Targeted Grazing

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2022 Summer Field Tour – NV Section of Society for Range Management

Save the Date flyer.

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Cal-Pac Section Society for Range Management’s 2022 Spring Meeting

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Event registration.

The meeting will be in Alturas, CA. Cost for full day is $70 for members, $75 for non-members. Cost for morning only is $40 for all, $25 for students. Full registration includes morning presentations, tour, snacks, lunch and BBQ Dinner. Morning includes snacks, lunch and morning presentations.

Student lodging available: Camping at Howard’s Gulch $15/night or Hotel Niles.

Regular lodging available: Hotel Niles or the Trailside Inn.


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Virtual fencing effectively excludes cattle from burned sagebrush steppe

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We evaluated the use of a “virtual fence” (VF) for excluding cattle from burned areas within small pastures in the sagebrush steppe of southeast Oregon. VF technology (Vence Corporation, San Francisco, CA) uses satellite-controlled collars that direct animal movement within user-defined polygons using auditory and electrical cues. We fall-burned a 0.6-ha area in each of six adjacent 2.1-ha pastures in a Wyoming big sagebrush plant community in 2019. In June 2020, each pasture was stocked with 3 mature dry cows for 14 d. All cows were fitted with VF collars; collars were programed to create a virtual fence around the burned area within three of the pastures (VF treatment), and remaining pastures had electrical and auditory cues turned off (control treatment). Collars recorded animal location every 5 min. Cows in the control treatment initially spent up to 40% of their time within the burned area, and forage utilization of the burned area was nearly 70%. Cows in the VF treatment spent approximately 4% of their time in the burned area on day 1 and were recorded in the burn only incidentally thereafter; forage utilization in the burn was < 3%.

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Moderate grazing in fall-winter reduces exotic annual grasses in sagebrush-bunchgrass steppe

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We compared moderate grazing during the off season with not grazing in five Wyoming big sagebrush−bunchgrass communities in the northern Great Basin. Treatments were applied annually for 10 yr (2009−2010 through 2018−2019). Plant community characteristics were measured after treatments had been applied from 6 to 10 yr. Off-season grazing reduced exotic annual grass density and cover. After a decade, annual grass cover was twofold greater in ungrazed areas. Sandberg bluegrass density increased with off-season grazing, but large bunchgrass density was similar between off-season grazed and ungrazed areas. Perennial and annual forb density and cover were similar between off-season grazed and ungrazed treatments. Biological soil crust cover was also similar between off-season grazed and ungrazed areas.

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What’s driving the proliferation of exotic annual grasses in sagebrush? Comparing fire with off-season grazing

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We compared 1) burned and ungrazed (burned), 2) off-season, moderately grazed and unburned (grazed), and 3) ungrazed and unburned (control) treatments at five Wyoming big sagebrush sites in southeastern Oregon for half a decade. Fire, but not off-season grazing, substantially increased exotic annual grass cover and abundance. Vegetation cover and density were generally similar between grazed and control areas. In contrast, at the end of the study exotic annual grass cover and density were over fourfold greater in burned areas. Exotic annual grass became the dominant plant group in burned areas, but not in grazed and control areas. Cover and density of annual forbs, predominately non-native species, were generally greater in the burned compared with grazed and control treatments. Fire also decreased soil biological crust cover and sagebrush cover and density compared with grazed and control treatments. This study provides strong evidence that fire is a threat to the sustainability of Wyoming big sagebrush communities at risk of exotic annual grass dominance, but that off-season, moderate grazing poses little risk. However, considering the spatial extent of our study was limited, further evaluations are needed across a larger geographic area.

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Exploring innovation in a public land grazing system (7:17)

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In small communities like Plush, Oregon, where “The Need for Flexibility: Exploring Innovation in a Public Land Grazing System” was filmed, agriculture is a major economic contributor. Benefits extend far beyond the actual animal unit months provided to the producer. The creation of local jobs, community investments, and the stability provided by a balanced and documented approach to resource management all help foster resiliency in communities across the West. The Bureau of Land Management’s Outcome-based Grazing program offers a more collaborative approach between the BLM and its partners within the livestock grazing community when issuing grazing authorizations permits. The program allows for necessary, timely grazing adjustments that benefit the health of the rangeland for wildlife as well as its availability of forage for livestock.

Targeted Grazing – A Collection of Resources

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2022 Society for Range Management (SRM)’s 75th Annual Meeting

Meeting website.

Join us in the heart of New Mexico for the 75th Annual SRM Meeting. The beautiful high desert rangelands, diverse cultures, authentic art, and painted skies of Albuquerque will make for a great meeting.

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Outcome-based approaches for managing wildfire risk: Institutional interactions and implementation within the “Gray Zone”

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This paper examines administrative policies and barriers to using outcome-based approaches to manage fire risk in Idaho through 70 semistructured interviews with permittees, BLM staff, and other agency and nongovernmental stakeholders in three Idaho BLM field areas. We analyzed how rules and norms in policy implementation contributed to perceptions of barriers within and among different field areas. Factors affecting perceptions of outcome-based rangeland management implementation included BLM staff tenure, permittee-agency relationships, beliefs about the efficacy of grazing to manage fire risk, and leadership and staff experience in navigating National Environmental Policy Act requirements or potential lawsuits. Differences in the informal institutions among field areas led to different interpretations of latitude found within formal institutions (“gray zones”) for implementation. This study highlights the importance of local context and the interactions between administrative policies and agency culture for implementing adaptive approaches to managing wildfire risk on public rangelands.

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Great Basin-Focused Events from #SRM2021

We are hosting several workshops, symposia as part of the 2021 Society for Range Management annual meeting. **You do not need to be registered for the SRM meeting to attend.

Strategic Targeted Grazing to Reduce Fine Fuels (Feb 16, 1:30-4:00 PST/2:30-5:00 MST)

The Strategic Grazing symposium was held in conjunction with the Society for Range Management Virtual Meeting. It provides updates on the Idaho and Nevada strategic grazing demonstration areas. Symposium recording.

Sagebrush Ecosystem Recovery 10+ Yrs after Treatments (Feb 17, 1:30-3:30 PST/2:30-4:30 MST)
The Sagebrush Ecosystem symposium provides Sagebrush Steppe Treatment Evaluation Project (SageSTEP) updates. It was held in conjunction with the Society for Range Management Virtual Meeting. It shares what’s been learned after at least 10 years post-treatment. Symposium recording.

Big Sagebrush Restoration Status (Feb 18, 1:30-4:00 PST/2:30-5:00 MST)
The Big Sagebrush symposium was held in conjunction with the Society for Range Management Virtual Meeting. It was brought to you by the Rangeland Equipment and Technology Council (RTEC).  Symposium recording.

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