Thursday, November 07, 2013

Promising practices to protect and restore the Owyhyees

Editor's note: The first-ever Owyhee Research and Restoration Roundup was held on October 23 and 24 to showcase how research taking place in the Owyhees is being used to inform conservation and management.

By Art Talsma, restoration manager, The Nature Conservancy in Idaho

The Owyhee Roundup was a great exchange of ideas and conservation practices that showcased promising and effective ways to protect, restore and enhance rangelands to benefit both wildlife and ranching in the region.

Photo ©John Robison/Idaho Conservation League

We shared several innovative and traditional conservation practices where science is being applied across the region. These practices included: 
  • Coated seed pods that increase planting success after weed treatments or wildfire.
  • Ways to model and predict wildfire flow so we can locate fire breaks in the most effective places.  
  • Satellite and infrared images that help locate best places to control juniper near sage grouse lek.
  • Which types of sagebrush are preferred by sage grouse for feeding and winter cover and even a robotic sage grouse hen that attracted male sage grouse on the dancing grounds. 
  • Understanding of threats from transmission lines and new invasive grasses coming to the west.
  • Radio tracking for big-horn sheep and sage grouse as well as way to be more cost effective in aerial surveys of wildlife.
Ranchers, agency land stewards, Trout Unlimited and The Nature Conservancy presented a suite of success stories including:
  • Using Air Force aircraft to control cheatgrass and increase survival of native bunch grasses.
  • Using mastication equipment and chainsaw crews to control juniper encroachment in sage grouse nesting areas.
  • Protecting riparian habitat and cold headwater stream or springs to help redband rainbow trout survive the summer heat and drought.
  • Understanding the practical side of ranching economics and helpful sources of funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that assist ranchers in doing conservation practices to benefit the lands and waters on which all life depend.

    To find out more about our work in the Owyhees, check out this link. To learn about how you can get involved, contact Art Talsma:

No comments: