In addition to the work that we do with federal agencies, GBI takes pride in our collaborations with state and local organizations and agencies. Particularly, we have a strong relationship with the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), one that has so far lasted some eighteen years.
Sara Violett, GBI & NDOW Survey Crew Supervisor, provides the following overview of our current collaborative work:
Vegetation Habitat Assessment (VHA) crews work in cooperation with NDOW to monitor sagebrush habitat restoration activities largely aimed to benefit the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). The VHA crews use Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring (AIM) protocols at sites undergoing restoration in response to conifer encroachment, wildfire effects, and invasive plant species. In the 2018 season the NDOW VHA crews sampled 373 plots.
One of the four VHA crews worked with the US Forest Service (USFS) to measure habitat characteristics in support of sage-grouse conservation, and for monitoring upland and riparian vegetation in range allotments where sheep and cattle grazing overlaps with sage-grouse habitat. The VHA crew applied AIM and Habitat Assessment Framework (HAF) protocols to collect data to measure sage-grouse habitat. In the 2018 field season, the VHA-HAF crew established 106 monitoring plots.
Another one of the four VHA crews worked with the Walker Basin Conservancy (WBC). This crew monitored vegetation on the historic ranch lands that make up WalkerRiver State Recreation Area (WRSRA) for restoration purposes aimed to benefit the Walker Basin area, including the East Walker River and Walker Lake. This VHA crew sampled using modified AIM protocols. In the 2018 season the WBC-VHA crew sampled 218 plots.
In total the VHA crews sample 697 plots across Nevada and Eastern California during the 2018 season. In addition to the four VHA crews there is also one soils crew that visits a proportion of the NDOW plots for soil sampling to complement the vegetation data collection. The soil crew sampled 136 of the NDOW plots in the 2018 season.
GBI remains proud of its work to assist NDOW in maintaining healthy environmental conditions in Nevada, and we look forward to continuing and expanding on these efforts.
I would love to hear some more detail about the survey results, and management recommendations. Also, how is this work funded? With wildfires in Nevada claiming such large amounts of sagebrush habitat each year, lately, research into restoration and invasive plant management in sagebrush habitats, is going to be increasingly critical to preserving this land cover type.