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Melanism (dark coloration) is a condition resulting from a greater than normal expres-sion of the eumelanin pigments in the plumage (Gill 1990). The dark coloration can be advantageous to raptors by increasing the feathers’ resistance to bacterial degradation (Goldstein et al. 2004). conversely, abnormally dark pigmentation can reduce success in pairing by disguising key species-identification cues (García 2003) and decrease lifetime reproductive success by increasing mortality (krüger and lindström 2001). Polymorphism in color, of which melanism is one example, occurs in at least 3.5% of avian species worldwide and in 22% of raptors of the family Accipitridae (harriers, hawks, eagles, kites, and Old World vultures;...
This presentation aired as part of the Great Basin LCC webinar series on December 6, 2017. The presentation was given by Dr. Tamara Wall of the Desert Research InstituteOne of the challenges facing public land managers in the Great Basin is identifying adaptation strategies to increase resiliency to climate change in an area that is already struggling with profound environmental challenges. Recent efforts to understand how the Great Basin weathered past droughts and climate variability may offer insight into approaches that could work in future decades. One approach to gather this information is to understand Traditional Knowledge. Gathering this information is challenging and requires an acknowledgment that much...
The distribution of the greater sage-grouse (hereafter sage-grouse; Centrocercus urophasianus) has declined to 56% of its pre-settlement distribution (Schroeder et al. 2004) and abundance of males attending leks has decreased substantially over the past 50 years throughout the species’ range (Garton et al. 2011, Garton et al. 2015, WAFWA 2015). Livestock grazing is a common land use within sage-grouse habitat, and livestock grazing has been implicated by some experts as one of numerous factors contributing to sage-grouse population declines (Beck and Mitchell 2000, Schroeder et al. 2004). However, there are also numerous mechanisms by which livestock grazing might benefit sage-grouse (Beck and Mitchell 2000, Crawford...
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,...
The spread and impacts of exotic species are unambiguous, global threats to many ecosystems. A prominent example is the suite of annual grasses in the Bromus genus (Bromus hereafter) that originate from Europe and Eurasia but have invaded or are invading large areas of the Western USA. This book brings a diverse, multidisciplinary group of authors together to synthesize current knowledge, research needs, and management implications for Bromus. Exotic plant invasions are multifaceted problems, and understanding and managing them requires the biological, ecological, sociological, and economic perspectives that are integrated in this book. Knowing how well information from one geographic or environmental setting can...
A genecological approach was used to explore genetic variation for survival in Artemisia tridentata (big sagebrush). Artemisia tridentata is a widespread and foundational shrub species in western North America. This species has become extremely fragmented, to the detriment of dependent wildlife, and efforts to restore it are now a land manage-ment priority. Common- garden experiments were established at three sites with seed-lings from 55 source- populations. Populations included each of the three predominant subspecies, and cytotype variations. Survival was monitored for 5 years to assess dif-ferences in survival between gardens and populations. We found evidence of adap-tive genetic variation for survival. Survival...
On August 25, 2015 speaker Matt Germino presented on his work restoring sagebrush in the Great Basin. Shrubs are ecosystem foundation species in most of the Great Basin’s landscapes. Most of the species, including sagebrush, are poorly adapted to the changes in fire and invasive pressures that are compounded by climate change. This presentation gives an overview of challenges and opportunities regarding restoration of sagebrush and blackbrush, focusing on climate adaptation, selection of seeds and achieving seeding and planting success. Results from Great Basin LCC supported research on seed selection and planting techniques are presented.
Emerging applications of ecosystem resilience and resistance concepts in sagebrush ecosystems allow managers to better predict and mitigate impacts of wildfire and invasive annual grasses. Soil temperature and moisture strongly influence the kind and amount of vegetation, and consequently, are closely tied to sagebrush ecosystem resilience and resistance (Chambers et al. 2014, 2016). Soil taxonomic temperature and moisture regimes can be used as indicators of resilience and resistance at landscape scales to depict environmental gradients in sagebrush ecosystems that range from cold/cool-moist sites to warm-dry sites. We aggregated soil survey spatial and tabular data to facilitate broad-scale analyses of resilience...
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FY2013The proposed project’s objective is to provide a scientific review of(1) current priority species management practices in Nevada, (2) status of our combined scientific knowledge of priority species’ needs and gaps in that knowledge, and(3) adequacy of current monitoring programs of priority species.The project builds on recent, well-researched species conservation plans for Nevada (GBBO 2010, NWPT 2012), and it will leverage funds that are already obligated to research on scientifically based disturbance buffer recommendations and to evaluate GBBO’s statewide landbird monitoring program, the Nevada Bird Count.The outcome of the proposed work will be an online open-source compendium document that summarizes...
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FY2014One of the primary challenges facing public land managers in the Great Basin is identifying adaptation strategies to increase resiliency to climate change in an area that is already struggling with profound environmental challenges. Recent efforts to understand how the Great Basin weathered past droughts and climate variability may offer insight into approaches that could work in future decades. One approach to gather this information is to understand Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). Gathering this information is challenging and requires an acknowledgment that much of this information is highly sensitive and proprietary. Translating this information into actionable management plans is even more challenging.This...
