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Workshops Second Session

18 Feb 2021
2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
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Workshops Second Session

Ecological Site Progress: Outcomes of the Provisional Ecological Site Initiative

2020 marks the completion of the Provisional Ecological Site Initiative (PES), the first phase in the update of the Ecological Site system.  The PES initiative focused on developing and revising Ecological Sites (ESs) within the context of the Major Land Resource Area (MLRA) or the Land Resource Unit (LRU).  Within that spatial context, ESs are developed with the focus on consistency and accuracy, rather than individual site precision, with a goal of facilitating conservation planning at the landscape scale.

The objectives of this NRCS effort were to: 1) group soil map unit components (static soil properties) into ESs or ES Groups, accounting for the full range of properties within an MLRA or LRU; 2) develop soil static property-based keys that will allow users to positively ID sites in the field at scales smaller than soil map units; 3) construct generalized state-transition models (STMs) for each ES with sufficient detail to support conservation planning; for all soil survey mapped areas in the contiguous U.S. 

Although the initiative is still underway, progress in coverage has been significant and has identified both strengths and weaknesses in the concepts that underlie ES development and refinement, and challenges in the institutional implementation of a large-scale national program.  Although individual ESs should be described to reflect the important functional aspects of the site, modern planning and record-keeping platforms for agency accountability require a high level of format uniformity.  This has required the implementation of a new information platform, the Ecosystem Dynamics Interpretive Tool (EDIT).  

In this session, we will review progress toward meeting the objectives, discuss problems and opportunities encountered in the process, and identify next steps toward the goal of continuous, complete coverage across the country.  Individual speakers will represent the range of geography (contiguous U.S., Alaska and Islands) and present perspectives from the field, regional and national scales.  

Organizer: Joel Brown

Low Stress Livestock Handling for Predator Protection with Demonstration

Chris Schachtschneider, OSU Range and Livestock Specialist,  will demonstrate techniques he learned growing up around livestock, combined with education and inspiration from Temple Grandin, Bud Williams, Dave Voth and others. Chris brings a new perspective to low stress livestock handling which teaches livestock to assist in their own protection from predators. Chris will demonstrate techniques with images and videos and the workshop will include discussion and Q & A.

Organizer: Andrea Mann and Roots of Resilience (Non-profit Organization)

Equipping Rangeland Managers with Skills to Map Ecological States Using Google Earth Pro & Remote Sensing Applications

The sagebrush steppe is a dynamic rangeland ecosystem with complex landscapes and ecological properties, commonly subject to multiple challenges. Historical spatial and temporal data, such as management history and/or wildfire history, often provides important insight about functional health of a management unit (e.g., allotment, pasture, critical management area, etc.), which may help land managers determine a variety of management options.

This workshop will highlight processes to  integrate Google Earth Pro (GEP) and remote sensing (RS) tools—with a science-based ecological support tool—to illustrate rangeland condition while equipping participants toward development of a management plan for a sagebrush steppe landscape. By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. recognize how vegetative dynamics and ecological states change in the sagebrush steppe ecosystem;
  2. understand how Google Earth Pro and remote sensing tools  can be useful when creating land management plans on a landscape scale; and,
  3. recognize advantages and limitations of using remote sensing tools to incorporate into land management plans.

The presentation team will incorporate a combination of basic principles and participant interaction in each of four short sessions identified below with discussion among instructors and participants. 

  • Session 1: Establishing Land Management Plans with Useful Tools 
  • Session 2: Reasons to Consider a Land Management Tool 
  • Session 3: Applying GEP Tools Towards Land Management Planning
  • Session 4: Applying and Interpreting RS Virtual Maps by rangeland managers.

Organizer: Sergio Arispe

Rangeland Social Scientist Gathering 2021

The Rangeland Social Scientist Gathering is a networking and discussion opportunity open to any SRM meeting attendee with an interest in the rangeland social sciences. The social sciences are an important aspect of rangeland management and science across North America and globally. Recent years have seen a rapid development in methods, resources, and theoretical discussions in this area of study. There is a growing need to connect researchers and practitioners to share resources and ideas, especially as we continue to adapt to the novel COVID-19 research context. We invite researchers and academics, practitioners, Extension and outreach professionals, graduate students and others to join this year’s virtual “Gathering.” In past years we have attracted 30+ social scientists from across the Society and a range of career stages. The objectives of the session are to a) connect members of the rangeland social science community through networking opportunities; b) highlight graduate student research; c) advance conversation about new ideas, topics and concerns; d) celebrate the successes of our community in the past year. Specific workshop activities include 1) an abbreviated “Offers and Needs Market” ice breaker activity and 2) a graduate student research workshop. We invite all graduate students to bring a 5 minute informal presentation on an aspect of their research that they would like feedback on from the community.  SRM meeting attendees are invited to join for the entire two-hour session or can attend for part of the session. Our existing slack channel will complement the virtual meeting platform as we facilitate the conversation online.  Contact for more information.

Organizers: Hailey Wilmer and Mark Brunson

Fuelcast.Net Helping You Make In-Season Management Decisions

Tools enhancing range management activities are increasingly useful and commonplace. One of the key areas still needing more research is the process of forecasting vegetation conditions in the growing season, and there are several platforms available that attempt this process.  Here we discuss the rapidly evolving, which makes projections of forage and fuel starting 4 months ahead of the peak. Use of this system grew at a good pace in 2020 and in one 24-hour period we had 360 visitors with an average time on site of 4.5 minutes. 

In this workshop users will see how these forecasts of forage and fuels during the growing season can assist them with grazing management decisions and fire planning.  We will include interactive points by visiting the application to demonstrate how easy it is to see what’s happening in “your neck of the woods.” In addition, users will offer testimonials and talk about how use of the system has helped make their projects more efficient. 

This workshop will begin with a learning session that explains how was created and how it is used. Then organizers will interact with participants who will follow along by exploring the Fuelcast site.  Along the way, participants can ask questions and provide discussion in real time.   

Organizer: Matt Reeves

Big Sagebrush Restoration: Status at the Start of a New Decade – Rangeland Technology and Equipment Council Workshop

This session will provide an update on technologies and strategies that have evolved to improve the success of reestablishing big sagebrush on degraded or wildfire impacted rangelands. New seeding technologies will be discussed including equipment, seed treatments and seedbed preparation.  Planting sagebrush seedlings will also be addressed.  Workshop participants will be able to ask questions and contribute strategies and technologies that they have successfully applied.  

Organizer: Mike Pellant