two supplements before and after receiving sagebrush for 4 h/d. The effect of activated charcoal, a compound that reduces bioavailability of toxins, was assessed by offering charcoal mixed with a carrier or the carrier alone while animals consumed sagebrush for 4 h/d. The effects of supplemental macronutirents were tested before and after charcoal supplementation. Activated charcoal did not increase intake of sagebrush by sheep or goats (P > 0.05), but supplemental macronutrients influenced intake of sagebrush by both species (P animals fed the high-protein supplement than for animals fed the high-energy supplement (P charcoal supplementation) and kids (after charcoal supplementation) offered a choice between the two supplements used sagebrush at levels comparable to animals supplemented with protein. They consumed more CP than animals fed the high-energy supplement and more ME than lambs fed the high-protein supplement (P animals to achieve a more balanced intake of macronutrients. Preference for supplement and sagebrush also depended on an animal's immediate past history with a supplement. Sheep and goats previously fed the high-energy or the high-protein supplement preferred, respectively, the high-protein or the high-energy supplement when given a choice (P < 0.05). The changes in preference for supplement caused a decreased intake of sagebrush by groups that preferred the energy concentrate, and an increased intake of sagebrush by groups that preferred the protein concentrate. Thus, supplements of different energy and protein densities consistently altered intake of sagebrush by sheep and goats.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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...

  4. 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...

  5. 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....

  6. 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

  7. Canopy growth and density of Wyoming big sagebrush sown with cool-season perennial grasses

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hild, A.L.; Schuman, G.E.; Vicklund, L.E.; Williams, M.I. [University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY (United States). Dept. for Renewable Resources

    2006-07-15

    Post-mining revegetation efforts often require grass seeding and mulch applications to stabilize the soils at the same time as shrub seeding, creating intraspecific competition between seeded shrubs and grasses that is not well understood. In 1999, we initiated a study at the Belle Ayr Coal Mine near Gillette, Wyoming, to evaluate the influence of grass competition on establishment and growth of Wyoming big sagebrush. Combinations of three sagebrush seeding rates (1, 2, and 4 kg pls ha{sup -1}) and seven cool-season perennial grass mixture seeding rates (0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 14 kg pls ha{sup -1}) were seeded during winter 1998-1999. Shrub density and grass cover were assessed from 1999 to 2004. We monitored sagebrush canopy size in 2001, 2002, and 2004. All sagebrush seeding rates provided shrub densities (>=) 1 shrub m {sup -1} after six growing seasons. Grass production (>=) 75 g m{sup -2} was achieved by seeding grasses at 6 to 8 kg pls ha{sup -1}). Canopy growth of individual sagebrush plants was least in the heaviest grass seeding rate. Reduced grass seeding rates can aid in achieving Wyoming big sagebrush density standards and enhance shrub canopy growth.

  8. Wildfire, climate, and invasive grass interactions negatively impact an indicator species by reshaping sagebrush ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coates, Peter S; Ricca, Mark A; Prochazka, Brian G; Brooks, Matthew L; Doherty, Kevin E; Kroger, Travis; Blomberg, Erik J; Hagen, Christian A; Casazza, Michael L

    2016-10-25

    Iconic sagebrush ecosystems of the American West are threatened by larger and more frequent wildfires that can kill sagebrush and facilitate invasion by annual grasses, creating a cycle that alters sagebrush ecosystem recovery post disturbance. Thwarting this accelerated grass-fire cycle is at the forefront of current national conservation efforts, yet its impacts on wildlife populations inhabiting these ecosystems have not been quantified rigorously. Within a Bayesian framework, we modeled 30 y of wildfire and climatic effects on population rates of change of a sagebrush-obligate species, the greater sage-grouse, across the Great Basin of western North America. Importantly, our modeling also accounted for variation in sagebrush recovery time post fire as determined by underlying soil properties that influence ecosystem resilience to disturbance and resistance to invasion. Our results demonstrate that the cumulative loss of sagebrush to direct and indirect effects of wildfire has contributed strongly to declining sage-grouse populations over the past 30 y at large spatial scales. Moreover, long-lasting effects from wildfire nullified pulses of sage-grouse population growth that typically follow years of higher precipitation. If wildfire trends continue unabated, model projections indicate sage-grouse populations will be reduced to 43% of their current numbers over the next three decades. Our results provide a timely example of how altered fire regimes are disrupting recovery of sagebrush ecosystems and leading to substantial declines of a widespread indicator species. Accordingly, we present scenario-based stochastic projections to inform conservation actions that may help offset the adverse effects of wildfire on sage-grouse and other wildlife populations.

  9. 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

  10. 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...

  11. 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. ...

  12. Is pile seeding Wyoming big sagebrush(Artemisia tridentata subsp. wyomingensis) an effective alternative to broadcast seeding?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sagebrush plays an important role in the ecological functions of sagebrush steppe plant communities and is a necessary component of habitat for a variety of wildlife including sage-grouse. At lower elevations, increased fire frequency associated with exotic annual grass invasion has heightened the ...

  13. 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...

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  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. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Impacts of fire on hydrology and erosion in steep mountain big sagebrush communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frederick B. Pierson; Peter R. Robichaud; Kenneth E. Spaeth; Corey A. Moffet

    2003-01-01

    Wildfire is an important ecological process and management issue on western rangelands. Major unknowns associated with wildfire are its affects on vegetation and soil conditions that influence hydrologic processes including infiltration, surface runoff, erosion, sediment transport, and flooding. Post wildfire hydrologic response was studied in big sagebrush plant...

  20. Modeling erosion on steep sagebrush rangeland before and after prescribed fire

    Science.gov (United States)

    Corey A. Moffet; Frederick B. Pierson; Kenneth E. Spaeth

    2007-01-01

    Fire in sagebrush rangelands significantly alters canopy cover, ground cover, and soil properties that influence runoff and erosion processes. Runoff is generated more quickly and a larger volume of runoff is produced following prescribed fire. The result is increased risk of severe erosion and downstream flooding. The Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP), developed...

  1. 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.

  2. A comparison of Bromus tectorum growth and mycorrhizal colonization in salt desert versus sagebrush habitat

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cheatgrass has recently invaded marginal low elevation salt desert habitats across the Great Basin, USA. We tested the hypothesis that cheatgrass seed produced in populations from the more stressful salt desert versus upland sagebrush habitats should grow differently in salt desert soils compared to...

  3. 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.

  4. Impacts of feral horse use on riparian vegetation within the sagebrush steppe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feral horses inhabit rangeland ecosystems around the world, but their impacts on riparian ecosystems are poorly understood. We characterized impacts of a free-ranging horse population on the structure and composition of riparian plant communities in the sagebrush steppe ecosystem in the western US....

  5. Extruded seed pellets: a novel approach to enhancing sagebrush seedling emergence

    Science.gov (United States)

    1. To sustain North America’s sagebrush biome novel seeding methods are required that can restore degraded landscapes after a disturbance. Seeds need to be planted at an optimal depth where moisture resources are available for seed germination yet not too deep that seedling emergence is impaired. Du...

  6. Resilience and resistance of sagebrush ecosystems: Implications for state and transition models and management treatments

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

    In sagebrush ecosystems invasion of annual exotics and expansion of pinon (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...

  7. 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...

  8. 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...

  9. Sagebrush wildfire effects on surface soil nutrient availability: A temporal and spatial study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wildfires occurring in Artemisia (sagebrush) ecosystems can temporarily increase soil nutrient availability in surface soil. Less is known, however, on how soil nutrient availability changes over time and microsite location post-wildfire. In Oct., 2013 a wildfire approximately 30 km north of Reno, N...

  10. 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,...

  11. 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...

  12. 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...

  13. Identifying key climate and environmental factors affecting rates of post-fire big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) recovery in the northern Columbia Basin, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shinneman, Douglas; McIlroy, Susan

    2016-01-01

    Sagebrush steppe of North America is considered highly imperilled, in part owing to increased fire frequency. Sagebrush ecosystems support numerous species, and it is important to understand those factors that affect rates of post-fire sagebrush recovery. We explored recovery of Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp.wyomingensis) and basin big sagebrush (A. tridentata ssp. tridentata) communities following fire in the northern Columbia Basin (Washington, USA). We sampled plots across 16 fires that burned in big sagebrush communities from 5 to 28 years ago, and also sampled nearby unburned locations. Mixed-effects models demonstrated that density of large–mature big sagebrush plants and percentage cover of big sagebrush were higher with time since fire and in plots with more precipitation during the winter immediately following fire, but were lower when precipitation the next winter was higher than average, especially on soils with higher available water supply, and with greater post-fire mortality of mature big sagebrush plants. Bunchgrass cover 5 to 28 years after fire was predicted to be lower with higher cover of both shrubs and non-native herbaceous species, and only slightly higher with time. Post-fire recovery of big sagebrush in the northern Columbia Basin is a slow process that may require several decades on average, but faster recovery rates may occur under specific site and climate conditions.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew T. Tredennick

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available Background 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. Methods 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. Results 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. Discussion Despite some evidence that ecosystem functional response became more

  17. 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

  18. 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,...

  19. Relative abundance of and composition within fungal orders differ between cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum and sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata-associated soils.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carolyn F Wiber

    Full Text Available Nonnative Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass is decimating sagebrush steppe, one of the largest ecosystems in the Western United States, and is causing regional-scale shifts in the predominant plant-fungal interactions. Sagebrush, a native perennial, hosts arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF, whereas cheatgrass, a winter annual, is a relatively poor host of AMF. This shift is likely intertwined with decreased carbon (C-sequestration in cheatgrass-invaded soils and alterations in overall soil fungal community composition and structure, but the latter remain unresolved. We examined soil fungal communities using high throughput amplicon sequencing (ribosomal large subunit gene in the 0-4 cm and 4-8 cm depth intervals of six cores from cheatgrass- and six cores from sagebrush-dominated soils. Sagebrush core surfaces (0-4 cm contained higher nitrogen and total C than cheatgrass core surfaces; these differences mirrored the presence of glomalin related soil proteins (GRSP, which has been associated with AMF activity and increased C-sequestration. Fungal richness was not significantly affected by vegetation type, depth or an interaction of the two factors. However, the relative abundance of seven taxonomic orders was significantly affected by vegetation type or the interaction between vegetation type and depth. Teloschistales, Spizellomycetales, Pezizales and Cantharellales were more abundant in sagebrush libraries and contain mycorrhizal, lichenized and basal lineages of fungi. Only two orders (Coniochaetales and Sordariales, which contain numerous economically important pathogens and opportunistic saprotrophs, were more abundant in cheatgrass libraries. Pleosporales, Agaricales, Helotiales and Hypocreales were most abundant across all libraries, but the number of genera detected within these orders was as much as 29 times lower in cheatgrass relative to sagebrush libraries. These compositional differences between fungal communities associated with cheatgrass

  20. Relative Abundance of and Composition within Fungal Orders Differ between Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) and Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)-Associated Soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weber, Carolyn F.; King, Gary M.; Aho, Ken

    2015-01-01

    Nonnative Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass) is decimating sagebrush steppe, one of the largest ecosystems in the Western United States, and is causing regional-scale shifts in the predominant plant-fungal interactions. Sagebrush, a native perennial, hosts arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), whereas cheatgrass, a winter annual, is a relatively poor host of AMF. This shift is likely intertwined with decreased carbon (C)-sequestration in cheatgrass-invaded soils and alterations in overall soil fungal community composition and structure, but the latter remain unresolved. We examined soil fungal communities using high throughput amplicon sequencing (ribosomal large subunit gene) in the 0–4 cm and 4–8 cm depth intervals of six cores from cheatgrass- and six cores from sagebrush-dominated soils. Sagebrush core surfaces (0–4 cm) contained higher nitrogen and total C than cheatgrass core surfaces; these differences mirrored the presence of glomalin related soil proteins (GRSP), which has been associated with AMF activity and increased C-sequestration. Fungal richness was not significantly affected by vegetation type, depth or an interaction of the two factors. However, the relative abundance of seven taxonomic orders was significantly affected by vegetation type or the interaction between vegetation type and depth. Teloschistales, Spizellomycetales, Pezizales and Cantharellales were more abundant in sagebrush libraries and contain mycorrhizal, lichenized and basal lineages of fungi. Only two orders (Coniochaetales and Sordariales), which contain numerous economically important pathogens and opportunistic saprotrophs, were more abundant in cheatgrass libraries. Pleosporales, Agaricales, Helotiales and Hypocreales were most abundant across all libraries, but the number of genera detected within these orders was as much as 29 times lower in cheatgrass relative to sagebrush libraries. These compositional differences between fungal communities associated with cheatgrass- and

  1. Relative abundance of and composition within fungal orders differ between cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum and sagebrush (Artemisia tridentate-associated soils.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carolyn F Weber

    Full Text Available Nonnative Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass is decimating sagebrush steppe, one of the largest ecosystems in the Western United States, and is causing regional-scale shifts in the predominant plant-fungal interactions. Sagebrush, a native perennial, hosts arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF, whereas cheatgrass, a winter annual, is a relatively poor host of AMF. This shift is likely intertwined with decreased carbon (C-sequestration in cheatgrass-invaded soils and alterations in overall soil fungal community composition and structure, but the latter remain unresolved. We examined soil fungal communities using high throughput amplicon sequencing (ribosomal large subunit gene in the 0-4 cm and 4-8 cm depth intervals of six cores from cheatgrass- and six cores from sagebrush-dominated soils. Sagebrush core surfaces (0-4 cm contained higher nitrogen and total C than cheatgrass core surfaces; these differences mirrored the presence of glomalin related soil proteins (GRSP, which has been associated with AMF activity and increased C-sequestration. Fungal richness was not significantly affected by vegetation type, depth or an interaction of the two factors. However, the relative abundance of seven taxonomic orders was significantly affected by vegetation type or the interaction between vegetation type and depth. Teloschistales, Spizellomycetales, Pezizales and Cantharellales were more abundant in sagebrush libraries and contain mycorrhizal, lichenized and basal lineages of fungi. Only two orders (Coniochaetales and Sordariales, which contain numerous economically important pathogens and opportunistic saprotrophs, were more abundant in cheatgrass libraries. Pleosporales, Agaricales, Helotiales and Hypocreales were most abundant across all libraries, but the number of genera detected within these orders was as much as 29 times lower in cheatgrass relative to sagebrush libraries. These compositional differences between fungal communities associated with cheatgrass

  2. A spatial model to prioritize sagebrush landscapes in the intermountain west (U.S.A.) for restoration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meinke, C.W.; Knick, S.T.; Pyke, D.A.

    2009-01-01

    The ecological integrity of Sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystems in the Intermountain West (U.S.A.) has been diminished by synergistic relationships among human activities, spread of invasive plants, and altered disturbance regimes. An aggressive effort to restore Sagebrush habitats is necessary if we are to stabilize or improve current habitat trajectories and reverse declining population trends of dependent wildlife. Existing economic resources, technical impediments, and logistic difficulties limit our efforts to a fraction of the extensive area undergoing fragmentation, degradation, and loss. We prioritized landscapes for restoring Sagebrush habitats within the intermountain western region of the United States using geographic information system (GIS) modeling techniques to identify areas meeting a set of conditions based on (1) optimum abiotic and biotic conditions favorable for revegetation of Sagebrush; (2) potential to increase connectivity of Sagebrush habitats in the landscape to benefit wildlife; (3) location of population strongholds for Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus, a species of conservation concern); and (4) potential impediments to successful restoration created by Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum, an invasive exotic annual grass). Approximately 5.8 million ha in southwestern Idaho, northern Nevada, and eastern Oregon met our criteria for restoring Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis) and 5.1 million ha had high priority for restoring Mountain big sagebrush (A. tridentata ssp. vaseyana). Our results represent an integral component in a hierarchical framework after which site-specific locations for treatments can be focused within high-priority areas. Using this approach, long-term restoration strategies can be implemented that combine local-scale treatments and objectives with large-scale ecological processes and priorities. ?? 2008 Society for Ecological Restoration International.

  3. 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

  4. 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....

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Garrison Project - Lake Sakakawea Oil and Gas Management Plan, North Dakota

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-11-01

    curtatus Sagebrush vole Lutra canadensis River otter Mustela nigripes Black-footed ferret Myotis ciliolabrum...BULK UNIT COEFFICIENTS OF ACTIVE, MATERIAL TYPE WEIGHT AT-REST AND PASSIVE STATES ( pet ) Ka Ko K* p Natural Cohesive Soils 125 0.36 0.53 2.7

  8. 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.

  9. Pinyon and juniper encroachment into sagebrush ecosystems impacts distribution and survival of greater sage-grouse

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coates, Peter S.; Prochazka, Brian; Ricca, Mark; Gustafson, K. Ben; Ziegler, Pilar T.; Casazza, Michael L.

    2017-01-01

    In sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystems, encroachment of pinyon (Pinus spp.) and juniper (Juniperus spp.; hereafter, “pinyon-juniper”) trees has increased dramatically since European settlement. Understanding the impacts of this encroachment on behavioral decisions, distributions, and population dynamics of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and other sagebrush obligate species could help benefit sagebrush ecosystem management actions. We employed a novel two-stage Bayesian model that linked avoidance across different levels of pinyon-juniper cover to sage-grouse survival. Our analysis relied on extensive telemetry data collected across 6 yr and seven subpopulations within the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment (DPS), on the border of Nevada and California. The first model stage indicated avoidance behavior for all canopy cover classes on average, but individual grouse exhibited a high degree of heterogeneity in avoidance behavior of the lowest cover class (e.g., scattered isolated trees). The second stage modeled survival as a function of estimated avoidance parameters and indicated increased survival rates for individuals that exhibited avoidance of the lowest cover class. A post hoc frailty analysis revealed the greatest increase in hazard (i.e., mortality risk) occurred in areas with scattered isolated trees consisting of relatively high primary plant productivity. Collectively, these results provide clear evidence that local sage-grouse distributions and demographic rates are influenced by pinyon-juniper, especially in habitats with higher primary productivity but relatively low and seemingly benign tree cover. Such areas may function as ecological traps that convey attractive resources but adversely affect population vital rates. To increase sage-grouse survival, our model predictions support reducing actual pinyon-juniper cover as low as 1.5%, which is lower than the published target of 4.0%. These results may represent effects of pinyon

  10. 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

  11. Net erosion on a sagebrush steppe landscape as determined by cesium-137 distribution

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Coppinger, K.D.; Reiners, W.A.; Burke, I.C.; Olson, R.K.

    1991-01-01

    Soil erosion plays a major role in structuring landscapes of semiarid regions. The purpose of this study was to examine patterns and assess transport mechanisms of soil erosion and deposition in a native sagebrush steppe landscape in south central Wyoming using 137 Cs. Six landscape units were identified using a cluster analysis based on four landscape variables. Cesium-137 values varied little among landscape units, suggesting that intermediate-scale (approximately 100 m) fluvial and eolian soil transport is unimportant in this system during the time since bomb-test 137 Cs deposition occurred. In contrast, analysis of variance showed that, on windswept landscape positions, 137 Cs was significantly higher under shrubs than between them. These differences suggest that wind-driven redistribution has occurred at a small scale (0.5-10 m). Even though 137 Cs data indicate that intermediate-scale transport is not occurring, analysis of the soil fine fraction across the landscape shows net transport of fines downslope, suggesting that, in this sagebrush ecosystem, soil distribution by fluvial erosion occurs too slowly to be determined by 137 Cs

  12. 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...

  13. The importance of floristics to sagebrush breeding birds of the south Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys, British Columbia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Susan Paczek; Pam Krannitz

    2005-01-01

    Habitat associations were determined for five species of songbirds breeding in sagebrush habitat of the South Okanagan and Similkameen valleys, British Columbia. We examined the relative importance of plant species versus “total forbs” and “total grasses” at a local level (<100 m) with point counts and vegetation survey...

  14. 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...

  15. Projections of contemporary and future climate niche for Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentate subsp. wyomingensis): A guide for restoration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shannon M. Still; Bryce A. Richardson

    2015-01-01

    Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) is one of the most widespread and abundant plant species in the intermountain regions of western North America. This species occupies an extremely wide ecological niche ranging from the semi-arid basins to the subalpine. Within this large niche, three widespread subspecies are recognized. Montane ecoregions are occupied by...

  16. 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

  17. Connecting pattern and process in greater sage-grouse populations and sagebrush landscapes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knick, Steven T.; Hanser, Steven E.; Knick, Steven T.; Connelly, John W.

    2011-01-01

    Abstract. Spatial patterns influence the processes that maintain Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) populations and sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) landscapes on which they depend. We used connectivity analyses to: (1) delineate the dominant pattern of sagebrush landscapes; (2) identify regions of the current range-wide distribution of Greater Sage-Grouse important for conservation; (3) estimate distance thresholds that potentially isolate populations; and (4) understand how landscape pattern, environmental disturbance, or location within the spatial network influenced lek persistence during a population decline. Long-term viability of sagebrush, assessed from its dominance in relatively unfragmented landscapes, likely is greatest in south-central Oregon and northwest Nevada; the Owyhee region of southeast Oregon, southwest Idaho, and northern Nevada; southwest Wyoming; and south-central Wyoming. The most important leks (breeding locations) for maintaining connectivity, characterized by higher counts of sage-grouse and connections with other leks, were within the core regions of the sage-grouse range. Sage-grouse populations presently have the highest levels of connectivity in the Wyoming Basin and lowest in the Columbia Basin Sage-Grouse management zones (SMZs). Leks separated by distances 13-18 km could be isolated due to decreased probability of dispersals from neighboring leks. The range-wide distribution of sage-grouse was clustered into 209 separate components (units in which leks were interconnected within but not among) when dispersal was limited to distances 18 km. The most important components for maintaining connectivity were distributed across the central and eastern regions of the range-wide distribution. Connectivity among sage-grouse populations was lost during population declines from 1965-1979 to 1998-2007, most dramatically in the Columbia Basin SMZ. Leks that persisted during this period were larger in size, were more highly connected

  18. 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

  19. Quantifying and predicting fuels and the effects of reduction treatments along successional and invasion gradients in sagebrush habitats

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shinneman, Douglas; Pilliod, David S.; Arkle, Robert; Glenn, Nancy F.

    2015-01-01

    Sagebrush shrubland ecosystems in the Great Basin are prime examples of how altered successional trajectories can create dynamic fuel conditions and, thus, increase uncertainty about fire risk and behavior. Although fire is a natural disturbance in sagebrush, post-fire environments are highly susceptible to conversion to an invasive grass-fire regime (often referred to as a “grass-fire cycle”). After fire, native shrub-steppe plants are often slow to regenerate, whereas nonnative annuals, especially cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) and medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae), can establish quickly and outcompete native species. Once fire-prone annuals become established, fire occurrences increase, further promoting dominance of nonnative species. The invasive grass-fire regime also alters nutrient and hydrologic cycles, pushing ecosystems beyond ecological thresholds toward steady-state, fire-prone, nonnative communities. These changes affect millions of hectares in the Great Basin and increase fire risk, decrease habitat quality and biodiversity, accelerate soil erosion, and degrade rangeland resources for livestock production. In many sagebrush landscapes, constantly changing plant communities and fuel conditions hinder attempts by land managers to predict and control fire behavior, restore native communities, and provide ecosystem services (e.g., forage production for livestock). We investigated successional and nonnative plant invasion states and associated fuel loads in degraded sagebrush habitat in a focal study area, the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area (hereafter the NCA), in the Snake River Plain Ecoregion of southern Idaho. We expanded our inference by comparing our findings to similar data collected throughout seven major land resource areas (MLRAs) across the Great Basin (JFSP Project “Fire Rehabilitation Effectiveness: A Chronosequence Approach for the Great Basin” [09-S-02-1]). 4 We used a combination of field

  20. 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.

  1. Region-wide ecological responses of arid Wyoming big sagebrush communities to fuel treatments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pyke, David A.; Shaff, Scott E.; Lindgren, Andrew I.; Schupp, Eugene W.; Doescher, Paul S.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Burnham, Jeffrey S.; Huso, Manuela M.

    2014-01-01

    If arid sagebrush ecosystems lack resilience to disturbances or resistance to annual invasives, then alternative successional states dominated by annual invasives, especially cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.), are likely after fuel treatments. We identified six Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis Beetle & Young) locations (152–381 mm precipitation) that we believed had sufficient resilience and resistance for recovery. We examined impacts of woody fuel reduction (fire, mowing, the herbicide tebuthiuron, and untreated controls, all with and without the herbicide imazapic) on short-term dominance of plant groups and on important land health parameters with the use of analysis of variance (ANOVA). Fire and mowing reduced woody biomass at least 85% for 3 yr, but herbaceous fuels were reduced only by fire (72%) and only in the first year. Herbaceous fuels produced at least 36% more biomass with mowing than untreated areas during posttreatment years. Imazapic only reduced herbaceous biomass after fires (34%). Tebuthiuron never affected herbaceous biomass. Perennial tall grass cover was reduced by 59% relative to untreated controls in the first year after fire, but it recovered by the second year. Cover of all remaining herbaceous groups was not changed by woody fuel treatments. Only imazapic reduced significantly herbaceous cover. Cheatgrass cover was reduced at least 63% with imazapic for 3 yr. Imazapic reduced annual forb cover by at least 45%, and unexpectedly, perennial grass cover by 49% (combination of tall grasses and Sandberg bluegrass [Poa secunda J. Presl.]). Fire reduced density of Sandberg bluegrass between 40% and 58%, decreased lichen and moss cover between 69% and 80%, and consequently increased bare ground between 21% and 34% and proportion of gaps among perennial plants > 2 m (at least 28% during the 3 yr). Fire, mowing, and imazapic may be effective in reducing fuels for 3 yr, but each has potentially undesirable consequences

  2. 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

  3. Habitat use and food selection of small mammals near a sagebrush/crested wheatgrass interface in southeastern Idaho

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Koehler, D.K.; Anderson, S.H.