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FY2014The goals for the project are1) Develop a Walker River Vision document which will include Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) of the traditional plants, wildlife, fish and water located on the reservation and traditional hunting/ gathering areas of the Agai Dicutta Numa (Walker River Paiutes) for use in future resource management planning and cultural sustainability..2) Develop a pilot project along the Walker River on the reservation by planting willows and other traditional plants to determine best practices for re-vegetation.This project will focus on GBLCC Goal 2: Focus science and management actions to sustain natural resources in the context of changing environmental conditions.The proposed project...
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FY2017There is an increasing concern and need for the conservation of springsnails and other endemic mollusks and for conservation of the unique spring and springbrook habitats on which they depend (Hershler et al 2014; Abele 2011). Nationwide, several of these species have been listed as endangered or threatened under provisions of the ESA; others are candidates for federal listing or are undergoing review by USFWS for possible future listing actions. These species can be particularly susceptible to localized threats and specific knowledge necessary for effective site-based conservation is often limited or lacking.Springsnail are particularly susceptible to extinction because the entire population of any single...
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FY2014There is increasing interest in climate change adaptation, particularly since the release of the Presidents Executive Order on Climate Preparedness in November, 2013, yet many field staff remain uncertain how to put adaptation into practice. Our goal with this project is to bridge the gap between the wealth of high-level climate adaptation guidance and the field staff who carry out specific regulatory processes, specifically Habitat Conservation Plans. Following best practices from the literature on linking science and management, we will begin with a focus on what people do rather than on the climate science. We will map the current HCP development and approval process in Region 8, identify where and how...
Knowing where a species is found or may be found in the future is critical to developing a successful habitat conservation plan. This quick guide reviews correlation-based and process-based species distribution models and their uses in the context of HCPs. It also addresses considerations for evaluating species distribution models, using multiple models, and working with model uncertainty. Examples are provided.
With HCPs, reserves are created as one means of mitigating take. This means they are designed to provide a target level of benefits for a particular species or set of species. This quick guide reviews approaches for designing and implementing reserves that address climate change impacts, vulnerabilities, and uncertainty. Examples are provided.
Speaker: Dr. Keirith Snyder, USDA ARS, Great Basin Rangelands Research Unit, Reno, NV The opportunistic encroachment of native pinyon and juniper trees into areas formerly dominated by sagebrush has reduced the presence of shrubs and grasses, impacting critical habitat and forage availability. Pinyon and juniper currently occupy 19 million hectares in the Intermountain West. Prior to 1860, it is estimated that 2/3 of pinyon and juniper woodlands were sagebrush communities. This presentation will give an overview of the Porter Canyon Experimental Watershed, where tree-felling treatments are being studied. Porter Canyon is located in central Nevada in the Desatoya Mountains. A network of sensors has been installed...
Although biotic responses to contemporary climate change are spatially pervasive and often reflect synergies between climate and other ecological disturbances, the relative importance of climatic factors versus habitat extent for species persistence remains poorly understood. To address this shortcoming, we performed surveys for American pikas (Ochotona princeps) at > 910 locations in 3 geographic regions of western North America during 2014 and 2015, complementing earlier modern (1994–2013) and historical (1898–1990) surveys. We sought to compare extirpation rates and the relative importance of climatic factors versus habitat area for pikas in a mainland-versus-islands framework. In each region, we found widespread...
This presentation aired as part of the Great Basin LCC webinar series on October 11, 2017. Speakers included Erica Fleishman, U.C. Davis, and Jimi Gragg, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.Description: As the distribution and abundance of non-native cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) in the Great Basin has increased, the extent and frequency of fire in the region has increased by as much as 200%. These changes in fire regimes are associated with loss of the sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) and native grasses and forbs in which many native animals, including Greater Sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), breed and feed. Managers have suggested changes in fire regimes, fuels treatments and post-fire restoration with...
Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass) has widely invaded the Great Basin, U.S.A. The sporadic natural phenomenon of complete stand failure (‘die- off’) of this invader may present opportunities to restore native plants. A recent die-off in Nevada was precision-planted with seeds of the native grasses Poa secunda (Sandberg bluegrass) and Elymus elymoides (bottlebrush squirreltail), of both local and nonlocal origin, to ask: 1) Can native species be restored in recent B. tectorum die-offs? And 2) Do local and nonlocal seeds differ in performance? Additionally, we asked how litter removal and water addition affected responses. Although emergence and growth of native seeds was lower in die-off than control plots early in year...


map background search result map search result map Evaluating Species Management Guidance and Monitoring Programs for the Great Basin in Nevada Using Narrative Stories to Understand Traditional Ecological Knowledge in the Great Basin Walker River Paiute Tribe TEK Project Adding Climate Smart Principles into Habitat Conservation Planning Development of a Regional Springsnail Conservation Strategy Walker River Paiute Tribe TEK Project Evaluating Species Management Guidance and Monitoring Programs for the Great Basin in Nevada Development of a Regional Springsnail Conservation Strategy Using Narrative Stories to Understand Traditional Ecological Knowledge in the Great Basin Adding Climate Smart Principles into Habitat Conservation Planning