Wildfire in the Great Basin continues to proliferate, and GBI continues its efforts to reduce risks throughout the region. In Idaho, working alongside the BLM Boise District Office, GBI Research Associates have worked to promote and implement Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation (ESR) projects.
Intense fires destroy native fauna, as well as the seed bank stored in the soil, which provides an opening for invasive species to take root. Worse, these invasive plants dry out and provide ideal new fuel, creating a “positive feedback loop” for increasingly destructive fires. ESR seeks to disrupt this loop, through a number of methods, principally though the reseeding of native fauna and removal of invasive species. Moreover, ongoing monitoring assures the continuing health and recovery of a burn area.
In Idaho, GBI crews have conducted monitoring of burn areas, on the lookout for invasive and noxious weeds like cheatgrass, yellow starthistle, and Canada thistle. Additionally, they work to establish healthy populations of native sagebrush and bitterbrush, distributing seeds and seedlings where most desired. Of course, an ecosystem is more than its plants, so GBI’s RAs have also kept busy monitoring weather stations, learning about Boise-area birds, and contributing to efforts to manage tamarisk beetle populations, all in an effort to promote ecological health and public safety.