    1991-01-01

    Research has been conducted on various aspects of the ecology of wildlife residing on and adjacent to the Subsurface Disposal Area (SDA) and one other low-level radioactive waste disposal site on the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL) in southeastern Idaho. Habitat use and food selection data were collected for deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus), montane voles (Microtus montanus), Ord's kangaroo rats (Dipodomys ordii), and Townsend's ground squirrels (Spermophilus townsendii) near a sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)/crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum) interface. Significantly more captures occurred in the native sagebrush habitat than in areas planted in crested wheatgrass or in disturbed sites. Crested wheatgrass, a prolific seed producer, still accounted for over 30% of the total captures. Montane voles and Townsend's ground squirrels (during periods of aboveground activity) used the crested wheatgrass habitat throughout the summer, while deer mice and Ord's kangaroo rats exhibited heavy use after seed set

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. Characteristics of modern pollen rain and the relationship to vegetation in sagebrush-steppe environments of Montana, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Briles, C.; Bryant, V.

    2010-12-01

    Variations in pollen production and dispersal characteristics among plant species complicate our ability to determine direct relationships between deposited pollen and actual vegetation. In order to better understand modern pollen-vegetation relationships, we analyzed pollen from 61 samples taken from sagebrush-steppe environments across Montana and compared them with the actual vegetation composition at each site. We also determined to what degree sagebrush-steppe communities can be geographically distinguished from one another based on their pollen signature. Pollen preservation was good, especially in wetter environments, with pollen degradataion ranging from 4-15%. Diploxylon Pinus was the primary contributor to the pollen rain, even in plots where pine trees did not occur or were several kilometers from the plot. Artemisia and grass pollen are underrepresented in the soils samples, while Chenopodiaceae and Juniperus pollen are overrepresented when compared to actual vegetation composition. Insect-pollinated species are present only in very minor amounts in the soil samples, even though some (e.g., Brassica) are abundant in the plots. In general, pollen spectra show significant differences between regions, however, within each region the individual spectra are not statistically significant from one another. An understanding of modern pollen-vegetation relationships and the palynological “fingerprint” of sagebrush-steppe communities aid in climatic and ecological interpretations of fossil pollen assemblages. The data also provide important control samples for forensics studies that use pollen to geolocate an object or person to a crime scene.

  8. 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...

  9. 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...

  10. 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...

  11. 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

  12. Sexual selection on cuticular hydrocarbons of male sagebrush crickets in the wild.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steiger, Sandra; Ower, Geoffrey D; Stökl, Johannes; Mitchell, Christopher; Hunt, John; Sakaluk, Scott K

    2013-12-22

    Cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) play an essential role in mate recognition in insects but the form and intensity of sexual selection on CHCs has only been evaluated in a handful of studies, and never in a natural population. We quantified sexual selection operating on CHCs in a wild population of sagebrush crickets, a species in which nuptial feeding by females imposes an unambiguous phenotypic marker on males. Multivariate selection analysis revealed a saddle-shaped fitness surface, suggesting a complex interplay between the total abundance of CHCs and specific CHC combinations in their influence on female choice. The fitness surface resulting from two axes of disruptive selection reflected a trade-off between short- and long-chained CHCs, suggesting that males may be sacrificing some level of desiccation resistance in favour of increased attractiveness. There was a significant correlation between male body size and total CHC abundance, suggesting that male CHCs provide females with a reliable cue for maximizing benefits obtained from males. Notwithstanding the conspicuousness of males' acoustic signals, our results suggest that selection imposed on males via female mating preferences may be far more complex than previously appreciated and operating in multiple sensory modalities.

  13. Multivariate sexual selection on male tegmina in wild populations of sagebrush crickets, Cyphoderris strepitans (Orthoptera: Haglidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ower, G D; Hunt, J; Sakaluk, S K

    2017-02-01

    Although the strength and form of sexual selection on song in male crickets have been studied extensively, few studies have examined selection on the morphological structures that underlie variation in males' song, particularly in wild populations. Geometric morphometric techniques were used to measure sexual selection on the shape, size and symmetry of both top and bottom tegmina in wild populations of sagebrush crickets, a species in which nuptial feeding by females imposes an unambiguous phenotypic marker on males. The size of the tegmina negatively covaried with song dominant frequency and positively covaried with song pulse duration. Sexual selection was more intense on the bottom tegmen, conceivably because it interacts more freely with the subtegminal airspace, which may play a role in song amplification. An expanded coastal/subcostal region was one of the phenotypes strongly favoured by disruptive selection on the bottom tegmen, an adaptation that may form a more effective seal with the thorax to prevent noise cancellation. Directional selection also favoured increased symmetry in tegminal shape. Assuming more symmetrical males are better able to buffer against developmental noise, the song produced by these males may make them more attractive to females. Despite the strong stabilizing selection documented previously on the dominant frequency of the song, stabilizing selection on the resonator that regulates dominant frequency was surprisingly absent. Nonetheless, wing morphology had an important influence on song structure and appears to be subject to significant linear and nonlinear sexual selection through female mate choice. © 2016 European Society For Evolutionary Biology. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2016 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.

  14. Large herbivores in sagebrush steppe ecosystems: livestock and wild ungulates influence structure and function.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manier, Daniel J; Hobbs, N Thompson

    2007-07-01

    Improving understanding of the connections between vegetation, herbivory, and ecosystem function offers a fundamental challenge in contemporary terrestrial ecology. Using exclosures constructed during the late 1950s, we examined effects of grazing by wild and domestic herbivores on plant community structure, aboveground herbaceous primary production, and nutrient cycling at six sites in semi-arid, sagebrush rangelands during 2001-2002 in Colorado, USA. Enclosures provided three treatments: no grazing, grazing by wild ungulates only, and grazing by wild and domestic ungulates. Excluding all grazing caused an increase in shrub cover (F = 4.97, P = 0.033) and decrease in bare ground (F = 4.74, P = 0.037), but also a decrease in plant species richness (F = 6.19, P = 0.018) and plant diversity (F = 7.93, P = 0.008). Effects of wild ungulate grazing on plant cover and diversity were intermediate to the effects of combined domestic and wild grazing. Aboveground net primary production was higher in both grazed treatments than in the ungrazed one (F(wild + domestic) = 2.98, P = 0.0936 and F(wild only) = 3.55, P = 0.0684). We were unable to detect significant effects of grazing on other ecosystem states and processes including C:N ratios of standing crops, N mineralization potential, or nitrification potential. Best approximating models revealed positive correlation between N availability and herbaceous cover and a negative correlation between herbaceous primary production and the ratio of shrub-herb cover and plant diversity. We conclude that ungulate herbivory, including both wild and domestic ungulates, had significant effects on plant community structure and ecosystem function during this 42-year span. Responses to the wild ungulate treatment were consistently intermediate to responses to the no grazing and wild + domestic grazing treatments. However, we were unable to detect statistical difference between effects of wild ungulates alone and wild ungulates in combination

  15. Geology and mineral resources of the North-Central Idaho Sagebrush Focal Area: Chapter C in Mineral resources of the Sagebrush Focal Areas of Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lund, Karen; Zürcher, Lukas; Hofstra, Albert H.; Van Gosen, Bradley S.; Benson, Mary Ellen; Box, Stephen E.; Anderson, Eric D.; Bleiwas, Donald I.; DeAngelo, Jacob; Drake, Ronald M.; Fernette, Gregory L.; Giles, Stuart A.; Glen, Jonathan M. G.; Haacke, Jon E.; Horton, John D.; John, David A.; Robinson, Gilpin R.; Rockwell, Barnaby W.; San Juan, Carma A.; Shaffer, Brian N.; Smith, Steven M.; Williams, Colin F.

    2016-10-04

    SummaryThe U.S. Department of the Interior has proposed to withdraw approximately 10 million acres of Federal lands from mineral entry (subject to valid existing rights) from 12 million acres of lands defined as Sagebrush Focal Areas (SFAs) in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming (for further discussion on the lands involved see Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5089–A). The purpose of the proposed action is to protect the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and its habitat from potential adverse effects of locatable mineral exploration and mining. The U.S. Geological Survey Sagebrush Mineral-Resource Assessment (SaMiRA) project was initiated in November 2015 and supported by the Bureau of Land Management to (1) assess locatable mineral-resource potential and (2) to describe leasable and salable mineral resources for the seven SFAs and Nevada additions.This chapter summarizes the current status of locatable, leasable, and salable mineral commodities and assesses the potential of locatable minerals in the North-Central Idaho SFA, which extends from east-central to south-central Idaho. The geologically complex area is composed of many different rock units that locally contain potential mineral resources.

  16. Geology and mineral resources of the North-Central Montana Sagebrush Focal Area: Chapter D in Mineral resources of the Sagebrush Focal Areas of Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mauk, Jeffrey L.; Zientek, Michael L.; Hearn, B. Carter; Parks, Heather L.; Jenkins, M. Christopher; Anderson, Eric D.; Benson, Mary Ellen; Bleiwas, Donald I.; DeAngelo, Jacob; Denning, Paul; Dicken, Connie L.; Drake, Ronald M.; Fernette, Gregory L.; Folger, Helen W.; Giles, Stuart A.; Glen, Jonathan M. G.; Granitto, Matthew; Haacke, Jon E.; Horton, John D.; Kelley, Karen D.; Ober, Joyce A.; Rockwell, Barnaby W.; San Juan, Carma A.; Sangine, Elizabeth S.; Schweitzer, Peter N.; Shaffer, Brian N.; Smith, Steven M.; Williams, Colin F.; Yager, Douglas B.

    2016-10-04

    SummaryThe U.S. Department of the Interior has proposed to withdraw approximately 10 million acres of Federal lands from mineral entry (subject to valid existing rights) from 12 million acres of lands defined as Sagebrush Focal Areas (SFAs) in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming (for further discussion on the lands involved see Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5089–A). The purpose of the proposed action is to protect the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and its habitat from potential adverse effects of locatable mineral exploration and mining. The U.S. Geological Survey Sagebrush Mineral-Resource Assessment (SaMiRA) project was initiated in November 2015 and supported by the Bureau of Land Management to (1) assess locatable mineral-resource potential and (2) to describe leasable and salable mineral resources for the seven SFAs and Nevada additions.This chapter summarizes the current status of locatable, leasable, and salable mineral commodities and assesses the potential of locatable minerals in the North-Central Montana SFA. The proposed withdrawal area that is evaluated in this report is located in north-central Montana, and includes parts of Fergus, Petroleum, Phillips, and Valley Counties.

  17. Forb, Insect, and Soil Response to Burning and Mowing Wyoming Big Sagebrush in Greater Sage-Grouse Breeding Habitat

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hess, Jennifer E.; Beck, Jeffrey L.

    2014-04-01

    Wyoming big sagebrush ( Artemisia tridentata wyomingensis A. t. Nutt. ssp. wyomingensis Beetle and Young) communities provide structure and forbs and insects needed by greater sage-grouse ( Centrocercus urophasianus) for growth and survival. We evaluated forb, insect, and soil responses at six mowed and 19 prescribed burned sites compared to 25, paired and untreated reference sites. Sites were classified by treatment type, soil type, season, and decade of treatment (sites burned during 1990-1999 and sites burned or mowed during 2000-2006). Our objective was to evaluate differences in ten habitat attributes known to influence sage-grouse nesting and brood rearing to compare responses among treatment scenarios. Contrary to desired outcomes, treating Wyoming big sagebrush through prescribed burning or mowing may not stimulate cover or increase nutrition in food forbs, or increase insect abundance or indicators of soil quality compared with reference sites. In some cases, prescribed burning showed positive results compared with mowing such as greater forb crude protein content (%), ant (Hymenoptera; no./trap), beetle (Coleoptera/no./trap), and grasshopper abundance (Orthoptera; no./sweep), and total (%) soil carbon and nitrogen, but of these attributes, only grasshopper abundance was enhanced at burned sites compared with reference sites in 2008. Mowing did not promote a statistically significant increase in sage-grouse nesting or early brood-rearing habitat attributes such as cover or nutritional quality of food forbs, or counts of ants, beetles, or grasshoppers compared with reference sites.

  18. 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-02-14

    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 urophasianus) depends on large landscapes of intact habitat of sagebrush and perennial grasses for their existence. In addition, other sagebrush-obligate animals 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 sagebrush-obligate animals, livestock, and wild horses, and to provide ecosystem services for humans now and for future generations.When a decision is made on where restoration treatments should be applied, there are a number of site-specific decisions managers face before selecting the appropriate type of restoration. This site-level decision tool for restoration of sagebrush steppe ecosystems is organized in nine steps.Step 1 describes the process of defining site-level restoration objectives.Step 2 describes the ecological site characteristics of the restoration site. This covers soil chemistry and texture, soil moisture and temperature regimes, and the vegetation communities the site is capable of supporting.Step 3 compares the current vegetation to the plant communities associated with the site State and Transition models.Step 4 takes the manager through the process of current land uses and past disturbances that may influence restoration success.Step 5 is a brief discussion of how weather before and after treatments may impact restoration success.Step 6 addresses restoration treatment types and their potential positive and negative impacts on the ecosystem and on habitats, especially for greater sage

  20. Geology and mineral resources of the Southwestern and South-Central Wyoming Sagebrush Focal Area, Wyoming, and the Bear River Watershed Sagebrush Focal Area, Wyoming and Utah: Chapter E in Mineral resources of the Sagebrush Focal Areas of Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Anna B.; Hayes, Timothy S.; Benson, Mary Ellen; Yager, Douglas B.; Anderson, Eric D.; Bleiwas, Donald I.; DeAngelo, Jacob; Dicken, Connie L.; Drake, Ronald M.; Fernette, Gregory L.; Giles, Stuart A.; Glen, Jonathan M. G.; Haacke, Jon E.; Horton, John D.; Parks, Heather L.; Rockwell, Barnaby W.; Williams, Colin F.

    2016-10-04

    SummaryThe U.S. Department of the Interior has proposed to withdraw approximately 10 million acres of Federal lands from mineral entry (subject to valid existing rights) from 12 million acres of lands defined as Sagebrush Focal Areas (SFAs) in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming (for further discussion on the lands involved see Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5089–A). The purpose of the proposed action is to protect the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and its habitat from potential adverse effects of locatable mineral exploration and mining. The U.S. Geological Survey Sagebrush Mineral-Resource Assessment (SaMiRA) project was initiated in November 2015 and supported by the Bureau of Land Management to (1) assess locatable mineral-resource potential and (2) to describe leasable and salable mineral resources for the seven SFAs and Nevada additions.This chapter summarizes the current status of locatable, leasable, and salable mineral commodities and assesses the potential of locatable minerals in the Southwestern and South-Central Wyoming and Bear River Watershed, Wyoming and Utah, SFAs.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  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, 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, Steve; 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Predicting foundation bunchgrass species abundances: Model-assisted decision-making in protected-area sagebrush steppe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodhouse, Thomas J.; Irvine, Kathryn M.; Sheley, Roger L.; Smith, Brenda S.; Hoh, Shirley; Esposito, Daniel M.; Mata-Gonzalez, Ricardo

    2014-01-01

    Foundation species are structurally dominant members of ecological communities that can stabilize ecological processes and influence resilience to disturbance and resistance to invasion. Being common, they are often overlooked for conservation but are increasingly threatened from land use change, biological invasions, and over-exploitation. The pattern of foundation species abundances over space and time may be used to guide decision-making, particularly in protected areas for which they are iconic. We used ordinal logistic regression to identify the important environmental influences on the abundance patterns of bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata), Thurber's needlegrass (Achnatherum thurberianum), and Sandberg bluegrass (Poa secunda) in protected-area sagebrush steppe. We then predicted bunchgrass abundances along gradients of topography, disturbance, and invasive annual grass abundance. We used model predictions to prioritize the landscape for implementation of a management and restoration decision-support tool. Models were fit to categorical estimates of grass cover obtained from an extensive ground-based monitoring dataset. We found that remnant stands of abundant wheatgrass and bluegrass were associated with steep north-facing slopes in higher and more remote portions of the landscape outside of recently burned areas where invasive annual grasses were less abundant. These areas represented only 25% of the landscape and were prioritized for protection efforts. Needlegrass was associated with south-facing slopes, but in low abundance and in association with invasive cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum). Abundances of all three species were strongly negatively correlated with occurrence of another invasive annual grass, medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae). The rarity of priority bunchgrass stands underscored the extent of degradation and the need for prioritization. We found no evidence that insularity reduced invasibility; annual grass invasion represents

  10. Using resilience and resistance concepts to manage persistent threats to sagebrush ecosystems and greater sage-grouse

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chambers, Jeanne C.; Maestas, Jeremy D.; Pyke, David A.; Boyd, Chad S.; Pellant, Mike; Wuenschel, Amarina

    2017-01-01

    Conservation of imperiled species often demands addressing a complex suite of threats that undermine species viability. Regulatory approaches, such as the US Endangered Species Act (1973), tend to focus on anthropogenic threats through adoption of policies and regulatory mechanisms. However, persistent ecosystem-based threats, such as invasive species and altered disturbance regimes, remain critical issues for most at-risk species considered to be conservation-reliant. We describe an approach for addressing persistent ecosystem threats to at-risk species based on ecological resilience and resistance concepts that is currently being used to conserve greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus)and sagebrush ecosystems. The approach links biophysical indicators of ecosystem resilience and resistance with species-specific population and habitat requisites in a risk-based framework to identify priority areas for management and guide allocation of resources to manage persistent ecosystem-based threats. US federal land management and natural resource agencies have adopted this framework as a foundation for prioritizing sage-grouse conservation resources and determining effective restoration and management strategies. Because threats and strategies to address them cross-cut program areas, an integrated approach that includes wildland fire operations, postfire rehabilitation, fuels management, and habitat restoration is being used. We believe this approach is applicable to species conservation in other largely intact ecosystems with persistent, ecosystem-based threats.

  11. A warmer and drier climate in the northern sagebrush biome does not promote cheatgrass invasion or change its response to fire.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Larson, Christian D; Lehnhoff, Erik A; Rew, Lisa J

    2017-12-01

    Dryland shrub communities have been degraded by a range of disturbances and now face additional stress from global climate change. The spring/summer growing season of the North American sagebrush biome is projected to become warmer and drier, which is expected to facilitate the expansion of the invasive annual grass Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass) and alter its response to fire in the northern extent of the biome. We tested these predictions with a factorial experiment with two levels of burning (spring burn and none) and three climate treatments (warming, warming + drying, and control) that was repeated over 3 years in a Montana sagebrush steppe. We expected the climate treatments to make B. tectorum more competitive with the native perennial grass community, especially Pseudoroegneria spicata, and alter its response to fire. Experimental warming and warming + drying reduced B. tectorum cover, biomass, and fecundity, but there was no response to fire except for fecundity, which increased; the native grass community was the most significant factor that affected B. tectorum metrics. The experimental climate treatments also negatively affected P. spicata, total native grass cover, and community biodiversity, while fire negatively affected total native grass cover, particularly when climate conditions were warmer and drier. Our short-term results indicate that without sufficient antecedent moisture and a significant disruption to the native perennial grass community, a change in climate to a warmer and drier spring/summer growing season in the northern sagebrush biome will not facilitate B. tectorum invasion or alter its response to fire.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. Annual grass invasion in sagebrush-steppe: The relative importance of climate, soil properties and biotic interactions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bansal, Sheel; Sheley, Roger L.

    2016-01-01

    The invasion by winter-annual grasses (AGs) such as Bromus tectorum into sagebrush steppe throughout the western USA is a classic example of a biological invasion with multiple, interacting climate, soil and biotic factors driving the invasion, although few studies have examined all components together. Across a 6000-km2 area of the northern Great Basin, we conducted a field assessment of 100 climate, soil, and biotic (functional group abundances, diversity) factors at each of 90 sites that spanned an invasion gradient ranging from 0 to 100 % AG cover. We first determined which biotic and abiotic factors had the strongest correlative relationships with AGs and each resident functional group. We then used regression and structural equation modeling to explore how multiple ecological factors interact to influence AG abundance. Among biotic interactions, we observed negative relationships between AGs and biodiversity, perennial grass cover, resident species richness, biological soil crust cover and shrub density, whereas perennial and annual forb cover, tree cover and soil microbial biomass had no direct linkage to AG. Among abiotic factors, AG cover was strongly related to climate (increasing cover with increasing temperature and aridity), but had weak relationships with soil factors. Our structural equation model showed negative effects of perennial grasses and biodiversity on AG cover while integrating the negative effects of warmer climate and positive influence of belowground processes on resident functional groups. Our findings illustrate the relative importance of biotic interactions and climate on invasive abundance, while soil properties appear to have stronger relationships with resident biota than with invasives.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knick, Steven T.; Hanser, Steve; 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Geology and mineral resources of the Sheldon-Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex (Oregon and Nevada), the Southeastern Oregon and North-Central Nevada, and the Southern Idaho and Northern Nevada (and Utah) Sagebrush Focal Areas: Chapter B in Mineral resources of the Sagebrush Focal Areas of Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vikre, Peter G.; Benson, Mary Ellen; Bleiwas, Donald I.; Colgan, Joseph P.; Cossette, Pamela M.; DeAngelo, Jacob; Dicken, Connie L.; Drake, Ronald M.; du Bray, Edward A.; Fernette, Gregory L.; Glen, Jonathan M.G.; Haacke, Jon E.; Hall, Susan M.; Hofstra, Albert H.; John, David A.; Ludington, Stephen; Mihalasky, Mark J.; Rytuba, James J.; Shaffer, Brian N.; Stillings, Lisa L.; Wallis, John C.; Williams, Colin F.; Yager, Douglas B.; Zürcher, Lukas

    2016-10-04

    SummaryThe U.S. Department of the Interior has proposed to withdraw approximately 10 million acres of Federal lands from mineral entry (subject to valid existing rights) from 12 million acres of lands defined as Sagebrush Focal Areas (SFAs) in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming (for further discussion on the lands involved see Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5089–A). The purpose of the proposed action is to protect the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and its habitat from potential adverse effects of locatable mineral exploration and mining. The U.S. Geological Survey Sagebrush Mineral-Resource Assessment (SaMiRA) project was initiated in November 2015 and supported by the Bureau of Land Management to (1) assess locatable mineral-resource potential and (2) to describe leasable and salable mineral resources for the seven SFAs and Nevada additions.This chapter summarizes the current status of locatable, leasable, and salable mineral commodities and assesses the potential of selected locatable minerals in lands proposed for withdrawal that span the Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, and Utah borders. In this report, the four study areas evaluated were (1) the Sheldon-Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex SFA in Washoe County, Nevada, and Harney and Lake Counties, Oregon; (2) the Southeastern Oregon and North-Central Nevada SFA in Humboldt County, Nevada, and Harney and Malheur Counties, Oregon; (3) the Southern Idaho and Northern Nevada SFA in Cassia, Owyhee, and Twin Falls Counties, Idaho, Elko County, Nevada, and Box Elder County, Utah; and (4) the Nevada additions in Humboldt and Elko Counties, Nevada.

  19. Continuous Field Vegetation Classification of a Sagebrush (Artemesia spp.) Dominated Ecosystem Using High Spatial-Resolution Multi-spectral Satellite Imagery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buchert, M. P.; White, M.

    2006-12-01

    Global change scientists have grown increasingly interested over the past decade in continuous field vegetation mapping, whereby remotely sensed imagery is processed to yield a data product whose pixel values represent the percent of ground element land area covered by vegetative canopy. The continuous field approach offers distinct benefits over older discrete classification approaches, but current methods developed for production of global tree cover data sets are biased in favor of taller, denser vegetation and misrepresent percent cover of woody shrubs, the dominant vegetation throughout large reaches of North America's Intermountain West. The underperformance of current methods in accurately representing shrub cover is of significant interest to conservation biologists, as shrub-steppe ecosystems dominated by sagebrush (Artemesia spp.) are among the most threatened habitats in North America. We report on our efforts to generate percent-cover vegetation classifications for shrub, herbaceous, and bare land cover classes for study sites in northeastern Nevada and northeastern Utah, using 4m multi-spectral satellite imagery, a regression-tree classification method, and ground-collected reference data. Continuous field vegetation cover data are typically used as inputs to carbon cycling models, but we anticipate that at the fine grain of our dataset, such data will also be useful in ecological and conservation biological applications. In this vein, we demonstrate the applicability of high resolution shrub percent-cover data to habitat modeling efforts for threatened sage-obligate species.

  20. 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.

  1. 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...

  2. 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

  3. Aeolian Nutrient Fluxes Following Wildfire in Sagebrush Steppe: Implications for Soil Carbon Storage

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-12-14

    Geographic Science Center and USA-National Phenology Network, 1955 E 6th St, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA ****current address: Faculty of Agriculture, Food...mean±SE of non-transformed data). All sta- tistical analyses were performed using SPSS statistical soft- ware ( SPSS Inc., v 16.0, 2007). 3 Results...nutrient data and Jeremy Greth assisted in soil analyses. Edited by: M. Bahn www.biogeosciences.net/8/3649/2011/ Biogeosciences, 8, 3649–3659, 2011 3658 N

  4. 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...

  5. 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.

  6. 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...

  7. Contrasting effects of wild and domestic ungulates on sagebrush plant communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Herbivory by both domestic livestock and native wild ungulates shapes the structure and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems worldwide, and both types of herbivory have been implicated in major ecosystem state changes. Despite the ecological consequences of differences in diets and feeding habits a...

  8. Integrating livestock production and wildlife in a sagebrush-grass ecosystem

    Science.gov (United States)

    Michael L. Wolfe; Gregg E. Simonds; Rick Danvir; William J. Hopkin

    1996-01-01

    Management of a 775-km2, privately-owned ranch in northeastern Utah exemplifies a progressive approach to utilizing domestic livestock and wild ungulates, elk (Cervus elaphus), mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), and pronghorn (Antilocapra americana), for economic return while maintaining or enhancing land health. The management program on the Deseret Ranch includes the...

  9. 75 FR 77801 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Endangered Status for Dunes Sagebrush Lizard

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-12-14

    ... thermoregulation; behavior modification; and direct mortality due to collisions (Jaeger et al. 2005, p. 329...) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of the species' habitat or range... threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (B) overutilization for...

  10. Methodological considerations of terrestrial laser scanning for vegetation monitoring in the sagebrush steppe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, Kyle E.; Glenn, Nancy; Spaete, Lucas; Shinneman, Douglas; Pilliod, David S.; Arkle, Robert; McIlroy, Susan; Derryberry, DeWayne R.

