- April 20. 2015, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
- House Committee Room 421, Cannon Office Building
- Organized by Scott Cameron, President
Reduce Risks from Invasive Species Coalition
(lunch for the first 40 attendees)
Scott Cameron, Moderator (11:00 – 11:10)
Bill Payne, Dean, College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources (CABNR), University of Nevada, Reno
We are currently losing the fight to limit and reduce invasive species in the Great Basin. Cheatgrass, pinyon pine, juniper, medusahead and other invasive species now are prevalent in the Great Basin. Federal efforts to limit these species have proven insufficient in part because inadequate policy. The failure to effectively address invasive species has implications and negative economic impacts on wildlife habitat, on rural agriculture-based communities, and on urban communities in the Great Basin and beyond. We need new approaches and greater flexibility to address invasive species and associated issues, including the reduction of large and severe wildland fires, and high yet still rising costs of fire suppression, restoration of degraded lands, and the destruction of livestock forage and key wildlife habitat.
Ecological Costs of the Status Quo (11:30 – 11:50)
Barry Perryman, Professor, CABNR, University of Nevada, Reno
Contemporary management scenarios have given rise to cheatgrass proliferation in the Intermountain West. Targeted grazing management by domestic livestock offers one of the best and most efficient tools for managing very large public landscapes, private lands and the habitat of sensitive species that traditionally have lived in these areas.
The factors influencing vegetation (and thus habitat) in the sagebrush-steppe have changed dramatically in the past 100 years. There is clear evidence that the introduction of invasive species such as cheatgrass and medusahead has changed the way plant communities function and increased fire risk. Projections of future climate suggest fire risk will continue to increase over time. Informed management will play a key role in mitigating the loss of native plant communities in the future.
Sage-Grouse and Sagebrush Steppe Management (12:10 – 12:30)
Sherm Swanson, Associate Professor, CABNR, University of Nevada, Reno
Dry summers force sage grouse broods onto private and public riparian meadows where chicks grow into adults. Riparian grazing management works best with recovery periods, creating green moist fuel breaks. Well placed mechanical fuel breaks usually increase perennials needed to resist cheatgrass and other invasive species. Properly managed grazing helps upland perennials survive, even in fires. Wild and free-roaming horse habitats depend on maintaining herds at appropriate levels. Otherwise, herds and costs grow exponentially as habitats permanently degrade. So, good things happen when managers manage.
Panel discussion (12:30 – 1:00)