2020 Undergraduate Research Showcase


Developing Conservation Measures to Restore and Rehabilitate Rangelands on Degraded Sage-Grouse Habitat in Southeastern Oregon

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Student Presentation

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The sagebrush steppe is one of the most widespread and diverse ecosystems in the United States, yet it is one of the most imperiled. Invasive annual grasses (IAGs) are the primary threat to the sagebrush steppe at lower elevations. In 2015, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and Soil & Water Conservation Districts across eight eastern Oregon counties developed a Greater Sage-Grouse Programmatic Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA). Within the CCAA, there is a call for the development of conservation measures on degraded sage-grouse habitat. The objective of the current study was to determine if fire, herbicide, and mechanical action combined with seeding native and introduced plants improved degraded, low elevation, sagebrush rangelands. Four study sites were located within 160 km of Burns, OR. Five treatments, modified rangeland drill (MRD), disking (D), Imazapic + Glyphosate (IG), prescribed burn (PB), and PB+IG, as well as a control were applied within six 30 m x 11 m subplots at each site. Treatment plots were divided lengthwise according to native or introduced species. Overall, our data illustrate that PB+IG and IG plus seeding were the most effective restoration treatments for perennial bunchgrasses with the IG maintaining shrub cover intact for sagebrush obligates.

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