    2017-01-01

    Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) provides fast collection of high-definition structural information, making it a valuable field instrument to many monitoring applications. A weakness of TLS collections, especially in vegetation, is the occurrence of unsampled regions in point clouds where the sensor’s line-of-sight is blocked by intervening material. This problem, referred to as occlusion, may be mitigated by scanning target areas from several positions, increasing the chance that any given area will fall within the scanner’s line-of-sight from at least one position. Because TLS collections are often employed in remote regions where the scope of sampling is limited by logistical factors such as time and battery power, it is important to design field protocols which maximize efficiency and support increased quantity and quality of the data collected. This study informs researchers and practitioners seeking to optimize TLS sampling methods for vegetation monitoring in dryland ecosystems through three analyses. First, we quantify the 2D extent of occluded regions based on the range from single scan positions. Second, we measure the efficacy of additional scan positions on the reduction of 2D occluded regions (area) using progressive configurations of scan positions in 1 ha plots. Third, we test the reproducibility of 3D sampling yielded by a 5-scan/ha sampling methodology using redundant sets of scans. Analyses were performed using measurements at analysis scales of 5 to 50 cm across the 1-ha plots, and we considered plots in grass and shrub-dominated communities separately. In grass-dominated plots, a center-scan configuration and 5 cm pixel size sampled at least 90% of the area up to 18 m away from the scanner. In shrub-dominated plots, sampling at least 90% of the area was only achieved within a distance of 12 m. We found that 3 and 5 scans/ha are needed to sample at least ~ 70% of the total area (1 ha) in the grass and shrub-dominated plots, respectively, using 5 cm pixels to measure sampling presence-absence. The reproducibility of 3D sampling provided by a 5 position scan layout across 1-ha plots was 50% (shrub) and 70% (grass) using a 5-cm voxel size, whereas at the 50-cm voxel scale, reproducibility of sampling was nearly 100% for all plot types. Future studies applying TLS in similar dryland environments for vegetation monitoring may use our results as a guide to efficiently achieve sampling coverage and reproducibility in datasets.

  11. Winter grazing decreases wildfire risk, severity, and behavior in semi-arid sagebrush rangelands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wildfires are an ecological and economic risk for many semi-arid rangelands which has resulted in increased pressure for pre-suppression management of fuels. In rangelands, fuel management treatment options are limited by costs. We evaluated winter grazing as a tool to manage fuels and alter fire ...

  12. Limited direct effects of a massive wildfire on its sagebrush steppe bee community

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fire can affect bees directly, through exposure to heating and smoke during the combustion phase. Direct effects include mortality, injury and displacement affecting at most two generations of bees—adults and any progeny produced prior to the fire event. To study the direct effects of fire on a bee ...

  13. Bird habitat relationships along a Great Basin elevational gradient

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dean E. Medin; Bruce L. Welch; Warren P. Clary

    2000-01-01

    Bird censuses were taken on 11 study plots along an elevational gradient ranging from 5,250 to 11,400 feet. Each plot represented a different vegetative type or zone: shadscale, shadscale-Wyoming big sagebrush, Wyoming big sagebrush, Wyoming big sagebrush-pinyon/juniper, pinyon/juniper, pinyon/juniper-mountain big sagebrush, mountain big sagebrush, mountain big...

  14. Environmental Assessment for Veterinary Clinic and Military Working Dog Kennels at Mountain Home AFB

    Science.gov (United States)

    2003-08-01

    Lupinus sp. Sagebrush Russian thistle Sasola kali Disturbed Sagebrush Artemisia spp. Sagebrush/ Grasslands Sandberg’s bluegrass Poa...Aquatic European starling Sturnus vulgaris Urban/ Various House finch Carpodacus mexicanus Urban/ Grasslands/ Shrubland/ Canyon Killdeer

  15. 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...

  16. 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 ...

  17. 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%).

  18. Using resilience and resistance concepts to manage persistent threats to sagebrush ecosystems and greater sage-grouse

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jeanne C. Chambers; Jeremy D. Maestas; David A. Pyke; Chad S. Boyd; Mike Pellant; Amarina Wuenschel

    2017-01-01

    Conservation of imperiled species often demands addressing a complex suite of threats that undermine species viability. Regulatory approaches, such as the US Endangered Species Act (1973), tend to focus on anthropogenic threats through adoption of policies and regulatory mechanisms. However, persistent ecosystem-based threats, such as invasive species and altered...

  19. Influence of a native legume on soil N and plant response following prescribed fire in sagebrush steppe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erin M. Goergen; Jeanne C. Chambers

    2009-01-01

    Woodland expansion affects grasslands and shrublands on a global scale. Prescribed fire is a potential restoration tool, but recovery depends on nutrient availability and species responses after burning. Fire often leads to longterm losses in total nitrogen, but presence of native legumes can influence recovery through addition of fixed nitrogen.We examined the effects...

  20. 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.

  1. The influence of soil color on seedbed microclimate and seedling demographics of a perennial bunchgrass

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perennial bunchgrasses are critical to maintaining sagebrush plant communities but seeding of native bunchgrasses following fire has met with only limited success. Previous research indicates that blackened soils beneath burned sagebrush canopies have increased seeding success for perennial bunchgr...

  2. M-X Environmental Technical Report. Alternative Potential Operating Base Locations, Coyote Spring Valley.

    Science.gov (United States)

    1980-12-22

    shadscale (Atriplex confertifolia), mesquite, ( Prosopis glandulosa ), and salt cedar, or tamarisk (Tamarix sp.) Understory plants include saltgrass...ramosissima Blackbrush Purshia glandulosa Antelope brush Associations of Great Basin sagebrush include a relatively pure stand of big sagebrush observed on a

  3. Environmental Impact Analysis Process. Volume 1. Preliminary Draft Environmental Impact Statement Construction and Operation of Space Launch Complex 7, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

    Science.gov (United States)

    1989-04-06

    species include mock heather ( Haplopappus ericoides), coastal sagebrush (Artemisia California), black sage (Salvia mellifera), bush monkey flower...brush, coastal sagebrush, goldenbush ( Haplopappus squarrosus), and herbs, including vetch (Vicia sp.) and locoweed 3 (Astragalus nunall ii). The

  4. 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

  5. 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).

  6. 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.

  7. 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...

  8. Forms of Melanoplus bowditchi (Orthoptera: Acrididae collected from different host plants are indistinguishable genetically and in aedeagal morphology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Muhammad Irfan Ullah

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available The sagebrush grasshopper, Melanoplus bowditchi Scudder (Orthoptera: Acrididae, is a phytophilous species that is widely distributed in the western United States on sagebrush species. The geographical distribution of M. bowditchi is very similar to the range of its host plants and its feeding association varies in relation to sagebrush distribution. Melanoplus bowditchi bowditchi Scudder and M. bowditchi canus Hebard were described based on their feeding association with different sagebrush species, sand sagebrush and silver sagebrush, respectively. Recently, M. bowditchi have been observed feeding on other plant species in western Nebraska. We collected adult M. bowditchi feeding on four plant species, sand sagebrush, Artemisia filifolia, big sagebrush, A. tridentata, fringed sagebrush, A. frigidus, and winterfat, Krascheninnikovia lanata. We compared the specimens collected from the four plant species for their morphological and genetic differences. We observed no consistent differences among the aedeagal parameres or basal rings among the grasshoppers collected from different host plants. Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism markers were used to test the genetic relationships among the grasshoppers. Analysis of Molecular Variance and distance-based Unweighted Pair Group Method with Arithmetic mean dendrogram failed to reveal significant differences. Although the forms showed behavioral and minor color and size differences, the genetic data suggest all forms under study likely interbreed, which indicates they are a single species instead of four species or subspecies. These results indicate that host plant use may influence melanopline phenotype and suggest the need of further genetic analysis of subspecies recognized based on morphology, distribution, and ecology.

  9. Forms of Melanoplus bowditchi (Orthoptera: Acrididae) collected from different host plants are indistinguishable genetically and in aedeagal morphology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ullah, Muhammad Irfan; Mustafa, Fatima; Kneeland, Kate M.; Brust, Mathew L.; Kamble, Shripat T.; Foster, John E.

    2014-01-01

    The sagebrush grasshopper, Melanoplus bowditchi Scudder (Orthoptera: Acrididae), is a phytophilous species that is widely distributed in the western United States on sagebrush species. The geographical distribution of M. bowditchi is very similar to the range of its host plants and its feeding association varies in relation to sagebrush distribution. Melanoplus bowditchi bowditchi Scudder and M. bowditchi canus Hebard were described based on their feeding association with different sagebrush species, sand sagebrush and silver sagebrush, respectively. Recently, M. bowditchi have been observed feeding on other plant species in western Nebraska. We collected adult M. bowditchi feeding on four plant species, sand sagebrush, Artemisia filifolia, big sagebrush, A. tridentata, fringed sagebrush, A. frigidus, and winterfat, Krascheninnikovia lanata. We compared the specimens collected from the four plant species for their morphological and genetic differences. We observed no consistent differences among the aedeagal parameres or basal rings among the grasshoppers collected from different host plants. Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism markers were used to test the genetic relationships among the grasshoppers. Analysis of Molecular Variance and distance-based Unweighted Pair Group Method with Arithmetic mean dendrogram failed to reveal significant differences. Although the forms showed behavioral and minor color and size differences, the genetic data suggest all forms under study likely interbreed, which indicates they are a single species instead of four species or subspecies. These results indicate that host plant use may influence melanopline phenotype and suggest the need of further genetic analysis of subspecies recognized based on morphology, distribution, and ecology. PMID:24949237

  10. A field guide for selecting the most appropriate treatment in sagebrush and pinon-juniper ecosystems in the Great Basin: Evaluating resilience to disturbance and resistance to invasive annual grasses, and predicting vegetation response

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richard F. Miller; Jeanne C. Chambers; Mike Pellant

    2014-01-01

    This field guide identifies seven primary components that largely determine resilience to disturbance, as well as resistance to invasive grasses and plant succession following treatment of areas of concern. The primary components are (1) characteristics of the ecological site, (2) current vegetation prior to treatment, (3) disturbance history, (4) type, timing, and...

  11. A field guide for rapid assessment of post-wildfire recovery potential in sagebrush and pinon-juniper ecosystems in the Great Basin: Evaluating resilience to disturbance and resistance to invasive annual grasses and predicting vegetation response

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richard F. Miller; Jeanne C. Chambers; Mike Pellant

    2015-01-01

    This field guide provides a framework for rapidly evaluating post-fire resilience to disturbance, or recovery potential, and resistance to invasive annual grasses, and for determining the need and suitability of the burned area for seeding. The framework identifies six primary components that largely determine resilience to disturbance, resistance to invasive grasses,...

  12. Restoration of degraded lands in the interior Columbia River basin: passive vs. active approaches.

    Science.gov (United States)

    James McIver; Lynn. Starr

    2001-01-01

    Evidence for success of passive and active restoration is presented for interior conifer forest, sagebrush steppe, and riparian ecosystems, with a focus on the Columbia River basin. Passive restoration, defined as removal of the stresses that cause degradation, may be most appropriate for higher elevation forests, low-order riparian ecosystems, and for sagebrush steppe...

  13. 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...

  14. 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...

  15. 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...

  16. 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...

  17. 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)

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

    2017-01-01

    The loss of foundational but fire-intolerant perennials such as sagebrush due to increases in fire size and frequency in semi-arid 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...

  18. 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....

  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. 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...

  1. Regional Supplement to the Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual: Arid West Region (Version 2.0)

    Science.gov (United States)

    2008-09-01

    dominated by grasses and shrubs (e.g., sagebrush (Artemisia), rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus), bitterbrush (Purshia), and creosote bush ( Larrea ...species are characteristic of the hot desert, but their abundance and distribution vary across the area. Creosote bush ( Larrea divaricata) is...mainly of uplifted and highly eroded sedi- mentary rocks. Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ) and rabbit brush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus) dominate much

  2. Predicting Forage Foodscapes with Spectroscopy and UAV Imagery

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-01

    A major goal in conservation biology is to predict habitat use by animals. This goal requires methods for identifying and mapping habitat quality features such as concealment, nitrogen (N) and chemical defenses across different spatial scales. Remote sensing has been used for landscape-scale analysis of habitat features to explain the spatial use and selection of habitat by large herbivores. However, studies that directly link specific parameters of habitat quality to selection by wildlife are needed at the microsite-scale before landscape-scale mapping can be validated. Herbivores appear to make foraging decisions based on the nutritional quality of plants. For example, previous research has shown that sagebrush preferentially browsed by pygmy rabbits (Brachylagus idahoensis), a sagebrush specialist mammal, contain relatively higher amounts of crude protein and lower amounts of monoterpenes. Other research has shown that sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) select dwarf sagebrush (Artemisia arbuscula and A. nova) over big sagebrush (A. tridentata subsp wyomingensis) for forage. In this study we examine the use of spectroscopy from the visible to shortwave infrared for predicting sagebrush nutritional quality, as measured by N (crude protein). Predictions are compared across instruments (FOSS NIRSystem 5000 and ASD FieldSpec Pro), sampling methods (i.e., dried ground leaves and fresh whole leaves), and species (dwarf and big sagebrush). We also build a foundation for spatial upscaling from whole leaf and individual shrubs to collective patches in a landscape by acquiring and classifying unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imagery in terms of sagebrush food types. The resultant 'foodscape' map concept will ultimately provide a tool for rapid assessment of the dietary quality of sagebrush and facilitate more effective conservation of herbivores that rely on sagebrush for food.

  3. The Chaffey Hillside Site, CA-SBr-895; Report of the Cultural Resource Mitigation Program,

    Science.gov (United States)

    1982-01-01

    sagebrush (Artemisia californica), white sage (Salvia apiana), black sage (Salvia mellifera), yerba santa (Eriodictyon crassifolium), California...grade, no ped formation, granular to structureless. Structure slightly modified by soil formation, primarily introduction of organic matt r, penetrated

  4. 77 FR 36871 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Withdrawal of the Proposed Rule To List Dunes...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-06-19

    ... western Texas, where the dunes sagebrush lizard is found, lies within a small portion of the overall... within the shinnery oak dunes. Preliminary laboratory and field experiments designed to determine sand...

  5. Environmental Assessment of the Proposed Denver Security Operations Center (DSOC) Center of Excellence at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-07-01

    European starling (Sturnus vulgaris ), house sparrow (Passer domesticus), house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus), and pigeon (Columba livia). Several...Mixed grass-dwarf shrub communities that occur on sandy soils; principally the sand sagebrush ( Artemisia fillifolia)-bluestem (Andropogon spp

  6. Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI): Environmental Assessment of the Farish Recreation Area Observatory and Cabin Construction

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-12-21

    montana). Dominant forbs include white sagebrush ( Artemisia ludoviciana), fringed sage ( Artemisia frigida), common sandwort (Artemesia campestris...inermis), Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense), musk thistle (Carduus nutans), and yellow toadflax (Linaria vulgaris ). Canada thistle and yellow

  7. 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...

  8. 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...

  9. 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. 

  10. 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

  11. Detectability adjusted count models of songbird abundance: Chapter 6

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-01-01

    Sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) steppe ecosystems have experienced recent changes resulting not only in the loss of habitat but also fragmentation and degradation of remaining habitats. As a result, sagebrush-obligate and sagebrush associated songbird populations have experienced population declines over the past several decades. We examined landscape-scale responses in occupancy and abundance for six focal songbird species at 318 survey sites across the Wyoming Basins Ecoregional Assessment (WBEA) area. Occupancy and abundance models were fit for each species using datasets developed at multiple moving window extents to assess landscape-scale relationships between abiotic, habitat, and anthropogenic factors. Anthropogenic factors had less influence on species occupancy or abundance than abiotic and habitat factors. Sagebrush measures were strong predictors of occurrence for sagebrush-obligate species, such as Brewer’s sparrows (Spizella breweri), sage sparrows (Amphispiza belli) and sage thrashers (Oreoscoptes montanus), as well as green-tailed towhees (Pipilo chlorurus), a species associated with mountain shrub communities. Occurrence for lark sparrows (Chondestes grammacus) and vesper sparrows (Pooecetes gramineus), considered shrub steppe-associated species, was also related to big sagebrush communities, but at large spatial extents. Although relationships between anthropogenic variables and occurrence were weak for most species, the consistent relationship with sagebrush habitat variables suggests direct habitat loss and not edge or additional fragmentation effects are causing declines in the avifauna examined in the WBEA area. Thus, natural and anthropogenic disturbances that result in loss of critical habitats are the biggest threats to these species. We applied our models spatially across the WBEA area to identify and prioritize key areas for conservation.

  12. Climate change and land management in the rangelands of central Oregon.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Creutzburg, Megan K; Halofsky, Jessica E; Halofsky, Joshua S; Christopher, Treg A

    2015-01-01

    Climate change, along with exotic species, disturbances, and land use change, will likely have major impacts on sagebrush steppe ecosystems in the western U.S. over the next century. To effectively manage sagebrush steppe landscapes for long-term goals, managers need information about the interacting impacts of climate change, disturbances and land management on vegetation condition. Using a climate-informed state-and-transition model, we evaluated the potential impacts of climate change on rangeland condition in central Oregon and the effectiveness of multiple management strategies. Under three scenarios of climate change, we projected widespread shifts in potential vegetation types over the twenty-first century, with declining sagebrush steppe and expanding salt desert shrub likely by the end of the century. Many extreme fire years occurred under all climate change scenarios, triggering rapid vegetation shifts. Increasing wildfire under climate change resulted in expansion of exotic grasses but also decreased juniper encroachment relative to projections without climate change. Restoration treatments in warm-dry sagebrush steppe were ineffective in containing exotic grass, but juniper treatments in cool-moist sagebrush steppe substantially reduced the rate of juniper encroachment, particularly when prioritized early in the century. Overall, climate-related shifts dominated future vegetation patterns, making management for improved rangeland condition more difficult. Our approach allows researchers and managers to examine long-term trends and uncertainty in rangeland vegetation condition and test the effectiveness of alternative management actions under projected climate change.

  13. Nesting ecology of greater sage-grouse Centrocercus urophasianus at the eastern edge of their historic distribution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Herman-Brunson, K. M.; Jensen, K.C.; Kaczor, N.W.; Swanson, C.C.; Rumble, M.A.; Klaver, R.W.

    2009-01-01

    Greater sage-grouse Centrocercus urophasianus populations in North Dakota declined approximately 67% between 1965 and 2003, and the species is listed as a Priority Level 1 Species of Special Concern by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. The habitat and ecology of the species at the eastern edge of its historical range is largely unknown. We investigated nest site selection by greater sage-grouse and nest survival in North Dakota during 2005 – 2006. Sage-grouse selected nest sites in sagebrush Artemisia spp. with more total vegetative cover, greater sagebrush density, and greater 1-m visual obstruction from the nest than at random sites. Height of grass and shrub (sagebrush) at nest sites were shorter than at random sites, because areas where sagebrush was common were sites in low seral condition or dense clay or clay-pan soils with low productivity. Constant survival estimates of incubated nests were 33% in 2005 and 30% in 2006. Variables that described the resource selection function for nests were not those that modeled nest survival. Nest survival was positively influenced by percentage of shrub (sagebrush) cover and grass height. Daily nest survival decreased substantially when percentage of shrub cover declined below about 9% and when grass heights were less than about 16 cm. Daily nest survival rates decreased with increased daily precipitation.

  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. The integrated rangeland fire management strategy actionable science plan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aldridge, Cameron L.; Berg, Ken; Boyd, Chad S.; Boyte, Stephen P.; Bradford, John B.; Brunson, Ed; Cissel, John H.; Conway, Courtney J.; Chalfoun, Anna D.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Clark, Patrick; Coates, Peter S.; Crist, Michele R.; Davis, Dawn M.; DeCrappeo, Nicole; Deibert, Patricia A.; Doherty, Kevin E.; Evers, Louisa B.; Finch, Deborah M.; Finn, Sean P.; Germino, Matthew J.; Glenn, Nancy F.; Gucker, Corey; Hall, John A.; Hanser, Steven E.; Havlina, Douglas W.; Heinrichs, Julie; Heller, Matt; Homer, Collin G.; Hunter, Molly E.; Jacobs, Ruth W.; Karl, Jason W.; Kearney, Richard; Kemp, Susan K; Kilkenny, Francis F.; Knick, Steven T.; Launchbaugh, Karen; Manier, Daniel J.; Mayer, Kenneth E.; Meyer, Susan E.; Monroe, Adrian; MontBlanc, Eugénie; Newingham, Beth A.; Pellant, Michael L.; Phillips, Susan L.; Pilliod, David S.; Ricca, Mark A.; Richardson, Bryce A.; Rose, Jeffrey A.; Shaw, Nancy; Sheley, Roger L.; Shinneman, Douglas J.; Wiechman , Lief A.; Wylie, Bruce K.

    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 implementation of effective strategies to meet current management challenges. The tasks and actions identified in the Strategy address several broad topics related to management of the sagebrush ecosystem. This science plan is organized around these topics and specifically focuses on fire, invasive plant species and their effects on altering fire regimes, restoration, sagebrush and greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), and climate and weather.

  16. Area C borrow Site Habitat Assessment

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sackschewsky, Michael R.; Downs, Janelle L.

    2009-12-04

    A habitat quality assessment was performed within selected portions of the proposed Area C Borrow Source. The previously identified Bitterbrush / Indian ricegrass stabilized dune element occurrence was determined to be better described as a sagebrush /needle-and-thread grass element occurrence of fair to good quality. A new habitat polygon is suggested adjacent to this element occurrence, which would also be sagebrush/needle-and-thread grass, but of poor quality. The proposed site of initial borrow site development was found to be a very low quality community dominated by cheatgrass.

  17. 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...

  18. Predicting first-year bare-root seedling establishment with soil and community dominance factors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robin E. Durham; Benjamin A. Zamora; Michael R. Sackschewsky; Jason C. Ritter

    2001-01-01

    The usefulness of measuring community dominance factors and the soil parameters of geometric mean particle size and percent fines as predictors of first-year bare-root establishment of Wyoming big sagebrush seedlings was investigated. The study was conducted on six sandy soils in south-central Washington. Soil parameters that could affect the distribution of Sandberg’s...

  19. 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.

  20. Environmental Assessment, Change in C-17 Flight Training Operations at Grant County International Airport, Washington by Joint Base Lewis-McChord

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-10-01

    dBA) that Allow Communication with 95 Percent Intelligibility over Distances Outdoors for Different Voice Levels...Monitored Species of Concern Reptiles 19 Sagebrush Lizard Sceloporus graciosus None Species of Concern Mollusks 20 California floater...same intelligibility or raise their voices. Their speech intelligibility would decrease considerably if they remain at 10 ft of separation. These

  1. Nutrient availability in rangeland soils: influence of prescribed burning, herbaceous vegetation removal, overseeding with Bromus tectorum, season, and elevation

    Science.gov (United States)

    R. R. Blank; J. Chambers; B. Roundy; A. Whittaker

    2007-01-01

    Soil nutrient availability influences plant invasions. Resin capsules were used to examine soil nutrient bioavailability along 2 sagebrush-grassland elevation transects in the east Tintic Range (Utah) and Shoshone Range (Nevada). In the fall of 2001, treatments were applied to 3 replicate plots at each site, which included prescribed burning, herbaceous vegetation...

  2. The brushland plow.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomas Coldwell; Joseph F. Pechanec

    1950-01-01

    A new implement, the "Brushland Plow," has been developed primarily for killing sagebrush or other undesirable shrubby plants on the rough, brushy range lands of the West. This plow, developed by the United States Forest Service, incorporates strength, flexibility, and clearance with a minimum of friction (fig. 1).

  3. Plant material testing and cheatgrass suppression: a 10 year old case study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) is an exotic and invasive annual grass that was accidentally introduced to western North America in the late 19th century. Cheatgrass soon spread across millions of hectares of Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis)/ bunchgrass rangelands througho...

  4. 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...

  5. 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...

  6. Use of a Climate Change Vulnerability Index for Assessing Species at Risk on Military Lands

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-09-01

    affect golden-cheeked warbler nest survival. Condor 109:628-637. Perfors, T., J. Harte, and S. E. Alter. 2003. Enhanced growth of sagebrush (Artemisia...a salamander species. 2. Justification: There is extensive urban development sur- rounding Fort Stewart and major highways north and east of the

  7. 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 ...

  8. Improving seeding success on cheatgrass-infested rangelands in Northern Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Invasion of alien plant species influences all phases of wildland research in the Great Basin. The accidental introduction and subsequent invasion of cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.) onto millions of hectares of Great Basin rangelands has led to the conversion of former big sagebrush (Artemisia tride...

  9. 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...

  10. 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.

  11. Impact of native grasses and cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) on Great Basin forb seedling growth

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hilary Parkinson; Cathy Zabinski; Nancy Shaw

    2013-01-01

    Re-establishing native communities that resist exotic weed invasion and provide diverse habitat for wildlife are high priorities for restoration in sagebrush ecosystems. Native forbs are an important component of healthy rangelands in this system, but they are rarely included in seedings. Understanding competitive interactions between forb and grass seedlings is...

  12. An important lichen of southeastern Montana rangelands

    Science.gov (United States)

    James G. McCracken; Lynn E. Alexander; Daniel W. Uresk

    1983-01-01

    The lichen (Parmelia chlorochroa) was most abundant in sagebrush and grassland vegetation associations, less so in the pine, and absent in riparian types. It was significantly associated with drier sites and bare ground. Lichens appear to have value in reducing erosion, as indicators of intensive grazing, and in contributing to the nutrient quality...

  13. 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...

