Links-Utah Range Projects
The links described below are current range projects taking place in Utah. Most, though not all, involve researchers and extension agents from Utah State University.
SageSTEP (Sagebrush Steppe Treatment Evaluation Project) is a regional experiment with study sites in CA, ID, NV, OR, UT, and WA. It is evaluating methods of restoration of sagebrush steppe communities in the Great Basin. Sagebrush communities are one of the most threatened land types in North America, and as much as half of this land type has already been lost in the Great Basin. Many remaining sagebrush communities are in poor health. SageSTEP scientists are studying the effects of land management options to provide information to land managers to help them make restoration management decisions with reduced risk and uncertainty.The project is fully interdisciplinary, with ecological, economic, and social components with participants from Oregon State University, Utah State University, Brigham Young University, University of Idaho, University of Nevada, Reno, USDA Agricultural Research Service, USDA Forest Service, U.S. Geological Survey and Bureau of Land Management.
EBIPM - (Ecologically Based Invasive Plant Management) - Focuses on invasive annuals grasses. The project is headquartered in Burns, OR, with research projects and demonstration sites throughout the West. In Utah, the EBIPM site is located in Park Valley, UT. The project is evaluating the effects of targeted grazing, prescribed fire, and herbicide on rangeland seeding success in cheatgrass infested areas and on dynamic soil properties. Crested wheatgrass, Siberian wheatgrass, Russion wildrye, forage kochia and Great Basin wildrye were seeded in fall of 2009. Data is currently being analyzed on that seeding. Faculty participating from Utah State University are Chris Call and Corey Ransom. For more information about the project in Utah, click here.
Grazing Improvement Program (GIP) is supported by Utah Division of Agriculture and Food It provides rangeland specialists and financial assistance to ranchers to improve management on rangelands. Why should Utahan's care about healthy rangelands? Utah ranchers depend on the state's 11 million acres of private and public lands to graze cattle and sheep. Utah's livestock industry contributes more than $600 million to Utah's economy and is the largest sector of Utah's Agricultural economy. Improving rangelands will improve the viability of ranchers and Utah's rural economies. Improved management also protects the environment by increasing biodiversity, improving water quality and quantity, reducing wildfires and weeds.
Southern Utah Biomass is a forum where people can share ideas on woody biomass, particularly the Juniper species. There is plenty of research highlighting how high density stands of Juniper increase catastrophic fires, but these trees also use millions of gallons of water. Water, that could be used for native forage production, wildlife habitat and replenishing watersheds. Southern Utah Biomass focuses on the harvest, processing, transportation and marketing this low value product. What is the best and cost effective method for processing this product? This question still needs to be addressed. There is always a need for improving specialized equipment for moving material from remote locations to accessible locations. Marketing, more markets benefits everyone involved. Whether it's firewood for recreational use or home heating, landscaping mulch, soil additives, soil erosion control, bio-energy or a completely different product yet to be developed, we encourage a broad market approach. Click here to read an article written by Darren McAvoy, USU Forestry Extension.