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70th SRM Annual Meeting & Trade Show

Red Rock and Rangelands

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Registration is now live! Click HERE to register today

St. George, UT
January 29 - February 2, 2017


Ecological Site Descriptions
Understanding and improving applications for wildlife habitat management in sagebrush ecosystems

October 23 - 25, 2007

Following the workshop, there were many requests for opportunities to view the high quality presentations provided at the workshop. As a result, speaker presentations are now available on-line. Just click on the titles below to review the presentation. We thank the speakers for their efforts at the workshop and their willingness to share their informative presentations.

Sponsors: Society for Range Management, Western Governor's Association, Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, The Wildlife Society
Background and Purpose: Widespread loss, alteration and degradation of sagebrush ecosystems have created complex challenges for managers seeking to conserve sagebrush-dependent wildlife species. A half century of research has created a diverse and extensive base of information upon which to plan and implement land management decisions. However, this mass of highly variable technical information has exposed a critical need to develop and use transparent tools for organization and communication of this information in conservation decision-making. Ecological Site Descriptions are one such management tool that potentially could improve our ability to describe and manage sagebrush ecosystems.
The purposes of this workshop are to:
  1. Introduce habitat managers, planners and policy makers to the use and development of Ecological Site Descriptions.
  2. Encourage interdisciplinary improvement of wildlife interpretations in Ecological Site Descriptions and enhance the utility of this tool for managing sagebrush ecosystems.
  3. Identify information gaps and define priorities for research and development.
Audience: Western North American land and wildlife/habitat managers, biologists, range ecologists and soil scientists, technical assistance professionals, local sage-grouse working group members, consultants, and petroleum industry land managers.

Summary of Workshop (pdf)
Agenda (Updated October 15, 2007)
October 23, 2007
Moderator: Wendell Gilgert
8:00Welcome and Charge to Participants
WGA - John Brenner, NRCS Liaison to WGA
BLM - Bob Bolton, Range Program Lead WO-DC
FS - Wayne Padgett, USFS, WO-DC
NRCS - Arlen Lancaster, Chief NRCS
WAFWA - Jim Karpowitz, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
FWS - Greg Watson, Energy & Science Coordinator, Mtn. Prairie Region
8:50Plenary Session - Setting the Stage Part 1: The Sage-grouse Biome
Moderator: Wendell Gilgert, USDA NRCS
9:00Using Ecological Site Descriptions to Manage Sagebrush Ecosystems - History, Overview and Applications of Ecological Site Descriptions (ESDs) for Management (pdf) - Dr. Fee Busby, Utah State University
9:30The Sagebrush Biome (pdf) - Dr. Rick Miller, Oregon State University
10:00Evolution and Taxonomy of Sagebrush (pdf) - Dr. Durant McArthur, USDA FS
11:00The Sagebrush Wildlife (pdf) - Kent McAdoo, University Nevada-Reno
11:30Sage-grouse Ecology (pdf) - Dr. Alan Sands, Idaho Dept Fish and Game
12:00 - 1:45Lunch (Provided in Registration)
Luncheon Speakers: Moderator John Brenner
Welcome to Utah - Governor Huntsman, Introduced by John Brenner
(click here to view video)
Moving Sage Grouse Conservation Forward: The Human Factor - Dr. Mark Brunson, Utah State University
Plenary Session 2: Current State of Sagebrush Ecosystems
Moderator: Joel Brown
This session will have an emphasis on current activities in the sagebrush ecosystem and how those activities are altering important ecological processes
1:50The Sage Grouse Rangewide Conservation Assessment Strategy (pdf) - San Stiver, WAFWA
2:20Fragmentation and Energy Development: Land Use and Management Changes in the Sagebrush Landscape (pdf) - Dr. Kevin Doherty, University of Montana
3:00Ecological Basis for Restoration Applications in the Sagebrush Ecosystem (pdf) - Dr. Roger Sheley, USDA ARS Burns OR
4:00Livestock Grazing and Sage-grouse: Separating Fact from Fiction (pdf) - Dr. Karen Launchbaugh, University of Idaho
4:30Fire and Invasive Species in Sagebrush Landscapes (pdf) - Dr. Rick Miller, Oregon State University
5:00Vegetation Dynamics in Sagebrush Grasslands - Dr. Alma Winward
Plenary Session 3: Using Ecological Site Descriptions to Organize Information and Help in Making Decisions
This session will review the current state of ESDs and cover some basic steps in constructing useful ESDs as well as charge the participants for the following day
5:30Application to Management - Developing and Refining Models for Sagebrush Steppe (pdf) - Dr. Joel Brown USDA-NRCS
5:50Interagency Ecological Site Description Manual - Dr. Sherm Karl, NOC, BLM, Denver
October 25, 2007
10:30Summary of What We Learned (pdf) - Dr. Terry Messmer, Utah State University