  14. Finding of No Significant Impact: SLC-4 to SLC-6 Replacement Waterline Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-07-28

    include coastal buckwheat (Eriogonum parv~folium). California sagebrush ( Artemisia calUornica). black sage (Salvia melUera). silver lupine (Lupinus...beach grass * Amsinkia spp. Fiddleneck * Anagallis arvensis Scarlet pimpernel * Arctostaphvlos purissima4 La Purisima manzanita * Artemisia ...Northern mockingbird H Jfi nms polvglottos California thrasher H * H H H Toxostoma redivivum 4 European starling H H H Sturmts vulgaris

  15. Evaluate and Characterize Mechanisms Controlling Transport, Fate, and Effects of Army Smokes in the Aerosol Wind Tunnel

    Science.gov (United States)

    1987-10-01

    training environments throughout the United States and included the following: 2.3 UO Big sagebrush ( Artemisia tridentata, vaseyana). A medium-sized...ubiquitous range. Source: Native Plants, Sandy, Utah. Grown from seed. "* Bushbean (Phaseolus vulgaris , tcndergreen). An agronomic species that is

  16. Wintering Ecology of Shrubland Birds: Linking Landscape and Habitat

    Science.gov (United States)

    2006-09-01

    sagebrush ( Artemisia spp.) in the western United States represent one of the nation’s most imperiled ecosystems due to extensive habitat loss and habitat...hyemalis 6 42 15 63 European Starling Sturnus vulgaris 1 1 17 Table 3: Continued Species

  17. Environmental Statement. Disposition of Orange Herbicide by Incineration

    Science.gov (United States)

    1974-11-01

    Resistant Ash Eggplant Rhubarb Fraxinus, sp. Solanumn melongena, L. Rheum rhaponticum, L. Bean, bush Pear SorghumPhaseohs vulgaris , L. Pyrus commuffis, L...Juniperus spp.), oak (Quercus spp.), and Sagebrush ( Artemisia spp.) cannot be eliminated by good grazing practices alone. Measures must be taken to

  18. 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...

  19. 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...

  20. Environmental Impact Analysis Process, Groom Mountain Range, Lincoln County, Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    1985-10-01

    occasional 6) T6S, R56E, Sec. 19, 7800 feet, few Erigeron ovinus occurs in crevices, with shallow, coarse soil on lime - stone, typically at the base...Phrynosoma phatyrhinos) X X X Sagebrush lizard (Sceloperous graciosus) X X X Western fence lizard (Sceloperous occidentalis) X X X X Side blotched lizard

  1. 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...

  2. Sage-grouse habitat restoration symposium

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nancy L. Shaw; Mike Pellant; Stephen B. Monsen

    2005-01-01

    Sage-grouse (greater sage-grouse [Centrocercus urophasianus] and Gunnison sage-grouse [C. minimus]) were once abundant over a range that approximated that of sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) in 16 Western States and three Canadian Provinces (Aldrich 1963; Connelly and others 2000; Johnsgard 1973). Although their...

  3. Sage-grouse habitat restoration symposium proceedings

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nancy L. Shaw; Mike Pellant; Stephen B. Monsen

    2005-01-01

    Declines in habitat of greater sage-grouse and Gunnison sage-grouse across the western United States are related to degradation, loss, and fragmentation of sagebrush ecosystems resulting from development of agricultural lands, grazing practices, changes in wildfire regimes, increased spread of invasive species, gas and oil development, and other human impacts. These...

  4. 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....

  5. Harvesting considerations for ecosystem restoration projects

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dana Mitchell; John. Klepac

    2014-01-01

    There is a need to identify and develop cost effective harvesting systems for ecosystem restoration projects. In the Western United States, pinyon-juniper woodlands are expanding into sagebrush and rangeland ecosystems. In many areas, this growth negatively impacts water, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, and other resources. In other areas, such as Texas and Oklahoma,...

  6. 78 FR 46312 - Spruce Beetle Epidemic and Aspen Decline Management Response; Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-07-31

    ... respond to declining forest vegetation conditions. The approach is to actively manage vegetation... across diverse vegetation ranging from sagebrush, pi[ntilde]on, juniper and ponderosa pine to Engelmann... fire hazard in stands already experiencing beetle-induced mortality will be the removal of dead and...

  7. 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...

  8. Hydrologic vulnerability of western US rangelands in the wake of woodland encroachment and increasing wildfire activity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pinyon and juniper woodlands have dramatically increased their range in the past 150 years and currently occupy more than 30 million ha of the western US. Range expansion has primarily occurred through encroachment into sagebrush rangelands. Woodland expansion and infill on western rangelands have a...

  9. Approaches to Revegetate Shorelines at Lake Wallula on the Columbia River, Washington-Orgeon.

    Science.gov (United States)

    1986-01-01

    ofL Xanthiwn spp., Canyza spp., Rumex crispus , Olenothera spp., Salsola kali, big sagebrush (Arteniesia tridentata), and cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum...Rosa nultiflora nutfoars Rtumex crispus curly dock Saqittaria latifolia duck potato Salix exigua slender willow . . - Salix fragilis crack willow

  10. 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...

  11. Greater sage-grouse of Grand Teton National Park: where do they roam?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chong, G.W.; Wetzel, W.C.; Holloran, M.J.

    2011-01-01

    Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) population declines may be caused by range-wide degradation of sagebrush (woody Artemisia spp.) steppe ecosystems. Understanding how greater sage-grouse use the landscape is essential for successful management. We assessed greater sage-grouse habitat selection on a landscape level in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We used a Geographic Information System (GIS) and radio-collared sage-grouse to compare habitat used and the total available landscape. Greater sage-grouse selected mountain big sagebrush (A. tridentata var. vaseyana) communities or mixed mountain big sagebrush–antelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata) communities and avoided low-sagebrush (A. arbuscula) dwarf shrubland. In spring and summer, sage-grouse primarily used sagebrush-dominated habitats on the valley floor and did not concentrate in mesic areas later in the summer as is typical of the species. The diversity of habitats used in winter exceeds that reported in the literature. In winter, Jackson Hole greater sage-grouse moved to hills, where they used various communities in proportion to their availability, including tall deciduous shrublands, cottonwood (Populus angustifolia) stands, exposed hillsides, and aspen (P. tremuloides) stands. Because seasonal habitat selection is not necessarily consistent across populations residing in different landscapes, habitat management should be specific to each population and landscape. This sage-grouse population provides an example that may offer insight into other species with seasonal habitat needs.

  12. Colony density and activity times of the ant Camponotus semitestaceus (Hymenoptera: formicidae) in a shrub steppe community

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gano, K.A.; Rogers, L.E.

    1983-11-01

    Colony densities and above-ground activity periods were determined for Camponotus semitestaceus colonies within a shrub-steppe community. Colony densities (anti-x +/- SD) averaged 0.088 +/- 0.032 per m/sup 2/ and 0.048 +/- 0.028 per m/sup 2/ on two sagebrush-bunchgrass sites an

  13. 78 FR 23952 - Notice of Temporary Closure on Public Lands in Elmore County, ID

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-04-23

    ... that the Stout Fire closure to motorized vehicle use is in effect on public lands administered by the... effect on the date this notice is published in the Federal Register and ] will remain in effect for 2... sagebrush using aerial application methods. The burned areas will be closed to livestock use until resource...

  14. 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....

  15. 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...

  16. 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...

  17. Host-plant diversity of the European corn borer Ostrinia nubilalis: what value for sustainable transgenic insecticidal Bt maize?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bourguet, D; Bethenod, M T; Trouvé, C; Viard, F

    2000-01-01

    The strategies proposed for delaying the development of resistance to the Bacillus thuringiensis toxins produced by transgenic maize require high levels of gene flow between individuals feeding on transgenic and refuge plants. The European corn borer Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner) may be found on several host plants, which may act as natural refuges. The genetic variability of samples collected on sagebrush (Artemisia sp.), hop (Humulus lupulus L.) and maize (Zea mays L.) was studied by comparing the allozyme frequencies for six polymorphic loci. We found a high level of gene flow within and between samples collected on the same host plant. The level of gene flow between the sagebrush and hop insect samples appeared to be sufficiently high for these populations to be considered a single genetic panmictic unit. Conversely, the samples collected on maize were genetically different from those collected on sagebrush and hop. Three of the six loci considered displayed greater between-host-plant than within-host-plant differentiation in comparisons of the group of samples collected on sagebrush or hop with the group of samples collected on maize. This indicates that either there is genetic isolation of the insects feeding on maize or that there is host-plant divergent selection at these three loci or at linked loci. These results have important implications for the potential sustainability of transgenic insecticidal maize. PMID:10902683

  18. 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...

  19. Phytochemistry predicts habitat selection by an avian herbivore at multiple spatial scales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frye, Graham G; Connelly, John W; Musil, David D; Forbey, Jennifer S

    2013-02-01

    Animal habitat selection is a process that functions at multiple, hierarchically. structured spatial scales. Thus multi-scale analyses should be the basis for inferences about factors driving the habitat selection process. Vertebrate herbivores forage selectively on the basis of phytochemistry, but few studies have investigated the influence of selective foraging (i.e., fine-scale habitat selection) on habitat selection at larger scales. We tested the hypothesis that phytochemistry is integral to the habitat selection process for vertebrate herbivores. We predicted that habitats selected at three spatial scales would be characterized by higher nutrient concentrations and lower concentrations of plant secondary metabolites (PSMs) than unused habitats. We used the Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), an avian herbivore with a seasonally specialized diet of sagebrush, to test our hypothesis. Sage-Grouse selected a habitat type (black sagebrush, Artemisia nova) with lower PSM concentrations than the alternative (Wyoming big sagebrush, A. tridentata wyomingensis). Within black sagebrush habitat, Sage-Grouse selected patches and individual plants within those patches that were higher in nutrient concentrations and lower in PSM concentrations than those not used. Our results provide the first evidence for multi-scale habitat selection by an avian herbivore on the basis of phytochemistry, and they suggest that phytochemistry may be a fundamental driver of habitat selection for vertebrate herbivores.

  20. 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,...

  1. 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...

  2. 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...

  3. 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...

  4. A collaborative program to provide native plant materials for the Great Basin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nancy Shaw; Mike Pellant; Matthew Fisk; Erin Denney

    2012-01-01

    The Great Basin as defined on a floristic basis includes the hydrographic Great Basin plus the Owyhee Uplands and Snake River Plain of southern Idaho (Fig. 1). The region encompasses about 60 million ha, of which more than two-thirds are publicly owned. Vegetation ranges from salt desert and sagebrush shrublands in the basins to conifer forests in the more than 200...

  5. Crossing the divide

    Science.gov (United States)

    Florence Rose Shepard

    2007-01-01

    “This is a divide.” Dad delivered this proclamation with the verve of a discoverer. This memory from childhood frequently surfaces as I struggle to interpret the topology, the complicated relationship between the topography and cultural history of my home, the Green River Basin, that great expanse of sagebrush/ bunchgrass steppe crowned with wilderness.

  6. Ground Wave Emergency Network Final Operational Capability. Environmental Assessment for Northeastern Nevada Relay Node. Site No. RN 8W922NV

    Science.gov (United States)

    1993-04-16

    a theater, and two of the largest lumber yards in Nevada. The surrounding hills were virtually stripped bare of sagebrush during this period, because...Tuscaraora offers some potential for sightseeing, and studios and a showroom are associated with a pottery school at Tuscarora (BLM, 1989). The visual setting

  7. 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

    2018-02-14

    Managers require quantitative yet tractable tools that can 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, hereafter 'sage-grouse') in the Great Basin ecoregion is compromised, in part, by strongly interacting stressors of conifer encroachment, annual grass invasion, and larger and more frequent wildfires occurring in sagebrush ecosystems. Associated restoration treatments to a sagebrush-dominated state are often costly and risk yielding relatively little ecological benefit to sage-grouse if implemented without first estimating how sage-grouse may respond to treatments, or considering underlying processes influencing sagebrush ecosystem resilience to disturbance and resistance to invasive species. We describe example applications of a spatially-explicit conservation planning tool (CPT) to inform initial prioritization of treatments focused on: 1) removal of conifers (i.e., pinyon-juniper); and 2) post-wildfire restoration aimed at improving habitat conditions for the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment of sage-grouse (an allopatric sub-population at the southwestern edge of the species' range along the California-Nevada state line). The CPT is designed to measure ecological benefits to sage-grouse for a given management action by employing 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 sparsely distributed trees with low canopy cover and intact understories, and ranked treatments on the basis of spatially-explicit changes in ecological benefits per dollar-unit of cost. For wildfire restoration, we formulated a spatially-explicit conditional model to simulate scenarios for land cover changes (e

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. Shrub-inhabiting insects of the 200 Area Plateau, southcentral Washington.

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Rogers, L.E.

    1979-10-01

    This study characterizes the insects (including spiders) associated with major shrubs of the 200 Area Plateau on the Hanford Site in southcentral Washington. Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus sp.) and hopsage (Grayia spinosa) were the three shrubs included in the study. Hemiptera (true bugs) and homoptera (bugs) were the two groups most abundant on sagebrush. Homoptera and Araneida (spiders) were the common inhabitants of rabbitbrush, and Orthoptera (grasshoppers), Coleoptera (beetles), and Araneida the taxa most frequently collected from hopsage. A discussion of the effects of insects on western native shrubs is included. None of the insect populations appeared to threaten the stability of shrub stands, which is important because of the erodability of 200 Area soils.

  11. 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

  12. An Assessment of Cultural Resources in Cochiti Reservoir.

    Science.gov (United States)

    1975-11-01

    Sierras de los Valles. The general area is char- acterized by hills, potreros or digitate mesas and narrow canyons which open into the gently sloping...Mesa Negra or La Bajada Mesa. The northern sections have been termed Pankey’s Mesa, Chino Mesa or Sagebrush Flats. The Cerros del Rio Plateau is also...Upper Sonoran Life Zone. Because White Rock Canyon has permanent water (Rio Grande), certain flora and 40 I particularly fauna (fishes and aquatic

  13. 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.

  14. Final Environmental Impact Statement of the Proposed Ground Based Free Electron Laser Technology Integration Experiment, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    1987-01-01

    Service . II1-65 d. Air Passenger and Freight Service II1-65 10. Public Services and Social Institutions .... II1-65 a. Religion ... % 111-65 b...Force and Employment IV-30 5. Income Levels . . • IV-32 6. Public Services and Institutions IV-32 a. Religion IV-32 b. Education ..... IV-33...saltbush (Atrip!ex canescens), Mormon tea (Ephedra torreyana) and Broompea (Dalea scoporia). The smaller sand sagebrush communities that occur

  15. 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...

  16. Cultural Resources Reconnaissance Survey of the Shoreline of Big Sandy Reservoir, Aitkin County, Minnesota: 1982

    Science.gov (United States)

    1984-02-15

    warming climate with birch, alder, elm, and and extinction oak. of Pleistocene megafauna 4. c.10,000-12,000 Spruce parkland: spruce with cool-moist; birch...oak, elm, aspen, and Pleistocene sagebrush in park-like megafauna are openings. present. (The gradual retreat of the ice mass begins c.13,000 B.P...food resources (especially megafauna ) at an early period, to a concentration on a diversity of food resources, and a return again to a concentration

  17. Factors influencing the road mortality of snakes on the Upper Snake River Plain, Idaho

    OpenAIRE

    Jochimsen, Denim M.

    2005-01-01

    This study documents the magnitude of road mortality on snake species that occur in sagebrush steppe habitat, provides insight into how susceptibility to this mortality differs among species as well as by sex and age class of individuals, and examines how different landscape variables influence road-kill aggregations using a logistic regression model. I collected data by road cruising a 183-km road loop on the upper Snake River Plain in southeastern Idaho from May through October of 2003. I c...

  18. Strategic Management Plan for Columbian Sharp-Tailed Grouse 2002

    OpenAIRE

    State of Utah, Department of Natural Resoures, Division of Wildlife Resources

    2002-01-01

    The Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus columbianus) is one of seven subspecies of Sharp-tailed Grouse. Historically, Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse occurred within sagebrush-native bunch grass habitat throughout the intermountain region, extending from British Columbia, Washington, Idaho and Montana south through portions of Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. Sharp-tailed Grouse populations range-wide began declining during 1880-1920 (Bart ...

  19. Ecological factors influencing nest survival of greater sage-grouse in Mono County, California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kolada, Eric J.; Casazza, Michael L.; Sedinger, James S.

    2009-01-01

    We studied nest survival of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in 5 subareas of Mono County, California, USA, from 2003 to 2005 to 1) evaluate the importance of key vegetation variables for nest success, and 2) to compare nest success in this population with other greater sage-grouse populations. We captured and radiotracked females (n  =  72) to identify nest sites and monitor nest survival. We measured vegetation at nest sites and within a 10-m radius around each nest to evaluate possible vegetation factors influencing nest survival. We estimated daily nest survival and the effect of explanatory variables on daily nest survival using nest-survival models in Program MARK. We assessed effects on daily nest survival of total, sagebrush (Artemisia spp.), and nonsagebrush live shrub-cover, Robel visual obstruction, the mean of grass residual height and grass residual cover measurements within 10 m of the nest shrub, and area of the shrub, shrub height, and shrub type at the nest site itself. Assuming a 38-day exposure period, we estimated nest survival at 43.4%, with percent cover of shrubs other than sagebrush as the variable most related to nest survival. Nest survival increased with increasing cover of shrubs other than sagebrush. Also, daily nest survival decreased with nest age, and there was considerable variation in nest survival among the 5 subareas. Our results indicate that greater shrub cover and a diversity of shrub species within sagebrush habitats may be more important to sage-grouse nest success in Mono County than has been reported elsewhere.

  20. Human Adaptation Along the Columbia River 4700 - 1600 BP. A Report of Test Excavation at River Mile 590, North Central Washington.

    Science.gov (United States)

    1984-01-01

    appearance, but instead of sagebrush, the dominant large woody shrub is bitterbrush P (Purshia tridentata). Some ryegrass, prickly pear ( Opuntia spp...throughout five distinct phases which include the importation of new, devastating diseases into the culture, the fur trade period the era of mining...before contact with Euro-Americans ..-- because the advent of cyclical epidemics of European-induced diseases "".-’" seriously disrupted the culture even

  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. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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)

  7. Phytotoxic volatiles in the roots and shoots of Artemisia tridentata as detected by headspace solid-phase microextraction and gas chromatographic-mass spectrometry analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jassbi, Amir Reza; Zamanizadehnajari, Simin; Baldwin, Ian Thomas

    2010-12-01

    In the vicinity of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), the growth of Nicotiana attenuata is negatively affected, in part due to the alleopathic effect of methyl jasmonate (MeJA) which is produced in large quantities by the aerial parts of sagebrush. Preliminary experiments suggested that growth-inhibiting substances were being emitted from the sagebrush roots. To identify the allelochemical secondary metabolites, we tested different root extracts in seedling growth bioassays with the naturally co-occurring native tobacco, Nicotiana attenuata, in a two-chamber Petri dish assay, optimized for tests of volatiles. Fractions rich in volatile compounds were particularly phytotoxic. We analyzed the volatiles emitted from the roots of intact Artemisia tridentata plants grown in soil, sand, and hydroponic cultures by using dynamic headspace extraction, headspace solvent-microextraction (HSME) and headspace solid-phase microextraction (HSPME), and GC-MS. Camphor, 1,8-cineol, nerol, and neryl isovalerate were phytotoxic and released as the major constituents. In addition to the phytotoxic monoterpenes, himachalenes, longifolene, caryophyllene, and acetylenic spiroethers, were found as characteristic components in the root's volatiles. The allelopathic potential of these root volatiles was compared with that of methyl jasmonate (MeJA), one of the most active compounds emitted from above-ground parts of the plant.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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. 

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. Descriptions of plant communities at the proposed reference repository location and implications for reclamation of disturbed ground

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    1988-03-01

    This report presents an ecological description of the natural vegetation in the Cold Creek Valley located in the west central portion of the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Hanford Site in southeastern Washington state. The description includes plant species composition, canopy cover, and shrub density obtained from 10 study plots distributed in three habitat-types: sagebrush/Sandberg's bluegrass, spiny hopsage/Sandberg's bluegrass, and sagebrush/needle-and-thread grass. Of the relatively few species of shrubs and herbs in the Cold Creek Valley, the most abundant were sagebrush and spiny hopsage. The most abundant herbs were cheatgrass, Sandberg's bluegrass, and needle-and-thread grass. The amount of canopy cover provided by shrubs ranged between 7.4 and 33% in seven plots without a history of recent burning. Herbaceous plants in these same plots provided canopy cover that ranged between 18 and 41%. The three plots placed in areas with a recent history of burning had more herbaceous cover than did adjacent plots without a recent burn history. This was attributed to absence of living shrubs and freedom from competition for soil water and nutrients. There was less living herb cover in 1987 than in 1986 which is likely due to the lesser amount of growing season precipitation in 1987 (i.e. 10.3 cm vs 17.1 cm). Even with the absence of livestock grazing for 44 years, cheatgrass, an exotic annual generally provided more canopy cover than native perennial grasses. However, in the few places with good stands of Sandberg's bluegrass, cheatgrass was less abundant. 12 refs., 6 figs., 6 tabs.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mindy B Rice

    Full Text Available 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. Demonstrated Potential of Ion Mobility Spectrometry for Detection of Adulterated Perfumes and Plant Speciation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Clark, Jared Matthew; Daum, Keith Alvin; Kalival, J. H.

    2003-01-01

    This initial study evaluates the use of ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) as a rapid test procedure for potential detection of adulterated perfumes and speciation of plant life. Sample types measured consist of five genuine perfumes, two species of sagebrush, and four species of flowers. Each sample type is treated as a separate classification problem. It is shown that discrimination using principal component analysis with K-nearest neighbors can distinguish one class from another. Discriminatory models generated using principal component regressions are not as effective. Results from this examination are encouraging and represent an initial phase demonstrating that perfumes and plants possess characteristic chemical signatures that can be used for reliable identification.

  1. 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

  2. Final Environmental Assessment Addressing Construction, Operation, and Maintenance of a Security Forces Complex at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-07-01

    the southeast, and is not used for any purpose. The presence of faults has a direct bearing on the movement and occurrence of groundwater in the...sand sagebrush (Artemisia filifolia), needle - and-thread grass (Stipa comata), globemallows (Sphaeralcea spp.), Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila), Mormon...Equipment per 10 acres (lb/day) (lb/day) (lb/day) (lb/day) (lb/day) (lb/day) (lb/day) Paver 1 3.83 0.37 2.06 0.28 0.35 0.34 401.93 Roller 1 4.82 0.44

  3. Final Environmental Assessment Addressing Building Demolition at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-04-01

    direct bearing on the movement and occurrence of groundwater in the vicinity of Kirtland AFB. The groundwater flow direction is down basin (south...saltbush (Atriplex canescens), sand sagebrush (Artemisia filifolia), needle -and-thread grass (Stipa comata), globemallows (Sphaeralcea spp...0.34 401.93 Roller 1 4.82 0.44 2.51 0.37 0.43 0.42 536.07 Truck 2 36.71 1.79 14.01 3.27 1.99 1.93 4685.95 Total per 10 acres of activity 4 45.37 2.61

  4. Final Environmental Assessment Addressing Construction, Operation, and Maintenance of a Military Working Dog Facility at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-03-01

    of faults has a direct bearing on the movement and occurrence of groundwater in the vicinity of Kirtland AFB. The groundwater flow direction is...jamesii), foxtail barley (Hordeum jubatum), four-wing saltbush (Atriplex canescens), sand sagebrush (Artemisia filifolia), needle -and-thread grass...lb/day) (lb/day) (lb/day) (lb/day) (lb/day) (lb/day) (lb/day) Paver 1 3.83 0.37 2.06 0.28 0.35 0.34 401.93 Roller 1 4.82 0.44 2.51 0.37 0.43 0.42

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Autumn and winter diet of the swift fox (Vulpes velox in south-eastern Wyoming

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peter Pechacek

    2000-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract We investigated the Swift fox (Vulpes velox food habits during an autumn (October and winter month (December and January in a sagebrush-grassland habitat in south-eastern Wyoming in 1996 and 1997. The percentage of occurrence of various food items was determined from 63 scat samples of 6 radio-collared foxes (3 pairs. Mammals, especially rodents, and insects were the most common prey (24.5% and 19.1%, respectively. 49 scat contained plant material. Ungulate carrion was an important part of the Swift fox's diet. No significant difference between autumn and winter diet was detected.

  9. Environmental and climatic variables as potential drivers of post-fire cover of cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) in seeded and unseeded semiarid ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shinneman, D.J.; Baker, W.L.

    2009-01-01

    Cheatgrass, a non-native annual grass, dominates millions of hectares in semiarid ecosystems of the Intermountain West (USA). Post-fire invasions can reduce native species diversity and alter ecological processes. To curb cheatgrass invasion, land managers often seed recently burned areas with perennial competitor species. We sampled vegetation within burned (19 years post-fire) and nearby unburned (representing pre-fire) pionjuniper (Pinus edulisJuniperus osteosperma) woodland and sagebrush (Artemisia sp.) in western Colorado to analyze variables that might explain cheatgrass cover after fire. A multiple regression model suggests higher cheatgrass cover after fire with: (1) sagebrush v. pionjuniper; (2) higher pre-fire cover of annual forbs; (3) increased time since fire; (4) lower pre-fire cover of biological soil crust; and (5) lower precipitation the year before fire. Time since fire, which coincided with higher precipitation, accounts for most of the variability in cheatgrass cover. No significant difference was found in mean cheatgrass cover between seeded and unseeded plots over time. However, negative relationships with pre-fire biological soil crust cover and native species richness suggest livestock-degraded areas are more susceptible to post-fire invasion. Proactive strategies for combating cheatgrass should include finding effective native competitors and restoring livestock-degraded areas. ?? 2009 IAWF.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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%)

  14. 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

  15. Influence of elk grazing on soil properties in Rocky Mountain National Park

    Science.gov (United States)

    Binkley, Dan; Singer, F.; Kaye, M.; Rochelle, R.

