Adapting ecological sites descriptions to enhance wildlife management: Lessons learned from the 2007 society for range management workshop

TitleAdapting ecological sites descriptions to enhance wildlife management: Lessons learned from the 2007 society for range management workshop
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsMaestas J., Messmer T.A., Brown J.
Conference Name62nd Society or Range Management Annual Meeting
Date Published02/2009
PublisherSociety for Range Management
Conference LocationAlb., NM
ARIS Log Number237951
Keywordsecological site descriptions, ESD, ESDs, SRM
Abstract

The Society for Range Management in cooperation with federal, state, and private partners sponsored a workshop in Park City, Utah in October 2007 to better introduce range and wildlife management professionals Ecological Site Descriptions (ESDs). The workshop was attended by over 300 land and wildlife/habitat managers, biologists, range ecologists, soil scientists, technical assistance professionals, local sage-grouse working group members, consultants, and petroleum industry representatives from throughout western North America. During the workshop, participants were broken into facilitated working groups to examine draft ESDs (including both state and transition model components and interpretations) for application to managing sagebrush steppe ecosystems for sage-grouse (Centrocercus spp.) and other sagebrush-obligate wildlife. Each group was tasked to identify strengths and weaknesses of the models and provide suggestions for the testing and enhancement of the tool for sagebrush ecosystem management. The groups also identified information gaps, defined priorities for research, and explored processes to incorporate the best science into the models. Some general themes that emerged from the working groups included; 1) the need for ESDs to incorporate increased flexibility in vegetation descriptions particularly as they relate to wildlife cover, 2) better integration of ecological functionality with wildlife habitat quality, and 3) expanded discussions of habitat values for both game and nongame species. Lastly, the participants expressed strong support for expanding the process of constructing ESDs to solicit input and involvement from wider audiences. In the interim, NRCS biologists and rangeland management specialists are closely examining fish and wildlife life history requirement to determine additional metrics needed for integration into the ESD template. In this poster we expand on these and other areas of suggested improvements.