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Government Success in Partnerships: The USDA-ARS Areawide Ecologically Based Invasive Annual Grass Management Program

Smith, Brenda, Sheley, Roger L.
Rangelands 2012 v.34 no.4 pp. 17
Agricultural Research Service, annuals, decision making, economics, education programs, grasses, invasive species, managers, outreach, pest management, plant communities, plant establishment, ranchers, range management, rangelands, research projects, researchers, seedlings, teachers, weather forecasting, weed control, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah
Areawide partnership of researchers, educators and ranchers have been implementing an Areawide Pest Management project over the past three years to catalyze the adoption of ecologically-based invasive annual grass management across the western US. The program includes the establishment of watershed-scale demonstrations of the improved strategies, conducting critical gap-filling research, and a comprehensive outreach program linked to the demonstrations. Landscape-scale demonstration areas have been implemented with producers in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada and California. Additional research projects are filling in information gaps, with work ongoing on site history, economics, weather and climate forecasting, and seedling establishment. An integral component of the project is an education and outreach program. To advance the use of ecologically-based management, we created an entire decision-making process that guides land managers through a series of assessments and decisions, which lead to an entire invasive plant management plan. This iterative, hands-on process uses state-of-the-art assessment with ecological principles that allows managers to address the underlying causes of invasion and create sustainable plant community trajectories. Managers from most western states are beginning to use the decision-making framework.