    2003-01-01

    We used three 35-year exclosures to examine the effects of high elk populations on a variety of soil properties in three vegetation types: upland sagebrush, aspen, and meadow. Grazing and hoof action by elk significantly increased bulk density (from 0.87 kg/l ungrazed to 0.94 kg/l grazed), with greater effects on soils with fewer rocks. Grazing substantially reduced extractable calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus in the sagebrush type, but not in the aspen or meadow types. The only grazing effect on pH came in aspen types, where grazing prevented aspen establishment, and kept soil pH about 0.7 units higher than under aspen inside the exclosures. Grazing had no overall effect on total soil C and N across all exclosures and vegetation types. The availability of soil nitrogen, indexed by in-field resin bags and net mineralization in soil cores, showed little overall effect of grazing. Limited data on soil leaching indicated a possibility of strong increases in nitrate leaching with grazing for an aspen vegetation type at one exclosure. Although we found little effect of grazing on soil N supply, we note that N fertilization doubled the production of grasses and shrubs; if grazing eventually led to changes in soil N supply, species composition and growth would likely change. ?? 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  16. Post-fire ecosystem recovery trajectories along burn severity gradients

    Science.gov (United States)

    Newingham, B. A.; Hudak, A. T.; Bright, B. C.; Smith, A. G.; Henareh Khalyani, A.

    2017-12-01

    Burn severity is a term used to describe the longer-term, second-order effects of fire on ecosystems. Plant communities are assumed to recover more slowly at higher burn severities; however, this likely depends on plant community type and climate. We assessed vegetation recovery approximately a decade post-fire across North American forests (moist mixed conifer, dry mixed conifer, ponderosa pine) and shrublands (mountain big sagebrush and Wyoming big sagebrush) distributed across climate and burn severity gradients. We assessed vegetation recovery across these ecosystems as indicated by the differenced Normalized Burn Ratio derived from 1984-2016 Landsat time series imagery (LandTrendr). Additionally, we used field vegetation measurements to examine local topographic controls on burn severity and post-fire vegetation recovery. Ecosystem responses were related to climate predictors derived from downscaled 1993-2011 climate normals. We hypothesized that drier and hotter ecosystems would take longer to recover. We also predicted areas with higher burn severity to have slower recovery. We found post-fire recovery to be strongly predicted by precipitation with the slowest recovery in shrublands and ponderosa pine forest, the driest vegetation types considered. We conclude that climate and burn severity interact to determine ecosystem recovery trajectories after fire, with burn severity having larger influence in the short term, and climate having larger influence in the long term.

  17. 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.

  18. Microbial detoxification in the gut of a specialist avian herbivore, the Greater Sage-Grouse.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kohl, Kevin D; Connelly, John W; Dearing, M Denise; Forbey, Jennifer Sorensen

    2016-07-01

    One function of the gut microbiota gaining recent attention, especially in herbivorous mammals and insects, is the metabolism of plant secondary metabolites (PSMs). We investigated whether this function exists within the gut communities of a specialist avian herbivore. We sequenced the cecal metagenome of the Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), which specializes on chemically defended sagebrush (Artemisia spp.). We predicted that the cecal metagenome of the sage-grouse would be enriched in genes associated with the metabolism of PSMs when compared to the metagenome of the domestic chicken. We found that representation of microbial genes associated with 'xenobiotic degradation and metabolism' was 3-fold higher in the sage-grouse cecal metagenomes when compared to that of the domestic chicken. Further, we identified a complete metabolic pathway for the degradation of phenol to pyruvate, which was not detected in the metagenomes of the domestic chicken, bovine rumen or 14 species of mammalian herbivores. Evidence of monoterpene degradation (a major class of PSMs in sagebrush) was less definitive, although we did detect genes for several enzymes associated with this process. Overall, our results suggest that the gut microbiota of specialist avian herbivores plays a similar role to the microbiota of mammalian and insect herbivores in degrading PSMs. © FEMS 2016. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  19. Colony density and activity times of the ant Camponotus semitestaceus (hymenoptera:formicidae) in a shrub steppe community

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gano, K.A.; Rogers, L.E.

    1983-11-01

    Colony densities and above-ground activity periods were determined for Camponotus semitestaceus colonies within a shrub-steppe community. Colony densities (x +/- SD) averaged 0.088 +/- 0.032 per m/sup 2/ and 0.048 +/- 0.028 per m/sup 2/ on two sagebrush-bunchgrass sites and 0.028 +/- 0.028 per m/sup 2/ on a burned site. Seventy-five percent of the nest entrances were located alongside the stems of sagebrush, indicating a preference for these microhabitats as nest locations. Above-ground activity times were determined by using time lapse photography. Activity commenced shortly after sunset, when light intensities dropped to 2.5 to 1.0 foot-candles (ca. 27 to 11 lux) and terminated just before sunrise. Light intensity appears to be the primary cue for controlling above-ground activity periods of this species, but temperature also appears to be an important factor. When soil surface temperatures drop to 1.7 to 3.9/sup 0/C, all above-ground activity ceases, irrespective of light intensity. 19 references, 3 figures, 2 tables.

  20. Colony density and activity times of the ant Camponotus semitestaceus (hymenoptera: Formicidae) in a shrub steppe community

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gano, K.A.; Rogers, L.E.

    1983-11-01

    Colony densities and above-ground activity periods were determined for Camponotus semitestaceus colonies within a shrub-steppe community. Colony densities (anti x=/- SD) averaged 0.088 +/- 0.032 per m/sup 2/ and 0.048 +/- 0.028 per m/sup 2/ on two sagebrush-bunchgrass sites and 0.028 +/- 0.028 per m/sup 2/ on a burned site. Seventy-five percent of the nest entrances were located alongside the stems of sagebrush, indicating a preference for these microhabitats as nest locations. Above-ground activity times were determined by using time lapse photography. Activity commenced shortly after sunset, when light intensities dropped to 2.5 to 1.0 foot-candles (ca. 27 to 11 lux) and terminated just before sunrise. Light intensity appears to be the primary cue for controlling above-ground activity periods of this species, but temperature also appears to be an important factor. When soil surface temperatures drop to 1.7 to 3.9/sup 0/C, all above-ground activity ceases, irrespective of light intensity.

  1. Consequences of inoculation with native arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi for root colonization and survival of Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis seedlings after transplanting.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davidson, Bill E; Novak, Stephen J; Serpe, Marcelo D

    2016-08-01

    In arid environments, the propagule density of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) may limit the extent of the plant-AMF symbiosis. Inoculation of seedlings with AMF could alleviate this problem, but the success of this practice largely depends on the ability of the inoculum to multiply and colonize the growing root system after transplanting. These phenomena were investigated in Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis (Wyoming big sagebrush) seedlings inoculated with native AMF. Seedlings were first grown in a greenhouse in soil without AMF (non-inoculated seedlings) or with AMF (inoculated seedlings). In spring and fall, 3-month-old seedlings were transplanted outdoors to 24-L pots containing soil from a sagebrush habitat (spring and fall mesocosm experiments) or to a recently burned sagebrush habitat (spring and fall field experiments). Five or 8 months after transplanting, colonization was about twofold higher in inoculated than non-inoculated seedlings, except for the spring field experiment. In the mesocosm experiments, inoculation increased survival during the summer by 24 % (p = 0.011). In the field experiments, increased AMF colonization was associated with increases in survival during cold and dry periods; 1 year after transplanting, survival of inoculated seedlings was 27 % higher than that of non-inoculated ones (p colonization and δ (13)C values was observed in the spring mesocosm experiment. In contrast, inoculation did not affect the δ (13)C values of fall transplanted seedlings that were collected the subsequent spring. The effectiveness of AMF inoculation on enhancing colonization and reducing seedling mortality varied among the different experiments, but average effects were estimated by meta-analyses. Several months after transplanting, average AMF colonization was in proportion 84 % higher in inoculated than non-inoculated seedlings (p = 0.0042), while the average risk of seedling mortality was 42 % lower in inoculated than non

  2. 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

  3. The Ups and Downs of Rhizosphere Resource Exchange

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cardon, Z. G.; Fu, C.; Wang, G.; Stark, J.

    2014-12-01

    Hydraulic redistribution (HR) of soil water by plants occurs in seasonally dry ecosystems worldwide. During HR, soil water flows from wet soil into roots, through the root system, and out of roots into dry rhizosphere soil. Hydraulic redistribution affects plant physiology and landscape hydrology, and it has long been hypothesized that upward HR of deep water to dry, nutrient-rich surface soil may also stimulate soil nutrient cycling and thus enhance nutrient availability to plants in the field. We report results from a sagebrush-steppe field experiment in northern Utah, USA, showing that stimulation of sagebrush-mediated HL increased rates of nitrogen cycling in the surface soil layer around shrubs at summer's end, and more than quadrupled uptake of nitrogen into developing sagebrush inflorescences. We have built on these empirical data by folding Ryel et al.'s (2002) HR formulation into CLM4.5 and examining how well the combined model can simultaneously simulate measured evapotranspiration, the vertical profile of soil moisture, and the amplitude of HR-associated diel changes in water content, at multiple seasonally-dry Ameriflux sites: Wind River Crane (US-Wrc), Southern California Climate Gradient (US-SCs,g,f,w,d,&c), and Santa Rita Mesquite Savanna (US-SRM). The simulated hydraulic lift during the dry periods has an average value in the range from 0.09 (at US-SCc) to 0.64 (at US-SCf) mm H2O d-1. In many cases, the combined model reproduced seasonal and daily (diel) observations with reasonable accuracy. Among the many model parameters tested, the Clapp and Hornberger parameter "B" in CLM4.5 was critical for a realistic simulation of soil moisture. Modeled HR was also sensitive to the maximum radial soil-root conductance and the soil water potential where that conductance is reduced by 50%. Our next step is to explore how modeled carbon and nutrient cycling in soil layers are affected by redistributed water in the soil column caused by inclusion of HR in CLM4.5.

  4. Spatial and ecological variation in dryland ecohydrological responses to climate change: implications for management

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

    Ecohydrological responses to climate change will exhibit spatial variability and understanding the spatial pattern of ecological impacts is critical from a land management perspective. To quantify climate change impacts on spatial patterns of ecohydrology across shrub steppe ecosystems in North America, we asked the following question: How will climate change impacts on ecohydrology differ in magnitude and variability across climatic gradients, among three big sagebrush ecosystems (SB-Shrubland, SB-Steppe, SB-Montane), and among Sage-grouse Management Zones? We explored these potential changes for mid-century for RCP8.5 using a process-based water balance model (SOILWAT) for 898 big sagebrush sites using site- and scenario-specific inputs. We summarize changes in available soil water (ASW) and dry days, as these ecohydrological variables may be helpful in guiding land management decisions about where to geographically concentrate climate change mitigation and adaptation resources. Our results suggest that during spring, soils will be wetter in the future across the western United States, while soils will be drier in the summer. The magnitude of those predictions differed depending on geographic position and the ecosystem in question: Larger increases in mean daily spring ASW were expected for high-elevation SB-Montane sites and the eastern and central portions of our study area. The largest decreases in mean daily summer ASW were projected for warm, dry, mid-elevation SB-Montane sites in the central and west-central portions of our study area (decreases of up to 50%). Consistent with declining summer ASW, the number of dry days was projected to increase rangewide, but particularly for SB-Montane and SB-Steppe sites in the eastern and northern regions. Collectively, these results suggest that most sites will be drier in the future during the summer, but changes were especially large for mid- to high-elevation sites in the northern half of our study area. Drier

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. POLSCAT Ku-Band Radar Remote Sensing of Terrestrial Snow Cover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yueh, Simon; Cline, Donald; Elder, Kelly

    2008-01-01

    Characteristics of the POLSCAT data acquired from five sets of aircraft flights in the winter months of 2006-2008 for the second Cold Land Processes Experiment (CLPX-II) in Colorado are described in this paper. The data showed the response of the Ku-band radar echoes to snowpack changes for various types of background vegetation in the study site in north central Colorado. We observed about 0.15 to 0.5 dB increases in backscatter for every 1 cm of snow water equivalent (SWE) accumulation for areas with short vegetation. Based on a simplified radiative transfer model, the change detection technique is used to convert the temporal change of radar backscatter into SWE accumulation for dry snow conditions. The resulting SWE accumulation estimates are consistent with the in-situ SWE measurements, with about 2 to 3 cm Root-Mean-Square (RMS) difference for regions with sagebrush or pasture.

  9. An economic framework for analyzing reclamation after energy extraction in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perry, Abby A.

    Wyoming's economy is highly dependent on natural gas and coal production, but energy extraction degrades rangelands. Federal and state laws and policies govern reclamation of disturbed lands. However, establishing sagebrush plant communities is difficult and defining successful reclamation can be challenging. We analyze reclamation costs in the Powder River Basin of northeastern Wyoming using coal company annual reclamation reports. We also construct a probabilistic mathematical programming model that characterizes a coal company's reclamation decision-,making process and proposes a way to incorporate uncertainty into reclamation modeling. We also use results from a plant sciences field experiment to incorporate costs into optimal seed mix and herbicide choice. This thesis also draws attention to the disconnect between the data biologists collect and the data that economists need to model reclamation decision-making.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Atmospheric-Ecosystem CO2 Exchange in Sparse Arid Shrublands Across the Great Basin USA Over Multiple Years: Identifying Patterns and Mechanisms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arnone, J. A.; Jasoni, R. L.; Larsen, J. D.; Fenstermaker, L. F.; Wohlfahrt, G.

    2008-12-01

    Up to recently, desert ecosystems have essentially been ignored with respect to their influence on global carbon cycling and their potential role in modulating atmospheric CO2 levels. Because deserts, defined here as ecosystems receiving Larrea tridentata)-dominated ecosystems, high desert sagebrush steppe (Aremesia tridentata) ecosystems, and greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus) ecosystems have been largely positive (net C uptake by ecosystems; range of zero to 90 g C m-2 yr-1) and often large (as high 100 to 180 g C m-2 yr-1). Thus, the data from these arid shrublands suggest a much larger arid land C sink than has been previously assumed and call for closer tracking of the CO2 fluxes in these ecosystems.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. Accelerating North American rangeland conservation with earth observation data and user driven web applications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allred, B. W.; Naugle, D.; Donnelly, P.; Tack, J.; Jones, M. O.

    2016-12-01

    In 2010, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) launched the Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI) to voluntarily reduce threats facing sage-grouse and rangelands on private lands. Over the past five years, SGI has matured into a primary catalyst for rangeland and wildlife conservation across the North American west, focusing on the shared vision of wildlife conservation through sustainable working landscapes and providing win-win solutions for producers, sage grouse, and 350 other sagebrush obligate species. SGI and its partners have invested a total of $750 million into rangeland and wildlife conservation. Moving forward, SGI continues to focus on rangeland conservation. Partnering with Google Earth Engine, SGI has developed outcome monitoring and conservation planning tools at continental scales. The SGI science team is currently developing assessment and monitoring algorithms of key conservation indicators. The SGI web application utilizes Google Earth Engine for user defined analysis and planning, putting the appropriate information directly into the hands of managers and conservationists.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Consequences of declining snow accumulation for water balance of mid-latitude dry regions

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

    Widespread documentation of positive winter temperature anomalies, declining snowpack and earlier snow melt in the Northern Hemisphere have raised concerns about the consequences for regional water resources as well as wildfire. A topic that has not been addressed with respect to declining snowpack is effects on ecosystem water balance. Changes in water balance dynamics will be particularly pronounced at low elevations of mid-latitude dry regions because these areas will be the first to be affected by declining snow as a result of rising temperatures. As a model system, we used simulation experiments to investigate big sagebrush ecosystems that dominate a large fraction of the semiarid western United States. Our results suggest that effects on future ecosystem water balance will increase along a climatic gradient from dry, warm and snow-poor to wet, cold and snow-rich. Beyond a threshold within this climatic gradient, predicted consequences for vegetation switched from no change to increasing transpiration. Responses were sensitive to uncertainties in climatic prediction; particularly, a shift of precipitation to the colder season could reduce impacts of a warmer and snow-poorer future, depending on the degree to which ecosystem phenology tracks precipitation changes. Our results suggest that big sagebrush and other similar semiarid ecosystems could decrease in viability or disappear in dry to medium areas and likely increase only in the snow-richest areas, i.e. higher elevations and higher latitudes. Unlike cold locations at high elevations or in the arctic, ecosystems at low elevations respond in a different and complex way to future conditions because of opposing effects of increasing water-limitation and a longer snow-free season. Outcomes of such nonlinear interactions for future ecosystems will likely include changes in plant composition and productivity, dynamics of water balance, and availability of water resources.

  20. Observations of Near-Surface Heat-Flux and Temperature Profiles Through the Early Evening Transition over Contrasting Surfaces

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jensen, Derek D.; Nadeau, Daniel F.; Hoch, Sebastian W.; Pardyjak, Eric R.

    2016-06-01

    Near-surface turbulence data from the Mountain Terrain Atmospheric Modeling and Observations (MATERHORN) program are used to study countergradient heat fluxes through the early evening transition. Two sites, subjected to similar large-scale forcing, but with vastly different surface and sub-surface characteristics, are considered. The Playa site is situated at the interior of a large dry lakebed desert with high sub-surface soil moisture, shallow water table, and devoid of vegetation. The Sagebrush site is located in a desert steppe region with sparse vegetation and little soil moisture. Countergradient sensible heat fluxes are observed during the transition at both sites. The transition process is both site and height dependent. At the Sagebrush site, the countergradient flux at 5 m and below occurs when the sign change of the sensible heat flux precedes the local temperature gradient sign change. For 10 m and above, the countergradient flux occurs when the sign change of the sensible heat flux follows the local temperature gradient sign change. At the Playa site, the countergradient flux at all tower levels occurs when the sign change of the sensible heat flux follows the local temperature gradient sign change. The phenomenon is explained in terms of the mean temperature and heat-flux evolution. The temperature gradient sign reversal is a top-down process while the flux reversal occurs nearly simultaneously at all heights. The differing countergradient behaviour is primarily due to the different subsurface thermal characteristics at the two sites. The combined high volumetric heat capacity and high thermal conductivity at the Playa site lead to small vertical temperature gradients that affect the relative magnitude of terms in the heat-flux tendency equation. A critical ratio of the gradient production to buoyant production of sensible heat flux is suggested so as to predict the countergradient behaviour.

  1. Habitat associations of vertebrate prey within the controlled area study zone

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Marr, N.V.; Brandt, C.A.; Fitzner, R.E.; Poole, L.D.

    1988-03-01

    Twelve study locations were established in nine habitat types in the vicinity of the proposed reference repository location. Eight species of small mammals were captured. Great Basin pocket mice (Perognathus parvus) comprised the majority of individuals captured, followed by deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus), Northern pocket gopher (Thomomys talpoides), Western harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys megalotus), Grasshopper mouse (Onychomys leucogaster), Montane vole, (Microtus montanus), House mouse (Mus musculus), and the Bushy-tailed woodrat (Neotoma cinerea). Pocket mice were captured in all habitats sampled; deer mice were obtained in all habitats save hopsage and nearly pure cheatgrass stands. The highese capture rates were found in bitterbrush and riparian habitats. Capture sex ratios for both pocket mice and deer mice were significantly different from equality. Body weights for deer mice and pocket mice exhibited a great deal of heterogeneity across trap sites, although only the heterogeneity for pocket mice was significant. In general, body weights for both species were greater in the sagebrush habitats than elsewhere. These differences are interpreted in light of habitat evaluation methodologies. Six species of reptiles and one species of amphibian were captured. Side-blotched lizards (Uta stansburiana) were by far the most frequently captured species. The predominant snakes captured were the yellow-bellied racer (Coluber constrictor) and the Great Basin gopher snake (Pituophis melanoleucus). Two Great Basin spadefoot toads (Scaphiopus intermontanus) captured at the Rattlesnake Springs trap site. Species diversity was quite low (Shannon-Wiener H )equals) 1.03). Side-blotched lizards were found in all habitats save near the talus on Gable Mountain and on the gravel pad site. The only other lizard species (northern sagebrush lizard (Sceloporus graciosus) and short-horned lizard (Phrynosoma douglasii)) were obtained in bitterbrush habitat. 20 refs., 1 fig., 9 tabs.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Bed site selection by a subordinate predator: an example with the cougar (Puma concolor in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anna Kusler

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available As technology has improved, our ability to study cryptic animal behavior has increased. Bed site selection is one such example. Among prey species, bed site selection provides thermoregulatory benefits and mitigates predation risk, and may directly influence survival. We conducted research to test whether a subordinate carnivore also selected beds with similar characteristics in an ecosystem supporting a multi-species guild of competing predators. We employed a model comparison approach in which we tested whether cougar (Puma concolor bed site attributes supported the thermoregulatory versus the predator avoidance hypotheses, or exhibited characteristics supporting both hypotheses. Between 2012–2016, we investigated 599 cougar bed sites in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and examined attributes at two scales: the landscape (second-order, n = 599 and the microsite (fourth order, n = 140. At the landscape scale, cougars selected bed sites in winter that supported both the thermoregulatory and predator avoidance hypotheses: bed sites were on steeper slopes but at lower elevations, closer to the forest edge, away from sagebrush and meadow habitat types, and on southern, eastern, and western-facing slopes. In the summer, bed attributes supported the predator avoidance hypothesis over the thermoregulation hypothesis: beds were closer to forest edges, away from sagebrush and meadow habitat classes, and on steeper slopes. At the microsite scale, cougar bed attributes in both the winter and summer supported both the predator avoidance and thermoregulatory hypotheses: they selected bed sites with high canopy cover, high vegetative concealment, and in a rugged habitat class characterized by cliff bands and talus fields. We found that just like prey species, a subordinate predator selected bed sites that facilitated both thermoregulatory and anti-predator functions. In conclusion, we believe that measuring bed site attributes may provide a novel

  6. Interim reclamation report, Basalt Waste Isolation Project Near Surface Test Facility 1990

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Brandt, C.A.; Rickard, W.H. Jr.; Hefty, M.G.; Cadoret, N.A.

    1991-01-01

    This report describes the development of the reclamation project for the Hanford Site Near Surface Test Facility (NSTF), its implementation, and preliminary estimates of its success. The goal of the reclamation project is to return disturbed sites as nearly as practicable to their original conditions using native species. Gable Mountain is dominated by two plant communities: a big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) -- Sandberg's bluegrass (Poa sandbergii) community and a stiff sagebrush (Artemisia rigida) -- Sandberg's bluegrass community. Disassembly of the site installations began on March 15, 1988, and the site was returned to original contours by December 12, 1988. Two separate revegetation methods were employed at the NSTF to meet differing site constraints. Vegetative cover and density in the revegetation plots were assessed in April 1989 and again in June 1989 and 1990. It is extremely unlikely that the sand pit, borrow pit, box cuts, generator pad area, or ventilation fan area will reach the reclamation objectives set for these areas within the next 50 years without further intervention. These areas currently support few living plants. Vegetation on revegetated native soils appears to be growing as expected. Vegetation growth on the main waterline is well below the objective. To date, no shrubs have grown on the area, growth of native grasses is well below the objective, and much of the area has been covered with the pit run material, which may not support adequate growth. Without further treatments, the areas without the pit run material will likely revert to a nearly pure cheatgrass condition. 44 refs., 13 figs., 7 tabs.

  7. 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.

  8. Effects of Tracking by Armored Vehicles on Townsend's Ground Squirrels in the Orchard Training Area, Idaho, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van Horne B; Sharpe

    1998-07-01

    / Maintaining raptor populations is a primary objective of the legislation that designates the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area. Army training activities could influence habitat quality for raptors by changing the density, productivity, or behavior of their Townsend's ground squirrel (Spermophilus townsendii) prey. These changes could occur directly or as a result of changes in the vegetation available as food and cover for the ground squirrels. We assessed the effects of long-term tracking by armored vehicles by comparing 9-ha areas in sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) -dominated shrubsteppe and bluegrass (Poa secunda) -dominated grasslands subjected to low-intensity tracking for approximately 50 years with others that had not been tracked. We did not detect any effect on ground squirrel population dynamics associated with long-term tracking. Although densities of adults and juveniles tended to be higher in the areas exposed to such tracking, we attribute this difference to other factors that varied spatially. To determine short-term (two-year) effects, we experimentally tracked two sagebrush and two grassland sites with an M-1 tank after animals had begun their inactive season. In the following two active seasons we monitored squirrel demography and behavior and vegetative characteristics on the experimentally tracked sites and compared the results with control sites. Although we experimentally tracked approximately 33% of the surface of each of four sites where ground squirrel densities were assessed, the tracking had a detectable effect only on some herbaceous perennials and did not influence ground squirrel densities or behavior significantly during the subsequent two active seasons. We conclude that tracking after the start of the inactive season is likely to influence ground squirrel demography or behavior only if vegetation cover is substantially changed by decreasing coverage of preferred food plants or increasing the coverage of annual

  9. 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.

  10. Shrub-Steppe Early Succession Following Juniper Cutting and Prescribed Fire

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bates, Jonathan D.; Davies, Kirk W.; Sharp, Robert N.

    2011-03-01

    Pinus- Juniperus L. (Piñon-juniper) woodlands of the western United States have expanded in area nearly 10-fold since the late 1800's. Juniperus occidentalis ssp. occidentalis Hook. (western juniper) dominance in sagebrush steppe has several negative consequences, including reductions in herbaceous production and diversity, decreased wildlife habitat, and higher erosion and runoff potentials. Prescribed fire and mechanical tree removal are the main methods used to control J. occidentalis and restore sagebrush steppe. However, mature woodlands become difficult to prescribe burn because of the lack of understory fuels. We evaluated partial cutting of the woodlands (cutting 25-50% of the trees) to increase surface fuels, followed by prescribed fire treatments in late successional J. occidentalis woodlands of southwest Idaho to assess understory recovery. The study was conducted in two different plant associations and evaluated what percentage of the woodland required preparatory cutting to eliminate remaining J. occidentalis by prescribed fire, determined the impacts of fire to understory species, and examined early post-fire successional dynamics. The study demonstrated that late successional J. occidentalis woodlands can be burned after pre-cutting only a portion of the trees. Early succession in the cut-and-burn treatments were dominated by native annual and perennial forbs, in part due to high mortality of perennial bunchgrasses. By the third year after fire the number of establishing perennial grass seedlings indicated that both associations would achieve full herbaceous recovery. Cutting-prescribed fire combinations are an effective means for controlling encroaching late successional J. occidentalis and restoring herbaceous plant communities. However, land managers should recognize that there are potential problems associated with cutting-prescribed fire applications when invasive weeds are present.

