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Project ID: 01C-3-1-02

Year: 2002

Date Started: 07/26/2002

Date Completed: 01/11/2007

Title: Armells Creek Prescribed Fire Demonstration Project

Project Proposal Abstract: Relatively little is known about the role of fire in prairie savanna ecosystems like those found along the Missouri and Yellowstone drainages of central and eastern Montana and the Little Missouri drainage of northeastern Wyoming and western North Dakota. Without such information land managers must rely on professional judgment and opinion when developing prescribed fire plans. This limitation was readily apparent when Bureau of Land Management fuels specialists began developing a prescribed fire plan to reach rangeland and riparian improvement goals established under the Armells Creek Watershed Environmental Assessment. Efforts to avoid costly mistakes and protect existing forest, shrub and wildlife resources prompted the BLM planners to contact Montana State University researchers and extension specialists for information about possible outcomes from prescribed fires. After several site visits it became apparent that landform and ecological conditions where such that a controlled study of the effects of fire on a representative section of prairie savanna could be accomplished during the Armells Creek restoration project. The Armells site also provides the opportunity to test the hypothesis that conifer encroachment limits the level of riparian area improvement that can be achieved through intensive livestock management and vegetation restoration projects. Another advantage to the Armells Creek Watershed is its close proximity to the BLM's Lewistown office. This provides an excellent opportunity to develop a demonstration site that can be used to illustrate the environmental outcome of a fuels treatment practice (Task 1 of the JFSP). Equally important is the potential to apply what is learned at the Armells site to planning efforts in other parts of the Missouri and Yellowstone drainages. This proposal seeks support from the Joint Fire Sciences program to develop the ecological baseline for the long term (six year) monitoring effort and to make initial measurements of browse mortality and the level of change in conifer density and canopy cover immediately following the burn. Support from JFSP will enable the Lewistown BLM and the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station to use their funds for recording changes 3 and six years after the prescribed fire.

Principal Investigator: Clayton B. Marlow

Agency/Organization: Montana State University

Branch or Dept: Department of Animal & Range Sciences

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept


Joe Frazier

BLM-Bureau of Land Management

Lewistown Field Office


James Knight

Montana State University

Cooperative Extension Service


Mitch Maycox

BLM-Bureau of Land Management

Lewistown Field Office


Melanie Miller

University of Montana

Department of Forest Management


Brad Sauer

BLM-Bureau of Land Management

Eastern Montana Fire Zone


Jennifer Walker

BLM-Bureau of Land Management

Lewistown Field Office

Federal Fiscal Representative

Mary R. Clark

BLM-Bureau of Land Management

Montana-Dakotas State Office

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network

Northern Rockies


There are no project locations identified for this project.

Project Deliverables

Final Report view or print

("Results presented in JFSP Final Reports may not have been peer-reviewed and should be interpreted as tentative until published in a peer-reviewed source.")

  ID Type Title
    2329 Journal Article Upland and Riparian Vegetation Diversity Following Prescribed Fires in a Prairie Savanna Ecosystem
    2330 Journal Article A Direct Linkage Between Upland Forest Structure and Riparian Groundwater Recharge Patterns
    173 MS Thesis Animal and Range Sciences (C.K. Wood)
    208 MS Thesis Animal and Range Sciences (R. Tucker)
    374 Poster Using Prescribed Burning to Rejuvenate Prairie Riparian Ecosystems: Preliminary Results
    375 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Society for Range Management Annual Meeting
    376 Poster Comparing Winter Browse Use of Key Forage Species in the Missouri Breaks, Montana
    379 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Society for Range Management Annual Meeting
    501 Conference/Symposia/Workshop 10th Billings Land Reclamation Symposium
    513 Invited Paper/Presentation The Use of Prescribed Fire for Riparian Ecosystem Rehabilitation
    514 Invited Paper/Presentation Broadening the Scope of Prescribed Fires: Opportunities to Rehabilitate Degraded Riparian Zones
    482 Invited Paper/Presentation Response of Riparian Ground Water Levels to Prescribed Fire
    6984 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Society for Range Management Annual Meeting
    6985 Invited Paper/Presentation Prescribed Burning Effects on Deer and Elk Thermal and Hiding Cover Availability and Use of Habitat in the Missouri Breaks, Montana Area
    6986 Invited Paper/Presentation Prescribed Fire in the Missouri Breaks: Gains or Losses for Mule Deer and Elk

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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