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Project ID: 17-1-03-19

Year: 2017

Date Started: 08/10/2017

Ending Date:  08/31/2020

Title: Post-fire recovery of sagebrush steppe: effectiveness of phasing herbicide, drill seeding, and grazing resumption

Project Proposal Abstract: Increasing effectiveness of post-fire treatments is a management priority emphasized in Secretarial Order #3336 on rangeland fire and restoration. A primary goal of these post-fire treatments is reducing exotic annual grasses such as cheatgrass and increasing perennial grasses to enhance resistance to invasion and resilience to future fire. Post-fire treatments often combine treatments such as herbicides to reduce exotic annuals with seeding of desired perennials, and the treatments likely have interactions that affect overall plant community outcomes. Thus, phasing of treatments by applying them in different post-fire years is an important part of wildfire response that, along with timing of livestock grazing resumption, likely affects overall project success - but is yet under studied. Our objective is to determine the incremental gains in increasing desirable perennials and decreasing exotic annual grasses with the phasing of land management actions in the 1st to 5th year following wildfire. We will focus on different ways of phasing seeding and herbicide, additionally evaluating how the resulting plant community is able to endure resumption of grazing. We will use two approaches, one extensive in time and space, and the other focusing on one burned area. The first approach will collate all available BLM reports on post-fire herbicide and seedings in sagebrush steppe throughout the western US in recent decades, and perform a geographically broad study on how well different herbicide and seeding patterns have affected bunchgrass recovery and control annual grasses. The second approach will utilize an exceptional managers experiment that was recently implemented on the 2015 Soda Wildfire using sound replication and controls at the landscape scale. The impact of resuming grazing in subsequent years on the different treatment phases will also be evaluated on the Soda Fire site using replicated exclosures. Pre-fire vegetation condition, soils, and climate will be evaluated as they help managers determine when, where, and why to apply different ensembles of treatments after fire. The proposed research will help operationalize concepts for restoring resistance, resilience, and sage grouse habitat, and will produce field tours, webinars, factsheets, and publications on best practices for phasing of herbicide and seeding after wildfire.

Principal Investigator: Matthew J. Germino

Agency/Organization: USGS-Geological Survey

Branch or Dept: FRESC-Forest & Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Molly A. Pope

USGS-Geological Survey

Budget Contact

Molly A. Pope

USGS-Geological Survey

Budget Contact

Robert C. Spain

USGS-Geological Survey

FRESC-Forest & Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network

Great Basin






Interior West


Project Deliverables

There is no final report available for this project.
There are no deliverables available for this project.

Supporting Documents

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