  11. An Object-Based Image Analysis of Pinyon and Juniper Woodlands Treated to Reduce Fuels

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hulet, April; Roundy, Bruce A.; Petersen, Steven L.; Jensen, Ryan R.; Bunting, Stephen C.

    2014-03-01

    Mechanical and prescribed fire treatments are commonly used to reduce fuel loads and maintain or restore sagebrush steppe rangelands across the Great Basin where pinyon ( Pinus) and juniper ( Juniperus) trees are encroaching and infilling. Geospatial technologies, particularly remote sensing, could potentially be used in these ecosystems to (1) evaluate the longevity of fuel reduction treatments, (2) provide data for planning and designing future fuel-reduction treatments, and (3) assess the spatial distribution of horizontal fuel structure following fuel-reduction treatments. High-spatial resolution color-infrared imagery (0.06-m pixels) was acquired for pinyon and juniper woodland plots where fuels were reduced by either prescribed fire, tree cutting, or mastication at five sites in Oregon, California, Nevada, and Utah. Imagery was taken with a Vexcel UltraCam X digital camera in June 2009. Within each treatment plot, ground cover was measured as part of the Sagebrush Steppe Treatment Evaluation Project. Trimble eCognition Developer was used to classify land cover classes using object-based image analysis (OBIA) techniques. Differences between cover estimates using OBIA and ground-measurements were not consistently higher or lower for any land cover class and when evaluated for individual sites, were within ±5 % of each other. The overall accuracy and the K hat statistic for classified thematic maps for each treatment were: prescribed burn 85 % and 0.81; cut and fell 82 % and 0.77, and mastication 84 % and 0.80. Although cover assessments from OBIA differed somewhat from ground measurements, they are sufficiently accurate to evaluate treatment success and for supporting a broad range of management concerns.

  12. 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

  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. Climate change and land management impact rangeland condition and sage-grouse habitat in southeastern Oregon

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Megan K. Creutzburg

    2015-04-01

    Full Text Available Contemporary pressures on sagebrush steppe from climate change, exotic species, wildfire, and land use change threaten rangeland species such as the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus. To effectively manage sagebrush steppe landscapes for long-term goals, managers need information about the potential impacts of climate change, disturbances, and management activities. We integrated information from a dynamic global vegetation model, a sage-grouse habitat climate envelope model, and a state-and-transition simulation model to project broad-scale vegetation dynamics and potential sage-grouse habitat across 23.5 million acres in southeastern Oregon. We evaluated four climate scenarios, including continuing current climate and three scenarios of global climate change, and three management scenarios, including no management, current management and a sage-grouse habitat restoration scenario. All climate change scenarios projected expansion of moist shrub steppe and contraction of dry shrub steppe, but climate scenarios varied widely in the projected extent of xeric shrub steppe, where hot, dry summer conditions are unfavorable for sage-grouse. Wildfire increased by 26% over the century under current climate due to exotic grass encroachment, and by two- to four-fold across all climate change scenarios as extreme fire years became more frequent. Exotic grasses rapidly expanded in all scenarios as large areas of the landscape initially in semi-degraded condition converted to exotic-dominated systems. Due to the combination of exotic grass invasion, juniper encroachment, and climatic unsuitability for sage-grouse, projected sage-grouse habitat declined in the first several decades, but increased in area under the three climate change scenarios later in the century, as moist shrub steppe increased and rangeland condition improved. Management activities in the model were generally unsuccessful in controlling exotic grass invasion but were

  15. 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

  16. A large-scale perspective for managing prairie avifauna assemblages across the western US: influences of habitat, land ownership and latitude.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dreitz, Victoria J; Stinson, Lani T; Hahn, Beth A; Tack, Jason D; Lukacs, Paul M

    2017-01-01

    Future demands for increased food production are expected to have severe impacts on prairie biodiversity and ecosystem integrity. Prairie avifauna of North America have experienced drastic population declines, prompting numerous conservation efforts, which have been informed primarily by small-scale studies. We applied a large-scale perspective that integrates scale dependency in avian responses by analyzing observations of 20 prairie bird species (17 grassland obligates and three sagebrush obligate species) from 2009-2012 in the western prairie region of the United States. We employed a multi-species model approach to examine the relationship of land ownership, habitat, and latitude to landscape-scale species richness. Our findings suggest that patterns and processes influencing avian assemblages at the focal-scale (e.g., inference at the sampling unit) may not function at the landscape-scale (e.g., inference amongst sampling units). Individual species responses to land ownership, habitat and latitude were highly variable. The broad spatial extent of our study demonstrates the need to include lands in private ownership to assess biodiversity and the importance of maintaining habitat diversity to support avian assemblages. Lastly, focal-scale information can document species presence within a study area, but landscape-scale information provides an essential complement to inform conservation actions and policies by placing local biodiversity in the context of an entire region, landscape or ecosystem.

  17. Post-glacial Evolution and Human Alteration of Two Contrasting Riverine Landscapes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beechie, T. J.; Pess, G. R.; Imaki, H.

    2011-12-01

    Historical reconstructions of pre-settlement landscapes and geomorphic processes in two Pacific Northwest USA river basins highlight long-term processes that constrain the potential of the modern-day riverscape, as well as an understanding of how land uses have altered today's habitats for Pacific salmon. Following retreat of the continental ice sheet (~14,000 ybp), the Skagit River incised several hundred meters into valley-filling glacial sediments, creating a series of terraces bounding a wide floodplain with a rich diversity of salmon habitats. By contrast, much of the Columbia River basin was not glaciated, and glacial outburst floods from Lake Missoula scoured the Columbia plateau and left deep silt deposits in several tributary basins, creating wide floodplains and groundwater-fed salmon habitats. These glacial histories constrain riverine habitat potential and genetic diversity of salmon in both basins, and also predispose each landscape to specific patterns of resource use. Since the mid-1800s, diking and ditching of floodplain and delta streams of the Skagit basin has obliterated more than 50% of salmon rearing habitat, but the arid Columbia basin has been most altered by construction of 18 large dams that produce hydropower and irrigate more than 2700 km2 of former sagebrush steppe. We illustrate how intensive river management in both basins has shifted the riverscape away from diverse habitats maintained by natural disturbance regimes to simplified habitats and dampened disturbance regimes.

  18. Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative Science and Management Workshop Proceedings, May 12-14, 2009, Laramie, Wyoming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nuccio, Vito F.; D'Erchia, Frank D.; Parady, K.(compiler); Mellinger, A.

    2010-01-01

    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) hosted the second Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI) Science and Management Workshop at the University of Wyoming Conference Center and Hilton Garden Inn on May 12, 13, and 14, 2009, in Laramie, Wyo. The workshop focused on six topics seen as relevant to ongoing WLCI science and management activities: mapping and modeling resources for decisionmaking; data information and management; fish and wildlife research; changing landscapes; monitoring; and reclamation and offsite mitigation. Panelists gave presentations on ongoing research in these six areas during plenary sessions followed by audience discussions. Three breakout groups focused on discussing wildlife, reclamation, and monitoring. Throughout the plenary sessions, audience discussions, and breakout groups, several needs were repeatedly emphasized by panelists and workshop participants: developing a conservation plan and identifying priority areas and species for conservation actions; gaining a deeper understanding of sagebrush ecology; identifying thresholds for wildlife that can be used to create an 'early warning system' for managers; continuing to collect basic data across the landscape; facilitating even greater communication and partnership across agencies and between scientists and land managers; and engaging proactively in understanding new changes on the landscape such as wind energy development and climate change. Detailed proceedings from the workshop are captured and summarized in this report.

  19. Phase 1 summaries of radionuclide concentration data for vegetation, river water, drinking water, and fish. Hanford Environmental Dose Reconstruction Project

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    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.

  20. 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.

  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. Nonradiation effects on natural vegetation from the Almendro underground nuclear detonation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tueller, P.T; Clark, J.E.

    1976-03-01

    Nonradiation effects on the natural vegetation, primarily pinyon/juniper woodland, in the vicinity of project Almendro have been studied. Evaluation of tree and shrub damage along two radiating transects indicated that numerous trees were damaged or killed. Most of the damage obvious during the summer of detonation occurred from falling rock. Fresh rock movements were noted in flat areas and especially along cliffs. At 10,000 ft from surface zero, damage occurred primarily because of the incidence of cliffs in the plot areas. At 500 ft from surface zero: 38 percent of the pinyon trees and 29 percent of the juniper trees were found dead after detonation based on data from a single one-fifth acre plot. However, of the other nine stations that were studied by aerial photography, there was no pinyon nor juniper mortality found at six of them although each station was farther from surface zero. Water potential measurements in big sagebrush were apparently unaffected by detonation or secondary effects. Soil moisture depletion rates showed no significant alterations near surface zero. Phenology of major species was not disrupted. Year-to-year phenology differences were greater than within year changes that might have resulted from ground motion damage. Clipping of individual shrubs before and after detonation revealed no reduction in productivity. Juniper is slightly more susceptible to damage from ground motion than pinyon. Tree damage, while common along the igneous cliffs, does not seem excessive when considering the entire area

  3. A large-scale perspective for managing prairie avifauna assemblages across the western US: influences of habitat, land ownership and latitude

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Victoria J. Dreitz

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Future demands for increased food production are expected to have severe impacts on prairie biodiversity and ecosystem integrity. Prairie avifauna of North America have experienced drastic population declines, prompting numerous conservation efforts, which have been informed primarily by small-scale studies. We applied a large-scale perspective that integrates scale dependency in avian responses by analyzing observations of 20 prairie bird species (17 grassland obligates and three sagebrush obligate species from 2009–2012 in the western prairie region of the United States. We employed a multi-species model approach to examine the relationship of land ownership, habitat, and latitude to landscape-scale species richness. Our findings suggest that patterns and processes influencing avian assemblages at the focal-scale (e.g., inference at the sampling unit may not function at the landscape-scale (e.g., inference amongst sampling units. Individual species responses to land ownership, habitat and latitude were highly variable. The broad spatial extent of our study demonstrates the need to include lands in private ownership to assess biodiversity and the importance of maintaining habitat diversity to support avian assemblages. Lastly, focal-scale information can document species presence within a study area, but landscape-scale information provides an essential complement to inform conservation actions and policies by placing local biodiversity in the context of an entire region, landscape or ecosystem.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Vegetation response to southern California drought during the Medieval Climate Anomaly and early Little Ice Age (AD 800–1600)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heusser, Linda E.; Hendy, Ingrid L.; Barron, John A.

    2015-01-01

    High-resolution studies of pollen in laminated sediments deposited in Santa Barbara Basin (SBB) core SPR0901-02KC reflect decadal-scale fluctuations in precipitation spanning the interval from AD 800–1600. From AD 800–1090 during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) SBB sediments were dominated by xeric vegetation types (drought-resistant coastal sagebrush and chaparral) implying reduced precipitation in the southern California region. Drought-adapted vegetation abruptly decreased at AD 1090 and was rapidly replaced by mesic oak (Quercus) woodlands associated with an increased pollen flux into the basin. After a mesic interval lasting ∼100 years, pollen flux and the relative abundance of Quercus pollen dropped abruptly at AD 1200 when the rapid rise of chaparral suggests a significant drought similar to that of the MCA (∼AD 800–1090). This brief resurgence of drought-adapted vegetation between AD 1200–1270 marked the end of the MCA droughts. A gradual increase in mesic vegetation followed, characterizing cool hydroclimates of the Little Ice Age (LIA) in coastal southern California.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. Population genetic structure ofBromus tectorumin the mountains of western North America.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arnesen, Spencer; Coleman, Craig E; Meyer, Susan E

    2017-06-01

    Invasive species are often initially restricted to a narrow range and may then expand through any of multiple mechanisms including phenotypic plasticity, in situ evolution, or selection on traits preadapted for new habitats. Our study used population genetics to explore possible processes by which the highly selfing invasive annual grass Bromus tectorum has expanded into montane environments. We used 69 single nucleotide polymorphic (SNP) markers to genotype ca. 20 individuals from each of 38 montane cheatgrass populations from throughout the Intermountain West and to identify characteristic SNP haplotypes and examine their distribution. Five invariant SNP haplotypes were dominant in montane cheatgrass populations, making up 59% of genotyped individuals, with each haplotype present in 12 to 21 populations. Four of these were absent or present at low frequency in low elevation populations, while the fifth was also sometimes dominant at low elevation. Sixteen haplotypes made up 78% of all genotyped individuals. These haplotypes were distributed across several haplogroups within the clade that also includes most sagebrush steppe lineages. The wide geographic distribution of several common haplotypes almost completely restricted to montane habitats suggests that dominant lineages in montane populations may possess adaptive syndromes that are preserved through reduced outcrossing rates or negative selection on outcrossed progeny. However, conclusive evidence of such local adaptation requires reciprocal seeding experiments and further characterization of adaptive traits and breeding system characteristics. Other lineages have likely risen to dominance in montane populations through selectively neutral processes. © 2017 Botanical Society of America.

  10. Actinobacterial chitinase-like enzymes: profiles of rhizosphere versus non-rhizosphere isolates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gonzalez-Franco, Ana C; Deobald, Lee A; Spivak, Aaron; Crawford, Don L

    2003-11-01

    The objective of this study was to determine if antifungal actinomycetes isolated from rhizosphere and non-rhizosphere soils exhibit different chitinase-like production and (or) induction patterns. Selected isolates from both habitats were compared. Chitinase-like levels and isoform characteristic patterns were evaluated over time in culture fluids of isolates grown on media containing different combinations of colloidal chitin and fungal cell wall (FCW) preparation. Supernatants were also subjected to native and non-native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE), using glycol chitin amended gels. For non-native PAGE, protein samples were denatured by two different approaches. Multiple active bands, ranging from 20 to 53 kDa and present in varying amounts, were detected in gels for most strains. Different substrate preferences were observed among strains, and different chitinase-like enzymes were produced, depending upon the substrate combinations used. The presence of FCW in the medium induced specific chitinase-like enzymes not observed otherwise. Enzymatic activities and profiles of the isolates, however, were strain and substrate specific rather than habitat specific. However, a sagebrush rhizosphere soil had a larger actinomycete community with higher chitinolytic activities than the nearby bulk soil. The use of PAGE to compare chitinase-like proteins induced in media with and without FCW was useful for identifying chitinase-like enzymes potentially involved in antifungal activity.

  11. Rooting depth and distributions of deep-rooted plants in the 200 Area control zone of the Hanford Site

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Klepper, E.L.; Gano, K.A.; Cadwell, L.L.

    1985-01-01

    This study was conducted to document rooting depths and distributions of deep-rooted plants common to the Hanford Site 200-Area plateau. The effort concentrated on excavating plant species suspected of having deep root systems, and species that have been reported in previous studies to contain radionuclides in above ground parts. The information obtained in this study will be useful in modeling radionuclide transport by plants and in designing covers and barriers for decommissioning low-level radioactive waste burial sites. Fourteen species including 58 individual plants were excavated to measure maximum rooting depth and root density distribution (g dry root/dm/sup 3/) through the root zone. Age and canopy volumes of shrubs were also determined. Eight of the 14 species excavated had average rooting depths of 150 cm or more. The two deepest rooted plants were antelope bitterbrush and sagebrush with average depths of 296 and 200 cm, respectively. Gray rabbitbrush had an average rooting depth of 183 cm. Summer annuals, Russian thistle and bursage, had average rooting depths of 172 and 162 cm, respectively. 7 references, 4 figures, 5 tables.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wijayratne, Upekala C; Pyke, David A

    2012-03-01

    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. 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. 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 seeds in the seed bank was highly heterogeneous both spatially and temporally, and attrition varied significantly by region. Our study suggests that 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Unwin Matthew M

    2002-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  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. Estimating the spatial and temporal distribution of species richness within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wathen, Steve; Thorne, James H; Holguin, Andrew; Schwartz, Mark W

    2014-01-01

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. A currency for offsetting energy development impacts: horse-trading sage-grouse on the open market.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kevin E Doherty

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Biodiversity offsets provide a mechanism to compensate for unavoidable damages from new energy development as the U.S. increases its domestic production. Proponents argue that offsets provide a partial solution for funding conservation while opponents contend the practice is flawed because offsets are negotiated without the science necessary to backup resulting decisions. Missing in negotiations is a biologically-based currency for estimating sufficiency of offsets and a framework for applying proceeds to maximize conservation benefits. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we quantify a common currency for offsets for greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus by estimating number of impacted birds at 4 levels of development commonly permitted. Impacts were indiscernible at 1-12 wells per 32.2 km(2. Above this threshold lek losses were 2-5 times greater inside than outside of development and bird abundance at remaining leks declined by -32 to -77%. Findings reiterated the importance of time-lags as evidenced by greater impacts 4 years after initial development. Clustering well locations enabled a few small leks to remain active inside of developments. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Documented impacts relative to development intensity can be used to forecast biological trade-offs of newly proposed or ongoing developments, and when drilling is approved, anticipated bird declines form the biological currency for negotiating offsets. Monetary costs for offsets will be determined by true conservation cost to mitigate risks such as sagebrush tillage to other populations of equal or greater number. If this information is blended with landscape level conservation planning, the mitigation hierarchy can be improved by steering planned developments away from conservation priorities, ensuring compensatory mitigation projects deliver a higher return for conservation that equate to an equal number of birds in the highest priority areas, provide on

  12. A detailed 2,000-year late holocene pollen record from lower Pahranagat Lake, Southern Nevada, USA

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hemphill, M.L.; Wigand, P.E. [Univ. and Community College System of Nevada, Reno, NV (United States)

    1995-09-01

    Preliminary analysis of 128 pollen samples and seven radiocarbon dates from a 5-meter long, 10-cm diameter sediment core retrieved from Lower Pahranagat Lake (elevation - 975 in), Lincoln County, Nevada, gives us a rare, continuous, record of vegetation change at an interval of every 14 years over the last 2,000 years. During this period increasing Pinus (pine) pollen values with respect to Juniperus Ouniper pollen values reflect the increasing dominance of pinyon in southern Nevada woodlands during the last 2,000 years. Today Pinus pollen values indicate that pinyon pine is more frequent in the southern Great Basin since the end of the Neoglacial 2,000 years ago. During the same time frame, a general decrease in Poaceae (grass) pollen values with respect to Artemisia (sagebrush) pollen values reflect the general trend of increasing dominance of steppe and desert scrub species with respect to grasses. Variations in these two species reflect not only the generally more xeric nature of climate during the last 2,000 years, but also periods of summer shifted rainfall - 1,500 years ago that encouraged both a period of grass and pinyon expansion. The ratio of aquatic to littoral pollen types indicates generally deeper water conditions 2 to 1 ka and more variable, but predominately more marshy, conditions at the site during most of the last 1 ka. Investigation of ostracodes from the same record being conducted by Dr. R. Forester at the USGS corroborate the pollen record by evidencing shifts between open and closed hydrologic systems including lake, marsh and even stream habitats. Analysis of an additional 10 meters of core recovered in the summer of 1994 with a basal date of 5.6 ka promises to provide the best record of middle through late Holocene vegetation and climate history for southern Nevada.

  13. 1997 Monitoring report for the Gunnison, Colorado Wetlands Mitigation Plan

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    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.

  14. 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

  15. Performance of the high-altitude balloon experiment Roto-lok drive gimbal systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schulthess, Marcus R.; Ardaman, Andrew A.; Baugh, Steven; Carson, Donald G.

    1994-07-01

    This paper presents and discusses laboratory performance measurements of a Roto-Lok drive system for the HABE azimuth and elevation gimbals. The HABE system is a 7,000 lb acquisition tracking and pointing (ATP) balloon-launched vehicle. The primary azimuth and elevation drive systems are zero-backlash torque multipliers referred to by the trade name Roto-Lok rotary drive and designed by Sagebrush Technology, Inc. The Roto-Lok used in the azimuth gimbal has a limited 320 deg of angular travel; therefore, it is supplemented with a secondary drive element to provide unlimited travel. This secondary drive is used to counteract the gross angles resulting from the freely rotating nature of the untethered balloon system. The Roto-Lok drive is used for the fine tracking and pointing of the gimbals. Both the azimuth and elevation Rota-Lok drives are tandem drives with an end-to-end ratio of 72:1. Performance specifications developed from the mission requirements are compared against the actual system performance measurements. The entire gimbaled azimuth and elevation systems are required to point in inertial space to less than 250 (mu) rad RMS over the band DC to 100 Hz for each axis. Performance measurements better than the specification were measured. The primary gimbal base-motion disturbances, however, are due to the motor cogging torque or torque ripple. A brief discussion of the measurement methods and the control system used to drive the gimbals is presented. Several system anomalies, such as the structural compliance between the drive element and the inertial rate sensors and the coarse gear backlash, are discussed in terms of their impact on the gimbal control system.

  16. 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.

  17. Who is in the Driver's Seat? Millennial-Scale Records of Wildfire in the Western USA Reveal a Complex Interplay of Climate, Fire, and Vegetation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pierce, J. L.; Meyer, G. A.; Bigio, E.; Nelson, N.; Poulos, M. J.; Jenkins, S.; Riley, K. E.; Weppner, K.; Svenson, L.; Fitch, E. P.; Frechette, J.

    2015-12-01

    A new synthesis of 10 study areas and >480 14C dates of Holocene fire and erosional response are recorded in alluvial fan sediments of the interior western US. Chronologies are from high elevation mixed conifer forests in the N. Rockies, ponderosa and Douglas-fir forests in the N. Rockies and SW, and low elevation sagebrush steppe and piñon-juniper woodlands near the Snake River Plain. Results are as follows: 1) Late Holocene arrivals of ponderosa, lodgepole and piñon pine at Northern Rockies sites correspond with increased fire severity, linking vegetation and fire regime changes. 2) Deposit types vary with environment; sheetfloods are more common in sparsely vegetated sites and in drier Holocene periods with open forests, whereas dense forests and infrequent severe fires often produce debris flows. 3) Climate variability drives ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir forests in both the SW and N. Rockies to burn 'at both ends of the spectrum', where frequent low-severity fires are typical, but higher-severity fires burn during severe droughts following fuel buildup over wet decades. 4) Fires in dry sage steppe are generally fuel-limited, but burn during prolonged wet and variable climates; grazing, land-use, and invasive species, particularly influence modern fires. 5) At moist high-elevation lodgepole and mixed conifer sites in Yellowstone and central Idaho, episodic large debris flows indicate high severity burns, often during severe multidecadal droughts. 6) Regionally coherent peaks exist ca. 200, 500, 900, 1700 and 2600 cal yr BP, but fire activity is not generally synchronous among sites. Differences in climate among sites likely account for some asynchroneity. 7) Recent severe fires have burned in 8 of 10 sites described; erosional response appears particularly anomalous in the SW, where impacts of fire suppression and land use are greatest. Widespread and severe modern fires may herald the arrival of a no-analog era of fire in the western US.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Effects of Landscape-Scale Environmental Variation on Greater Sage-Grouse Chick Survival.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael R Guttery

    Full Text Available Effective long-term wildlife conservation planning for a species must be guided by information about population vital rates at multiple scales. Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus populations declined substantially during the twentieth century, largely as a result of habitat loss and fragmentation. In addition to the importance of conserving large tracts of suitable habitat, successful conservation of this species will require detailed information about factors affecting vital rates at both the population and range-wide scales. Research has shown that sage-grouse population growth rates are particularly sensitive to hen and chick survival rates. While considerable information on hen survival exists, there is limited information about chick survival at the population level, and currently there are no published reports of factors affecting chick survival across large spatial and temporal scales. We analyzed greater sage-grouse chick survival rates from 2 geographically distinct populations across 9 years. The effects of 3 groups of related landscape-scale covariates (climate, drought, and phenology of vegetation greenness were evaluated. Models with phenological change in greenness (NDVI performed poorly, possibly due to highly variable production of forbs and grasses being masked by sagebrush canopy. The top drought model resulted in substantial improvement in model fit relative to the base model and indicated that chick survival was negatively associated with winter drought. Our overall top model included effects of chick age, hen age, minimum temperature in May, and precipitation in July. Our results provide important insights into the possible effects of climate variability on sage-grouse chick survival.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. Effects of Landscape-Scale Environmental Variation on Greater Sage-Grouse Chick Survival

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guttery, Michael R.; Dahlgren, David K.; Messmer, Terry A.; Connelly, John W.; Reese, Kerry P.; Terletzky, Pat A.; Burkepile, Nathan; Koons, David N.

    2013-01-01

    Effective long-term wildlife conservation planning for a species must be guided by information about population vital rates at multiple scales. Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) populations declined substantially during the twentieth century, largely as a result of habitat loss and fragmentation. In addition to the importance of conserving large tracts of suitable habitat, successful conservation of this species will require detailed information about factors affecting vital rates at both the population and range-wide scales. Research has shown that sage-grouse population growth rates are particularly sensitive to hen and chick survival rates. While considerable information on hen survival exists, there is limited information about chick survival at the population level, and currently there are no published reports of factors affecting chick survival across large spatial and temporal scales. We analyzed greater sage-grouse chick survival rates from 2 geographically distinct populations across 9 years. The effects of 3 groups of related landscape-scale covariates (climate, drought, and phenology of vegetation greenness) were evaluated. Models with phenological change in greenness (NDVI) performed poorly, possibly due to highly variable production of forbs and grasses being masked by sagebrush canopy. The top drought model resulted in substantial improvement in model fit relative to the base model and indicated that chick survival was negatively associated with winter drought. Our overall top model included effects of chick age, hen age, minimum temperature in May, and precipitation in July. Our results provide important insights into the possible effects of climate variability on sage-grouse chick survival. PMID:23824519

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. Fire and grazing effects on wind erosion, soil water content, and soil temperature.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vermeire, Lance T; Wester, David B; Mitchell, Robert B; Fuhlendorf, Samuel D

    2005-01-01

    Selective grazing of burned patches can be intense if animal distribution is not controlled and may compound the independent effects of fire and grazing on soil characteristics. Our objectives were to quantify the effects of patch burning and grazing on wind erosion, soil water content, and soil temperature in sand sagebrush (Artemisia filifolia Torr.) mixed prairie. We selected 24, 4-ha plots near Woodward, OK. Four plots were burned during autumn (mid-November) and four during spring (mid-April), and four served as nonburned controls for each of two years. Cattle were given unrestricted access (April-September) to burned patches (erosion, soil water content, and soil temperature were measured monthly. Wind erosion varied by burn, year, and sampling height. Wind erosion was about 2 to 48 times greater on autumn-burned plots than nonburned plots during the dormant period (December-April). Growing-season (April-August) erosion was greatest during spring. Erosion of spring-burned sites was double that of nonburned sites both years. Growing-season erosion from autumn-burned sites was similar to nonburned sites except for one year with a dry April-May. Soil water content was unaffected by patch burn treatments. Soils of burned plots were 1 to 3 degrees C warmer than those of nonburned plots, based on mid-day measurements. Lower water holding and deep percolation capacity of sandy soils probably moderated effects on soil water content and soil temperature. Despite poor growing conditions following fire and heavy selective grazing of burned patches, no blowouts or drifts were observed.

  8. 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.

  9. Open-path Fourier transform infrared studies of large-scale laboratory biomass fires

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yokelson, Robert J.; Griffith, David W. T.; Ward, Darold E.

    1996-09-01

    A series of nine large-scale, open fires was conducted in the Intermountain Fire Sciences Laboratory (IFSL) controlled-environment combustion facility. The fuels were pure pine needles or sagebrush or mixed fuels simulating forest-floor, ground fires; crown fires; broadcast burns; and slash pile burns. Mid-infrared spectra of the smoke were recorded throughout each fire by open path Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy at 0.12 cm-1 resolution over a 3 m cross-stack pathlength and analyzed to provide pseudocontinuous, simultaneous concentrations of up to 16 compounds. Simultaneous measurements were made of fuel mass loss, stack gas temperature, and total mass flow up the stack. The products detected are classified by the type of process that dominates in producing them. Carbon dioxide is the dominant emission of (and primarily produced by) flaming combustion, from which we also measure nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and most of the water vapor from combustion and fuel moisture. Carbon monoxide is the dominant emission formed primarily by smoldering combustion from which we also measure carbon dioxide, methane, ammonia, and ethane. A significant fraction of the total emissions is unoxidized pyrolysis products; examples are methanol, formaldehyde, acetic and formic acid, ethene (ethylene), ethyne (acetylene), and hydrogen cyanide. Relatively few previous data exist for many of these compounds and they are likely to have an important but as yet poorly understood role in plume chemistry. Large differences in emissions occur from different fire and fuel types, and the observed temporal behavior of the emissions is found to depend strongly on the fuel bed and product type.

  10. 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.

  11. A currency for offsetting energy development impacts: horse-trading sage-grouse on the open market.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Doherty, Kevin E; Naugle, David E; Evans, Jeffrey S

    2010-04-28

    Biodiversity offsets provide a mechanism to compensate for unavoidable damages from new energy development as the U.S. increases its domestic production. Proponents argue that offsets provide a partial solution for funding conservation while opponents contend the practice is flawed because offsets are negotiated without the science necessary to backup resulting decisions. Missing in negotiations is a biologically-based currency for estimating sufficiency of offsets and a framework for applying proceeds to maximize conservation benefits. Here we quantify a common currency for offsets for greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) by estimating number of impacted birds at 4 levels of development commonly permitted. Impacts were indiscernible at 1-12 wells per 32.2 km(2). Above this threshold lek losses were 2-5 times greater inside than outside of development and bird abundance at remaining leks declined by -32 to -77%. Findings reiterated the importance of time-lags as evidenced by greater impacts 4 years after initial development. Clustering well locations enabled a few small leks to remain active inside of developments. Documented impacts relative to development intensity can be used to forecast biological trade-offs of newly proposed or ongoing developments, and when drilling is approved, anticipated bird declines form the biological currency for negotiating offsets. Monetary costs for offsets will be determined by true conservation cost to mitigate risks such as sagebrush tillage to other populations of equal or greater number. If this information is blended with landscape level conservation planning, the mitigation hierarchy can be improved by steering planned developments away from conservation priorities, ensuring compensatory mitigation projects deliver a higher return for conservation that equate to an equal number of birds in the highest priority areas, provide on-site mitigation recommendations, and provide a biologically based cost for mitigating

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Assessing the diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in semiarid shrublands dominated by Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carter, Keith A; Smith, James F; White, Merlin M; Serpe, Marcelo D

    2014-05-01

    Variation in the abiotic environment and host plant preferences can affect the composition of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AMF) assemblages. This study analyzed the AMF taxa present in soil and seedlings of Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis collected from sagebrush steppe communities in southwestern Idaho, USA. Our aims were to determine the AMF diversity within and among these communities and the extent to which preferential AMF-plant associations develop during seedling establishment. Mycorrhizae were identified using molecular methods following DNA extraction from field and pot culture samples. The extracted DNA was amplified using Glomeromycota specific primers, and identification of AMF was based on phylogenetic analysis of sequences from the large subunit-D2 rDNA region. The phylogenetic analyses revealed seven phylotypes, two within the Claroideoglomeraceae and five within the Glomeraceae. Four phylotypes clustered with known species including Claroideoglomus claroideum, Rhizophagus irregularis, Glomus microaggregatum, and Funneliformis mosseae. The other three phylotypes were similar to several published sequences not included in the phylogenetic analysis, but all of these were from uncultured and unnamed glomeromycetes. Pairwise distance analysis revealed some phylotypes with high genetic variation. The most diverse was the phylotype that included R. irregularis, which contained sequences showing pairwise differences up to 12 %. Most of the diversity in AMF sequences occurred within sites. The smaller genetic differentiation detected among sites was correlated with differences in soil texture. In addition, multiplication in pot cultures led to differentiation of AMF communities. Comparison of sequences obtained from the soil with those from A. tridentata roots revealed no significant differences between the AMF present in these samples. Overall, the sites sampled were dominated by cosmopolitan AMF taxa, and young seedlings of A. tridentata ssp

  15. 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.

  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. West Nile virus and greater sage-grouse: estimating infection rate in a wild bird population.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walker, Brett L; Naugle, David E; Doherty, Kevin E; Cornish, Todd E

    2007-09-01

    Understanding impacts of disease on wild bird populations requires knowing not only mortality rate following infection, but also the proportion of the population that is infected. Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in western North America are known to have a high mortality rate following infection with West Nile virus (WNv), but actual infection rates in wild populations remain unknown. We used rates of WNv-related mortality and seroprevalence from radiomarked females to estimate infection rates in a wild greater sage-grouse population in the Powder River basin (PRB) of Montana and Wyoming from 2003 to 2005. Minimum WNv-related mortality rates ranged from 2.4% to 13.3% among years and maximum possible rates ranged from 8.2% to 28.9%. All live-captured birds in 2003 and 2004 tested seronegative. In spring 2005 and spring 2006, 10.3% and 1.8% respectively, of newly captured females tested seropositive for neutralizing antibodies to WNv. These are the first documented cases of sage-grouse surviving infection with WNv. Low to moderate WNv-related mortality in summer followed by low seroprevalence the following spring in all years indicates that annual infection rates were between 4% and 29%. This suggests that most sage-grouse in the PRB have not yet been exposed and remain susceptible. Impacts of WNv in the PRB in the near future will likely depend more on annual variation in temperature and changes in vector distribution than on the spread of resistance. Until the epizootiology of WNv in sagebrush-steppe ecosystems is better understood, we suggest that management to reduce impacts of WNv focus on eliminating man-made water sources that support breeding mosquitoes known to vector the virus. Our findings also underscore problems with using seroprevalence as a surrogate for infection rate and for identifying competent hosts in highly susceptible species.

  18. Nevada Monitoring System to Assess Climate Variability and Change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Devitt, D. A.; Arnone, J.; Biondi, F.; Fenstermaker, L. F.; Saito, L.; Young, M.; Riddle, B.; Strachan, S. D.; Bird, B.; McCurdy, G.; Lyles, B. F.

    2010-12-01

    The Nevada System of Higher Education (University of Nevada Las Vegas, University of Nevada Reno and the Desert Research Institute) was awarded a multiyear NSF EPSCoR grant to support infrastructure associated with regional climate change research. The overall project is comprised of 5 components: education, cyberinfrastructure, policy, climate modeling and water/ecology. The water and ecology components are using their infrastructure funding for the assessment of climate variability and change on ecosystem function and hydrologic services. A series of 10 m tall towers are under construction and are being equipped with a wide array of sensors to monitor atmospheric, soil and plant parameters over time. The towers are located within the Mojave and Great Basin Deserts in two transects; the Mojave Desert transect is located in the southern Nevada Sheep Mountain Range and the Great Basin transect is located in the east central Nevada Snake Mountain Range. The towers are centrally positioned in well-defined vegetation zones. In southern Nevada these zones are represented by the following plant species: Creosote/Bursage (Creosotebush scrub zone); Blackbrush/Joshua Tree (Blackbrush zone); Pinyon/ Juniper (pygmy conifer zone), Ponderosa Pine (montane zone) and Bristlecone Pine (subalpine zone). The Snake Mountain transect incorporates the eastern and western valleys on both sides of the mountain range. The vegetation zones are represented by: Greasewood and mixed shrub (salt desert zone); Big Sage (sagebrush zone); Pinyon/Juniper (pygmy conifer zone); White/Douglas Fir, Ponderosa Pine and Aspen (montane zone); and Bristlecone/Limber Pine and Engelmann Spruce (subalpine zone). We are currently in the third year of funding with a goal of having the majority of towers fully operational by winter 2010. In close collaboration with our cyberinfrastructure component team, all data acquired from the transect monitoring stations will be made available to other researchers and the

  19. Differences in the Temperature Sensitivity of Soil Organic Carbon Decomposition in a Semi-Arid Ecosystem across an Elevational Gradient

    Science.gov (United States)

    Delvinne, H.; Flores, A. N.; Benner, S. G.; Feris, K. P.; De Graaff, M. A.

    2015-12-01

    Semi-arid ecosystems are a significant component of the global carbon (C) cycle as they store approximately 20% of global soil C. Yet, projected increases in mean annual temperatures might alter the amount of soil organic C (SOC) currently stored in these ecosystems. Uncertainties about the temperature sensitivity of SOC decomposition have hindered accurate predictions of C cycle feedbacks to climate change. This study aims to elucidate how the temperature sensitivity of SOC decomposition varies along an elevational (1000m) and climatic (i.e. mean annual temperature and precipitation) gradient. The study sites are located at Reynolds Creek Critical Zone Observatory in Owyhee Mountains of Idaho, USA. We conducted stratified random sampling of soil up to 0-5cm across sagebrush canopy and inter-canopy areas at four elevations. We hypothesized decomposition of SOC pools at lower elevations to have greater temperature sensitivity (more CO2 respired per unit C) compared to upper due to the quality of C that is inherently more temperature sensitive. To assess the temperature sensitivity of SOC decomposition, we used aerobic laboratory incubations (n=40) across a temperature gradient ((15, 20, 25, 30) oC) at constant soil moisture (60% water holding capacity) for 120 days and measured CO2 respired. Cumulative CO2 respired increased with increasing incubation temperature. Cumulative CO2 respired also increased with elevation as upper elevations support greater amounts of C. However, when normalized by SOC, we found that the temperature response of CO2 respiration was greater in soils derived from lower than higher elevations (pelevated temperatures differs strongly across the landscape in semi-arid ecosystems.

  20. 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, Jeffrey R; Oyler-McCance, Sara J; Fike, Jennifer A; O'Donnell, Michael S; Doherty, Kevin E; Aldridge, Cameron L; Bowen, Zachary H; Fedy, Bradley C

    2015-05-01

    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

  1. Plant phenolics and absorption features in vegetation reflectance spectra near 1.66 μm

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kokaly, Raymond F.; Skidmore, Andrew K.

    2015-12-01

    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 Csbnd 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 spectral influences

  2. Geologic processes in the RWMC area, Idaho National Engineering Laboratory: Implications for long term stability and soil erosion at the radioactive waste management complex

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hackett, W.R.; Tullis, J.A.; Smith, R.P. [and others

    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 hazards{close_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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Preliminary analysis of thermal-infrared multispectral scanner data of the Iron Hill, Colorado carbonatite-alkalic rock complex

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rowan, Lawrence C.; Watson, Kenneth; Miller, Susanne H.

    1992-01-01

    The Iron Hill carbonatite-alkalic igneous rock complex is in the Powderhorn mining district, approximately 40 km south-southwest of Gunnison, Colorado. The complex, which occupies about 30 sq km, was emplaced in metasedimentay and metavolcanic rocks during the later Precambrian or early Cambrian. The main rock types in the complex, from oldest to youngest, are fenite, pyroxenite, uncompahgrite, ijolite, nepheline syenite, and dolomitic carbonatite. The carbonatite is limonitic and forms an elliptially shaped 4 sq km stock. Calcitic and dolomitic carbonatite dikes are also numerous throughout the complex and in the pre-existing rocks. Pyroxenite is the most widespread rock type within the complex, but pyroxene is extensively altered to biotite, phlogopite, and vermiculite. Fenite, which formed through Na, K-metasomatism of the country rocks, typically contains more feldspar and less quartz than the equivalent unaltered country rocks. The other alkalic rock types are less widespread and less well exposed. Parts of the complex are covered by Oligocene ash-flow tuff and alluvial, colluvial, and glacial deposits. Sagebrush and grass cover is moderately dense to very dense at low to intermediate elevations; coniferous tree cover is dense at high elevations and on some north-facing slopes at lower elevations. A new algorithm was used to compute spectral emissivity ratios, independent of any emissivity assumptions. This algorithm has the advantage that any of the possible emissivity ratios can be computed and, thus, a large variety of composite ratio images can be constructed, which permits examination of various geologic hypotheses based on the spectral properties of the surface materials.

  15. 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.

  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. Early successional patterns of arthropod recolonization on reclaimed strip mines in southwestern Wyoming: ground-dwelling beetle fauna (coleoptera)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Parmenter, R.R.; MacMahon, J.A.

    1987-02-01

    The ground-dwelling beetle assemblages of seven reclaimed surface coal mines and an undisturbed area of sagebrush steppe vegetation near Kemmerer, Wyo., were sampled in 1983 using 25 pitfall traps per site. The three oldest sites (1977-79) received no topsoil during reclamation; the other four sites (1980-83) had stored topsoil respread on them before revegetation. The beetle assemblages were characterized by means of data on species richness and diversity, species dominance curves, and trophic-group structure. The authors found that initial recolonization and dominance was achieved by species that were either rare in the adjacent native vegetation, or had immigrated from other disturbed sites. Species richness and diversity showed an increase during the first 3 yr following revegetation, but then declined over the next 3 yr. The magnitude of the observed species richness and diversity trends may have been influenced by the presence or absence of topsoil on the sites. The number of herbivorous beetle species was positively correlated with the number of plant species present on the sites. The trophic structure on reclaimed mine sites was dominated by omnivores, insect-carrion feeders, predators, and fungivores, whereas the undisturbed site's beetle fauna was dominated by omnivores, predators, and herbivores. It seemed that the most successful colonists were omnivores and scavenging species (that used seeds, weedy vegetation, and living and dead insects), and fungivores (that took advantage of fungi growing on dead organic matter in the respread topsoils). In view of the great dissimilarities that exist between undisturbed and reclaimed mine sites, even after 6 yr, the authors conclude that recovery of the mine lands will require a considerable length of time, and, due to the severity of the mining disturbance, may not ever yield a fauna and flora similar to those of the premining era.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Sources of organic ice nucleating particles in soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hill, Tom C. J.; DeMott, Paul J.; Tobo, Yutaka; Fröhlich-Nowoisky, Janine; Moffett, Bruce F.; Franc, Gary D.; Kreidenweis, Sonia M.

    2016-06-01

    Soil organic matter (SOM) may be a significant source of atmospheric ice nucleating particles (INPs), especially of those active > -15 °C. However, due to both a lack of investigations and the complexity of the SOM itself, the identities of these INPs remain unknown. To more comprehensively characterize organic INPs we tested locally representative soils in Wyoming and Colorado for total organic INPs, INPs in the heat-labile fraction, ice nucleating (IN) bacteria, IN fungi, IN fulvic and humic acids, IN plant tissue, and ice nucleation by monolayers of aliphatic alcohols. All soils contained ≈ 106 to ≈ 5 × 107 INPs g-1 dry soil active at -10 °C. Removal of SOM with H2O2 removed ≥ 99 % of INPs active > -18 °C (the limit of testing), while heating of soil suspensions to 105 °C showed that labile INPs increasingly predominated > -12 °C and comprised ≥ 90 % of INPs active > -9 °C. Papain protease, which inactivates IN proteins produced by the fungus Mortierella alpina, common in the region's soils, lowered INPs active at ≥ -11 °C by ≥ 75 % in two arable soils and in sagebrush shrubland soil. By contrast, lysozyme, which digests bacterial cell walls, only reduced INPs active at ≥ -7.5 or ≥ -6 °C, depending on the soil. The known IN bacteria were not detected in any soil, using PCR for the ina gene that codes for the active protein. We directly isolated and photographed two INPs from soil, using repeated cycles of freeze testing and subdivision of droplets of dilute soil suspensions; they were complex and apparently organic entities. Ice nucleation activity was not affected by digestion of Proteinase K-susceptible proteins or the removal of entities composed of fulvic and humic acids, sterols, or aliphatic alcohol monolayers. Organic INPs active colder than -10 to -12 °C were resistant to all investigations other than heat, oxidation with H2O2, and, for some, digestion with papain. They may originate from decomposing plant material, microbial

  1. Fates of Rare Species under Siege from Invasion: Persistence of Coccinella novemnotata Herbst in Western North America alongside an Invasive Congener

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Edward W. Evans

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available Species invading new geographic regions may threaten continued existence of similar, indigenous relatives, particularly those species whose rarity may reflect an already tenuous existence. The spectacular colonization of North America in recent decades by Coccinella septempunctata L. has generated widespread concern over potentially adverse effects on population viability of native species of ladybird beetles (Coccinellidae. Coccinella novemnotata Herbst in particular has been hypothesized to be at great risk, as this species apparently dwindled in numbers across much of North America during the twentieth century. Here results of sampling diverse habitats over three decades are examined to address the fate of C. novemnotata in the intermountain region of western North America following the establishment of C. septempunctata during the 1990s. Alfalfa fields have served as a major habitat for C. novemnotata in the intermountain west. Sweep sampling in the late 1980s and early 1990s demonstated that C. novemnotata and C. septempunctata were both rare members of the alfalfa lady beetle community. Subsequent sampling in alfalfa over the next two decades revealed that populations of C. septempunctata increased greatly, while populations of C. novemnotata remained low but persistent. Similarly, modest numbers of C. novemnotata were found continuing to persist, often alongside large numbers of C. septempunctata, in a variety of other habitats, including sagebrush steppe and weed-infested rangeland and riparian sites. Morphological comparison of these individuals of C. novemnotata with museum specimens collected throughout the twentieth century revealed no significant difference in mean body size between these recently and previously collected individuals, nor any significant long-term decrease in body size following the arrival of C. septempunctata, as might reflect increasing food limitation for larval C. novemnotata. Collectively these results

  2. 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.

    2014-01-01

    . 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. Landscape dynamics in aspen and western juniper woodlands on the Owyhee Plateau, Idaho

    Science.gov (United States)

    Strand, Eva K.

    A century of altered fire regimes has affected the landscape vegetation dynamics in the Intermountain West. Suppression of wildfires has resulted in increases in woody plant cover in these semi-arid ecosystems, which has resulted in land cover changes affecting biogeochemical cycling, landscape composition, and habitat diversity. Recent developments in remote sensing technology, computational power, and a rapid development of analysis techniques have enabled us to quantify such changes at the landscape scale. Wavelet analysis is a powerful image analysis technique that is here applied in a novel fashion to fine scale remote sensing imagery to automatically detect the location and crown diameter of individual western juniper plants (Juniperus occidentalis ssp. occidentalis) expanding into sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) steppe at multiple scales. The produced marked point pattern of historical and current spatial juniper distribution was compared regionally and changes in foliar cover and above ground biomass were estimated across a 330,000 ha area on the Owyhee Plateau, Idaho. The above ground carbon accumulation rate from 1946 to 1998 was estimate to be 3.3 gCm-2yr-1 and 10.0 gCm-2yr -1 employing the wavelet and conventional texture analysis methods, respectively, with an additional 25% rise in belowground carbon accumulation in root stock. This research further demonstrates that estimates of carbon accumulation rates as a result of woody encroachment are highly dependent on the spatial and temporal scales of analysis. Conifer species, western juniper and Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) on the Owyhee Plateau, have further expanded into the biologically important quaking aspen ( Populus tremuloides) habitats resulting in conifer dominance and occasional loss of aspen clones. Classification of remotely sensed imagery combined with spatially explicit modeling of aspen successional stages indicate that, in the absence of management activity, loss of seral aspen stands

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. Black-tailed and white-tailed jackrabbits in the American West: History, ecology, ecological significance, and survey methods

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simes, Matthew; Longshore, Kathleen M.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Beatty, Greg L.; Brown, David E.; Esque, Todd C.

    2015-01-01

    Across the western United States, Leporidae are the most important prey item in the diet of Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos). Leporids inhabiting the western United States include black-tailed (Lepus californicus) and white-tailed jackrabbits (Lepus townsendii) and various species of cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus spp.). Jackrabbits (Lepus spp.) are particularly important components of the ecological and economic landscape of western North America because their abundance influences the reproductive success and population trends of predators such as coyotes (Canis latrans), bobcats (Lynx rufus), and a number of raptor species. Here, we review literature pertaining to black-tailed and white-tailed jackrabbits comprising over 170 published journal articles, notes, technical reports, conference proceedings, academic theses and dissertations, and other sources dating from the late 19th century to the present. Our goal is to present information to assist those in research and management, particularly with regard to protected raptor species (e.g., Golden Eagles), mammalian predators, and ecological monitoring. We classified literature sources as (1) general information on jackrabbit species, (2) black-tailed or (3) white-tailed jackrabbit ecology and natural history, or (4) survey methods. These categories, especially 2, 3, and 4, were further subdivided as appropriate. The review also produced several tables on population trends, food habits, densities within various habitats, and jackrabbit growth and development. Black-tailed and white-tailed jackrabbits are ecologically similar in general behaviors, use of forms, parasites, and food habits, and they are prey to similar predators; but they differ in their preferred habitats. While the black-tailed jackrabbit inhabits agricultural land, deserts, and shrublands, the white-tailed jackrabbit is associated with prairies, alpine tundra, and sagebrush-steppe. Frequently considered abundant, jackrabbit numbers in western North

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. Carbon fluxes in ecosystems of Yellowstone National Park predicted from remote sensing data and simulation modeling

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Huang Shengli

    2011-08-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background 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. Results 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. Inter-regional comparison of land-use effects on stream metabolism

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bernot, Melody [Ball State University; Sobota, Daniel [Oregon State University; Hall, Robert [University of Wyoming, Laramie; Mulholland, Patrick J [ORNL; Dodds, Walter [Kansas State University; Webster, Jackson [Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech); Tank, Jennifer [University of Notre Dame, IN; Ashkenas, Linda [Oregon State University, Corvallis; Cooper, Lee W [ORNL; Dahm, Cliff [University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; Gregory, Stanley [Oregon State University, Corvallis; Grimm, Nancy [Arizona State University; Hamilton, Stephen [Michigan State University, East Lansing; Johnson, Sherri [Oregon State University; McDowell, William [University of Hew Hampshire; Meyer, Judy [University of Georgia, Athens, GA; Peterson, Bruce [Marine Biological Laboratory; Poole, Geoffrey C. [Montana State University; Valett, H. Maurice [Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech); Arango, Clay [University of Notre Dame, IN; Beaulieu, Jake [University of Notre Dame, IN; Burgin, Amy [Michigan State University, East Lansing; Crenshaw, Chelsea [University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; Helton, Ashley [University of Georgia, Athens, GA; Johnson, Laura [University of Notre Dame, IN; Merriam, Jeffrey [University of New Hampshire; Niederlehner, Bobbie [Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech); O' Brien, Jon [Michigan State University, East Lansing; Potter, Jody [University of New Hampshire; Sheibley, Rich [Arizona State University; Thomas, Suzanne [Marine Biological Laboratory; Wilson, Kym [Kansas State University

    2010-01-01

    Rates of whole-system metabolism (production and respiration) are fundamental indicators of ecosystem structure and function. Although first-order, proximal controls are well understood, assessments of the interactions between proximal controls and distal controls, such as land use and geographic region, are lacking. Thus, the influence of land use on stream metabolism across geographic regions is unknown. Further, there is limited understanding of how land use may alter variability in ecosystem metabolism across regions. 2. Stream metabolism was measured in nine streams in each of eight regions (n = 72) across the United States and Puerto Rico. In each region, three streams were selected from a range of three land uses: agriculturally influenced, urban-influenced, and reference streams. Stream metabolism was estimated from diel changes in dissolved oxygen concentrations in each stream reach with correction for reaeration and groundwater input. 3. Gross primary production (GPP) was highest in regions with little riparian vegetation (sagebrush steppe in Wyoming, desert shrub in Arizona/New Mexico) and lowest in forested regions (North Carolina, Oregon). In contrast, ecosystem respiration (ER) varied both within and among regions. Reference streams had significantly lower rates of GPP than urban or agriculturally influenced streams. 4. GPP was positively correlated with photosynthetically active radiation and autotrophic biomass. Multiple regression models compared using Akaike's information criterion (AIC) indicated GPP increased with water column ammonium and the fraction of the catchment in urban and reference land-use categories. Multiple regression models also identified velocity, temperature, nitrate, ammonium, dissolved organic carbon, GPP, coarse benthic organic matter, fine benthic organic matter and the fraction of all land-use categories in the catchment as regulators of ER. 5. Structural equation modelling indicated significant distal as well as

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. Anthropogenic habitat disturbance and the dynamics of hantavirus using remote sensing, GIS, and a spatially explicit agent-based model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cao, Lina

    Sin Nombre virus (SNV), a strain of hantavirus, causes hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in humans, a deadly disease with high mortality rate (>50%). The primary virus host is deer mice, and greater deer mice abundance has been shown to increase the human risk of HPS. There is a great need in understanding the nature of the virus host, its temporal and spatial dynamics, and its relation to the human population with the purpose of predicting human risk of the disease. This research studies SNV dynamics in deer mice in the Great Basin Desert of central Utah, USA using multiyear field data and integrated geospatial approaches including remote sensing, Geographic Information System (GIS), and a spatially explicit agent-based model. The goal is to advance our understanding of the important ecological and demographic factors that affect the dynamics of deer mouse population and SNV prevalence. The primary research question is how climate, habitat disturbance, and deer mouse demographics affect deer mouse population density, its movement, and SNV prevalence in the sagebrush habitat. The results show that the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and the enhanced vegetation index (EVI) can be good predictors of deer mouse density and the number of infected deer mice with a time lag of 1.0 to 1.3 years. This information can be very useful in predicting mouse abundance and SNV risk. The results also showed that climate, mouse density, sex, mass, and SNV infection had significant effects on deer mouse movement. The effect of habitat disturbance on mouse movement varies according to climate conditions with positive relationship in predrought condition and negative association in postdrought condition. The heavier infected deer mice moved the most. Season and disturbance alone had no significant effects. The spatial agent-based model (SABM) simulation results show that prevalence was negatively related to the disturbance levels and the sensitivity analysis showed that

  6. Spatiotemporal dynamics of black-tailed prairie dog colonies affected by plague

    Science.gov (United States)

    Augustine, D.J.; Matchett, M.R.; Toombs, T.P.; Cully, J.F.; Johnson, T.L.; Sidle, John G.

    2008-01-01

    Black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) are a key component of the disturbance regime in semi-arid grasslands of central North America. Many studies have compared community and ecosystem characteristics on prairie dog colonies to grasslands without prairie dogs, but little is known about landscape-scale patterns of disturbance that prairie dog colony complexes may impose on grasslands over long time periods. We examined spatiotemporal dynamics in two prairie dog colony complexes in southeastern Colorado (Comanche) and northcentral Montana (Phillips County) that have been strongly influenced by plague, and compared them to a complex unaffected by plague in northwestern Nebraska (Oglala). Both plague-affected complexes exhibited substantial spatiotemporal variability in the area occupied during a decade, in contrast to the stability of colonies in the Oglala complex. However, the plague-affected complexes differed in spatial patterns of colony movement. Colonies in the Comanche complex in shortgrass steppe shifted locations over a decade. Only 10% of the area occupied in 1995 was still occupied by prairie dogs in 2006. In 2005 and 2006 respectively, 74 and 83% of the total area of the Comanche complex occurred in locations that were not occupied in 1995, and only 1% of the complex was occupied continuously over a decade. In contrast, prairie dogs in the Phillips County complex in mixed-grass prairie and sagebrush steppe primarily recolonized previously occupied areas after plague-induced colony declines. In Phillips County, 62% of the area occupied in 1993 was also occupied by prairie dogs in 2004, and 12% of the complex was occupied continuously over a decade. Our results indicate that plague accelerates spatiotemporal movement of prairie dog colonies, and have significant implications for landscape-scale effects of prairie dog disturbance on grassland composition and productivity. These findings highlight the need to combine landscape-scale measures of

  7. Conserving migratory mule deer through the umbrella of sage-grouse

    Science.gov (United States)

    Copeland, H. E.; Sawyer, H.; Monteith, K. L.; Naugle, D.E.; Pocewicz, Amy; Graf, N.; Kauffman, Matthew J.

    2014-01-01

    Conserving migratory ungulates in increasingly human-dominated landscapes presents a difficult challenge to land managers and conservation practitioners. Nevertheless, ungulates may receive ancillary benefits from conservation actions designed to protect species of greater conservation priority where their ranges are sympatric. Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocerus urophasianus), for example, have been proposed as an umbrella species for other sagebrush (Artemesia spp.)-dependent fauna. We examined a landscape where conservation efforts for sage-grouse overlap spatially with mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) to determine whether sage-grouse conservation measures also might protect important mule deer migration routes and seasonal ranges. We conducted a spatial analysis to determine what proportion of migration routes, stopover areas, and winter ranges used by mule deer were located in areas managed for sage-grouse conservation. Conservation measures overlapped with 66–70% of migration corridors, 74–75% of stopovers, and 52–91% of wintering areas for two mule deer populations in the upper Green River Basin of Wyoming. Of those proportions, conservation actions targeted towards sage-grouse accounted for approximately half of the overlap in corridors and stopover areas, and nearly all overlap on winter ranges, indicating that sage-grouse conservation efforts represent an important step in conserving migratory mule deer. Conservation of migratory species presents unique challenges because although overlap with conserved lands may be high, connectivity of the entire route must be maintained as barriers to movement anywhere within the migration corridor could render it unviable. Where mule deer habitats overlap with sage-grouse core areas, our results indicate that increased protection is afforded to winter ranges and migration routes within the umbrella of sage-grouse conservation, but this protection is contingent on concentrated developments within core areas not

  8. 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

  9. Dynamics of carbon, water and energy cycles in a heterogeneous landscape and a changing climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmidt, A.; Law, B. E.; Still, C. J.; Hilker, T.

    2016-12-01

    The combined effects of changes in land-use and land cover (LULC) and climate on carbon and water cycling need to be assessed at regional scales. LULC changes over time have many drivers such as expanding urban areas, exploration of new agricultural areas due to overused natural resources of current agricultural areas (e.g. degraded soil), economical reasons, or policy changes that encourage the use of alternative energy resources. Our study assesses the effects of conversion of semi-arid sagebrush and agricultural crops to bioenergy production on carbon, water and energy cycling, and resulting heating or cooling effects. Our project focusses on Oregon, where agricultural crops, significant forest area, and urban expansion are coupled with a strong spatial climate gradient that allows us to examine influences on carbon sequestration by the terrestrial biosphere. Our inverse modeling results showed that the prior fluxes modelled with CLM4.5 underestimated NEE in the highly productive western Douglas fir forests by more than 50%. Based on the results of our Bayesian inversion, we optimized ecosystem fluxes and changed CLM model parameters accordingly. By integrating remote sensing LULC data, eddy covariance data from flux sites, tall tower CO2 observations, biomass estimates from field samples, and CLM4.5, we predict current and future statewide carbon sequestration with unprecedented accuracy. Using inventories and tower flux data, we determined the effect of conversion of hay and grass seed cropland (323,200 ha) to hybrid poplar and found the state NEP increased from 4 TgCO2 per year to 13 TgCO2 per year for that area. The last coal power plant in the state (Boardman) is in the process of switching from coal combustion to biofuel burning to meet the state's goal for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Our results show that the 7816 tons of biomass per day to keep the 518 MW power plant running at base load would amount to 35,000 hectares of hybrid poplar per

  10. Paleoecological studies at Lake Patzcuaro on the west-central Mexican Plateau and at Chalco in the basin of Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Watts, W.A.; Bradbury, J.P.

    1982-01-01

    A 1520-cm sediment core from Lake Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico, is 44,000 yr old at the base. All parts of the core have abundant pollen of Pinus (pine), Alnus (alder), and Quercus (oak) with frequent Abies (fir). The interval dated from 44,000 to 11,000 yr ago has a homogeneous flora characterized by abundant Juniperus (juniper) pollen and frequent Artemisia (sagebrush). It is believed to represent an appreciably drier and colder climate than at present. The Holocene at Lake Patzcuaro is characterized by a moderate increase in Pinus pollen and the loss of Juniperus pollen, as the modern type of climate succeeded. Alnus was abundant until about 5000 yr ago; its abrupt decrease with the first appearance of herbaceous weed pollen may reflect the cutting of lake-shore and stream-course alder communities for agricultural purposes, or it may simply reflect a drying tendency in the climate. Pollen of Zea (corn) appears at Lake Patzcuaro along with low peaks of chenopod and grass pollen at 3500 yr B.P. apparently recording a human population large enough to modify the natural environment, as well as the beginning of agriculture. A rich aquatic flora in this phase suggests eutrophication of the lake by slope erosion. In the most recent period corn is absent from the sediments, perhaps reflecting a change in agricultural practices. The environment changes at Lake Patzcuaro are similar to and correlate with those in the Cuenca de Mexico, where diatom stratigraphy from the Chalco basin indicates fluctuations in lake levels and lake chemistry in response to variations in available moisture. Before 10,000 yr ago climates there were cool and dry, and the Chalco basin was occupied by a shallow freshwater marsh that drained north to Lake Texcoco, where saline water accumulated by evaporation. Increases in effective moisture and possible melting of glaciers during the Holocene caused lake levels to rise throughout the Cuenca de Mexico, and Lake Texcoco flooded the Chalco basin with

  11. Paleoecological studies at Lake Patzcuaro on the west-central Mexican Plateau and at Chalco in the basin of Mexico*1

    Science.gov (United States)

    Watts, W. A.; Bradbury, J. Platt

    1982-01-01

    A 1520-cm sediment core from Lake Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico, is 44,000 yr old at the base. All parts of the core have abundant pollen of Pinus (pine), Alnus (alder), and Quercus (oak) with frequent Abies (fir). The interval dated from 44,000 to 11,000 yr ago has a homogeneous flora characterized by abundant Juniperus (juniper) pollen and frequent Artemisia (sagebrush). It is believed to represent an appreciably drier and colder climate than at present. The Holocene at Lake Patzcuaro is characterized by a moderate increase in Pinus pollen and the loss of Juniperus pollen, as the modern type of climate succeeded. Alnus was abundant until about 5000 yr ago; its abrupt decrease with the first appearance of herbaceous weed pollen may reflect the cutting of lake-shore and stream-course alder communities for agricultural purposes, or it may simply reflect a drying tendency in the climate. Pollen of Zea (corn) appears at Lake Patzcuaro along with low peaks of chenopod and grass pollen at 3500 yr B.P. apparently recording a human population large enough to modify the natural environment, as well as the beginning of agriculture. A rich aquatic flora in this phase suggests eutrophication of the lake by slope erosion. In the most recent period corn is absent from the sediments, perhaps reflecting a change in agricultural practices. The environment changes at Lake Patzcuaro are similar to and correlate with those in the Cuenca de Mexico, where diatom stratigraphy from the Chalco basin indicates fluctuations in lake levels and lake chemistry in response to variations in available moisture. Before 10,000 yr ago climates there were cool and dry, and the Chalco basin was occupied by a shallow freshwater marsh that drained north to Lake Texcoco, where saline water accumulated by evaporation. Increases in effective moisture and possible melting of glaciers during the Holocene caused lake levels to rise throughout the Cuenca de Mexico, and Lake Texcoco flooded the Chalco basin with

  12. Inter-regional comparison of land-use effects on stream metabolism

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bernot, M.J.; Sobota, D.J.; Hall, R.O.; Mulholland, P.J.; Dodds, W.K.; Webster, J.R.; Tank, J.L.; Ashkenas, L.R.; Cooper, L.W.; Dahm, Clifford N.; Gregory, S.V.; Grimm, N. B.; Hamilton, S.K.; Johnson, S.L.; McDowell, W.H.; Meyer, J.L.; Peterson, B.; Poole, G.C.; Maurice, Valett H.M.; Arango, C.; Beaulieu, J.J.; Burgin, A.J.; Crenshaw, C.; Helton, A.M.; Johnson, L.; Merriam, J.; Niederlehner, B.R.; O'Brien, J. M.; Potter, J.D.; Sheibley, R.W.; Thomas, S.M.; Wilson, K.

    2010-01-01

    1. Rates of whole-system metabolism (production and respiration) are fundamental indicators of ecosystem structure and function. Although first-order, proximal controls are well understood, assessments of the interactions between proximal controls and distal controls, such as land use and geographic region, are lacking. Thus, the influence of land use on stream metabolism across geographic regions is unknown. Further, there is limited understanding of how land use may alter variability in ecosystem metabolism across regions.2. Stream metabolism was measured in nine streams in each of eight regions (n = 72) across the United States and Puerto Rico. In each region, three streams were selected from a range of three land uses: agriculturally influenced, urban-influenced, and reference streams. Stream metabolism was estimated from diel changes in dissolved oxygen concentrations in each stream reach with correction for reaeration and groundwater input.3. Gross primary production (GPP) was highest in regions with little riparian vegetation (sagebrush steppe in Wyoming, desert shrub in Arizona/New Mexico) and lowest in forested regions (North Carolina, Oregon). In contrast, ecosystem respiration (ER) varied both within and among regions. Reference streams had significantly lower rates of GPP than urban or agriculturally influenced streams.4. GPP was positively correlated with photosynthetically active radiation and autotrophic biomass. Multiple regression models compared using Akaike's information criterion (AIC) indicated GPP increased with water column ammonium and the fraction of the catchment in urban and reference land-use categories. Multiple regression models also identified velocity, temperature, nitrate, ammonium, dissolved organic carbon, GPP, coarse benthic organic matter, fine benthic organic matter and the fraction of all land-use categories in the catchment as regulators of ER.5. Structural equation modelling indicated significant distal as well as proximal

  13. 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

  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. Surprisingly robust projections of soil temperature and moisture for North American drylands in the 21st century

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bradford, J. B.; Schlaepfer, D.; Palmquist, K. A.; Lauenroth, W.

    2017-12-01

    Climate projections for western North America suggest temperature increases that are relatively consistent across climate models. However, precipitation projections are less consistent, especially in the Southwest, promoting uncertainty about the future of soil moisture and drought. We utilized a daily time-step ecosystem water balance model to characterize soil temperature and moisture patterns at a 10-km resolution across western North America for historical (1980-2010), mid-century (2020-2050), and late century (2070-2100). We simulated soil moisture and temperature under two representative concentration pathways and eleven climate models (selected strategically to represent the range of variability in projections among the full set of models in the CMIP5 database and perform well in hind-cast comparisons for the region), and we use the results to identify areas with robust projections, e.g. areas where the large majority of models agree in the direction of change in long-term average soil moisture or temperature. Rising air temperatures will increase average soil temperatures across western North America and expand the area of mesic and thermic soil temperature regimes while decreasing the area of cryic and frigid regimes. Future soil moisture conditions are relatively consistent across climate models for much of the region, including many areas with variable precipitation trajectories. Consistent projections for drier soils are expected in most of Arizona and New Mexico, similar to previous studies. Other regions with projections for declining soil moisture include the central and southern U.S. Great Plains and large parts of southern British Columbia. By contrast, areas with robust projections for increasing soil moisture include northeastern Montana, southern Alberta and Saskatchewan, and many areas in the intermountain west dominated by big sagebrush. In addition, seasonal moisture patterns in much of the western US drylands are expected to shift toward

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. Sources of organic ice nucleating particles in soils

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. C. J. Hill

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Soil organic matter (SOM may be a significant source of atmospheric ice nucleating particles (INPs, especially of those active  >  −15 °C. However, due to both a lack of investigations and the complexity of the SOM itself, the identities of these INPs remain unknown. To more comprehensively characterize organic INPs we tested locally representative soils in Wyoming and Colorado for total organic INPs, INPs in the heat-labile fraction, ice nucleating (IN bacteria, IN fungi, IN fulvic and humic acids, IN plant tissue, and ice nucleation by monolayers of aliphatic alcohols. All soils contained  ≈  106 to  ≈  5 × 107 INPs g−1 dry soil active at −10 °C. Removal of SOM with H2O2 removed  ≥  99 % of INPs active  >  −18 °C (the limit of testing, while heating of soil suspensions to 105 °C showed that labile INPs increasingly predominated  >  −12 °C and comprised  ≥  90 % of INPs active  >  −9 °C. Papain protease, which inactivates IN proteins produced by the fungus Mortierella alpina, common in the region's soils, lowered INPs active at  ≥  −11 °C by  ≥  75 % in two arable soils and in sagebrush shrubland soil. By contrast, lysozyme, which digests bacterial cell walls, only reduced INPs active at  ≥  −7.5 or  ≥  −6 °C, depending on the soil. The known IN bacteria were not detected in any soil, using PCR for the ina gene that codes for the active protein. We directly isolated and photographed two INPs from soil, using repeated cycles of freeze testing and subdivision of droplets of dilute soil suspensions; they were complex and apparently organic entities. Ice nucleation activity was not affected by digestion of Proteinase K-susceptible proteins or the removal of entities composed of fulvic and humic acids, sterols, or aliphatic alcohol monolayers. Organic INPs active colder than −10 to −12 °C were

  1. 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

  2. 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 N.; 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

  3. Productivity, Respiration, and Light-Response Parameters of World Grassland and Agroecosystems Derived From Flux-Tower Measurements

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gilmanov, Tagir G.; Aires, L.; Barcza, Z.; Baron, V. S.; Belelli, L.; Beringer, J.; Billesbach, D.; Bonal, D.; Bradford, J.; Ceschia, E.; Cook, D.; Corradi, C.; Frank, A.; Gianelle, D.; Gimeno, C.; Gruenwald, T.; Guo, Haiqiang; Hanan, N.; Haszpra, L.; Heilman, J.; Jacobs, A.; Jones, M. B.; Johnson, D. A.; Kiely, G.; Li, Shenggong; Magliulo, V.; Moors, E.; Nagy, Z.; Nasyrov, M.; Owensby, C.; Pinter, K.; Pio, C.; Reichstein, M.; Sanz, M. J.; Scott, R.; Soussana, J. F.; Stoy, P. C.; Svejcar, T.; Tuba, Z.; Zhou, Guangsheng

    2010-01-01

    Grasslands and agroecosystems occupy one-third of the terrestrial area, but their contribution to the global carbon cycle remains uncertain. We used a set of 316 site-years of CO2 exchange measurements to quantify gross primary productivity, respiration, and light-response parameters of grasslands, shrublands/savanna, wetlands, and cropland ecosystems worldwide. We analyzed data from 72 global flux-tower sites partitioned into gross photosynthesis and ecosystem respiration with the use of the light- response method (Gilmanov, T. G., D. A. Johnson, and N. Z. Saliendra. 2003. Growing season CO2 fluxes in a sagebrush- steppe ecosystem in Idaho: Bowen ratio/energy balance measurements and modeling. Basic and Applied Ecology 4:167–183) from the RANGEFLUX and WORLDGRASSAGRIFLUX data sets supplemented by 46 sites from the FLUXNET La Thuile data set partitioned with the use of the temperature-response method (Reichstein, M., E. Falge, D. Baldocchi, D. Papale, R. Valentini, M. Aubinet, P. Berbigier, C. Bernhofer, N. Buchmann, M. Falk, T. Gilmanov, A. Granier, T. Grunwald, K. Havrankova, D. Janous, A. Knohl, T. Laurela, A. Lohila, D. Loustau, G. Matteucci, T. Meyers, F. Miglietta, J. M. Ourcival, D. Perrin, J. Pumpanen, S. Rambal, E. Rotenberg, M. Sanz, J. Tenhunen, G. Seufert, F. Vaccari, T. Vesala, and D. Yakir. 2005. On the separation of net ecosystem exchange into assimilation and ecosystem respiration: review and improved algorithm. Global Change Biology 11:1424–1439). Maximum values of the quantum yield (a 5 75 mmol ? mol21), photosynthetic capacity (Amax 5 3.4 mg CO2 ? m22 ? s21), gross photosynthesis (Pg,max 5 116 g CO2 ? m22 ? d21), and ecological light-use efficiency (eecol 5 59 mmol ? mol21) of managed grasslands and high-production croplands exceeded those of most forest ecosystems, indicating the potential of nonforest ecosystems for uptake of atmospheric CO2. Maximum values of gross primary production (8 600 g CO2 ? m22 ? yr21), total ecosystem respiration

  4. A Holocene record of endogenic iron and manganese precipitation, isotopic composition of endogenic carbonate, and vegetation history in a lake-fen complex in northwestern Minnesota

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dean, Walter E.; Doner, Lisa A.

    2011-01-01

    percent in the LSL-B core and 15.5 percent in the LSF-10 core. Values of delta18O in mollusk (Pisidium) and ostracode shells increase by only about 20 per mil from the bottom to the top of the LSL-B core (about 12600-2200 calendar years). The remarkably constant oxygen-isotope composition throughout the Holocene suggests that environmental conditions affecting values of delta18O (temperature, salinity, composition of the water, composition of precipitation) did not change greatly. Values of delta13C in carbonate shells generally decreased by about 2 per mil from 9000 calendar years to 6000 calendar years, but they did not increase in organic carbon. This mid-Holocene increase in delta13C in shells but not in organic carbon is likely due to an increase in residence time. A late Pleistocene forest dominated by spruce was replaced in the early Holocene by a pine forest. The pine forest migrated east during the middle Holocene and was replaced by an open sagebrush-oak savanna. The western migration of forests into northwestern Minnesota is marked first by a hardwood forest and finally a pine forest.

  5. Bacterial signaling and motility: Sure bets

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Zhulin, Igor B [University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) & Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)

    2008-01-01

    The IX International Conference on Bacterial Locomotion and Signal Transduction (BLAST IX) was held from 14 to 19 January 2007 in Laughlin, NV, a town in the Mojave Desert on the Nevada-Arizona border near old Route 66 and along the banks of the Colorado River. This area is a home to rattlesnakes, sagebrush, abandoned gold mines, and compulsive gamblers. What better venue could scientists possibly dream of for a professional meeting? So there they were, about 190 scientists gathered in the Aquarius Casino Resort, the largest hotel and casino in Laughlin, discussing the latest advances in the field. Aside from a brief excursion to an abandoned gold mine and a dinner cruise on the Colorado River, the scientists focused on nothing but their data and hypotheses, in spirited arguments and rebuttals, and outlined their visions and future plans in a friendly and open environment. The BLAST IX program was dense, with nearly 50 talks and over 90 posters. For that reason, this meeting report will not attempt to be comprehensive; instead it will first provide general background information on the central topics of the meeting and then highlight only a few talks that were of special interest to us and hopefully to the wider scientific community. We will also attempt to articulate some of the future directions or perspectives to the best of our abilities. The best known and understood bacterial motility mechanism is swimming powered by flagella. The rotation of bacterial flagella drives this form of bacterial movement in an aqueous environment. A bacterial flagellum consists of a helical filament attached to the cell body through a complex structure known as the hook-basal body, which drives flagellar rotation. The essential components of the basal body are the MotA-MotB motor-stator proteins bound to the cytoplasmic membrane. These stator proteins interact with proteins that comprise the supramembrane and cytoplasmic rings, which are components of the motor imbedded in the

  6. 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

  7. Winter feeding habits of the mountain bluebird (Sialia currucoides) in northern New Mexico

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Burnett, Kassidy [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Fair, Jeanne M [Los Alamos National Laboratory

    2008-01-01

    The Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) is found in western North America and is known for the blue color that completely covers the male (Martin et al. 1951). The Mountain Bluebird habitat spans through the Rocky Mountains as well as the Sierra Cascade regions, but winters in the milder parts of this geographic area which includes New Mexico (Martin, et al. 1951). However, Mountain Bluebirds in New Mexico are often permanent residents as well (unpublished data). During the summer breeding months, the Mountain Bluebird consumes 92% of its diet in insects as well as other animal matter (Bent, 1942). However, little is known about the diet of Mountain Bluebirds in the winter. From December 2004 through February 2005, approximately 40 Mountain Bluebirds flocked together in Nambe, New Mexico. The arroyo habitat includes One-seed Juniper (Juniperus monosperma), Silver Sagebrush (Artemisia cana), and sparse Narrowleaf Cottonwood (Populus angustifolia). Our focus was to analyze the winter feeding habits of the Mountain Bluebird in the northern area of New Mexico. We collected a total of 115.97 grams Mountain Bluebirds droppings from the pond in the study area. We sorted through the droppings to distinguish between different food types consumed, and found that the winter diet consisted primarily of fruit seeds. This is supported by Martin et al. (1951) who states that fruits constitute most of the small proportion of plant material in the diet of the Mountain Bluebird. Power and Lombardo (1996) who determined from stomach contents obtained over an entire period of a year the Mountain Bluebird diet consist of grapes, currants, elderberries, sumac seeds, mistletoe seeds, and hackberry seeds. The main fruit found was that of the One-Seed Juniper which weighed 105.7 grams (91.2% of material collected). The One-Seed Juniper is one of five of juniper species found in Northern New Mexico (Foxx and Hoard 1995). The One-Seed Juniper can be found in the southwestern United States

  8. Surficial geology of the lower Comb Wash, San Juan County, Utah

    Science.gov (United States)

    Longpré, Claire I.

    2001-01-01

    . Most precipitation is monsoonal, convective storms that bring moisture from the Gulf of Mexico beginning in early July and ending by October. Large frontal storms during December and January are responsible for most winter precipitation (Figure 2). The record from U.S. Geological Survey gauging station number 09379000 operated by the BLM from 1959 through 1968 indicates that Comb Wash flows in direct response to precipitation events. Most daily discharge and peak events occur in late July through September, coinciding with high intensity monsoon thunderstorms. Comb Wash supports a variety of vegetation typical of the Great Basin Desert and the northern desert shrub zone as described by Fowler and Koch (1982). On the lower alluvial terraces, bushes and shrubs dominate the vegetation, including: sagebrush (Artemesia tridentata), rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus), fourwing saltbush (Atriplex canescens), winterfat (Eurotia lanata), greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus), and shadscale (Atriplex concertifolia). Juniper trees (Juniperus osteosperma) can be found on the rocky colluvial slopes near Comb Ridge and on the higher terrace near Cedar Mesa. The floodplain contains an abundance of riparian vegetation including cottonwood (Populus fremontii), willow (Salix exigua), and tamarisk (Tamarix ramosissima). Tamarisk is one of 7 non-native species present in the lower Comb Wash watershed. At least seven known species of noxious weeds have invaded the watershed, including Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), field bindweed (Convolvulus avensis), Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense), Russian knapweed (Centaurea repens), tamarisk and camel thorn (Alhagi pseudalhagi). Of these, tamarisk or salt-cedar has most aggressively colonized the southwestern United States, including the San Juan watershed. Graf (1978) estimates that since the late 19th century, tamarisk has spread at a rate of 20 km per year. Tamarisk first appeared in Comb Wash during the mid to early 20th century based on