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Integrated Landscape Monitoring Great Basin Pilot


To gain understanding of NPS landscape monitoring activities and ... Understand cumulative effects of local actions/events. Understand change at landscape scale ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Integrated Landscape Monitoring Great Basin Pilot

Integrated Landscape MonitoringGreat Basin Pilot
Carol Schuler Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem
Science Center June 2007
Purpose and Desired Outcomes
  • To inform about the Great Basin Integrated
    Landscape Monitoring Project (GBILM)
  • To gain understanding of NPS landscape monitoring
    activities and needs in the Great Basin
  • To discuss how to make GBILM useful for the NPS
  • Project approach and direction
  • Ecosystem drivers
  • Management and monitoring questions
  • Example projects
  • Complement ongoing NPS activities

USGS Science Thrust
  • Pilot new concepts or promote new program areas
  • Integrated landscape monitoring
  • Reconcile site-specific actions/events with
    landscape-scale processes and functions
  • 4 pilots
  • Lower Mississippi Valley
  • Prairie Potholes
  • Puget Sound
  • Great Basin

Integrated Landscape Monitoring
  • Goal
  • Reconcile site-specific actions/events with
    landscape-scale processes and functions
  • Address priority natural resource management and
    policy issues at the landscape scale
  • Integrated among government agencies,
    stakeholders, scientific disciplines and across
    political and jurisdictional boundaries
  • Landscape spatial and temporal scales
  • Monitoring collection and analysis of repeated
    observations to evaluate change

Great Basin ILM Goal
  • Develop and test integrated landscape-level
    monitoring that addresses priority management
    issues and provides capabilities to detect and
    predict landscape change.
  • Understand cumulative effects of local
  • Understand change at landscape scale
  • Develop predictive capability of landscape change
  • Develop or refine monitoring strategies
  • Prioritize actions such as mitigation and

The Great Basin
  • Over 111 million acres
  • Five western states
  • 78 public lands
  • N-S Mountain ranges
  • Varied elevational gradients
  • Water drains inland

Blue boundary GB boundary Orange boundary GB
with 50 m buffer
Why Focus on The Great Basin?
  • Species of concern (e.g., sage-grouse, pygmy
    rabbit, Brewers sparrow, Virgin River chub)
  • 54 of remaining sagebrush
  • Diverse accelerating stressors
  • Urban expansion
  • Limited water supply
  • Spread of invasive species
  • Altered fire cycle

GBILM - Phased Approach
  • Test approach to understanding change at the
    landscape scale
  • Established interdisciplinary team
  • USGS, NPS (Marie Denn, Angie Evenden, Debra
    Hughson), BLM, FWS, and EPA
  • Develop project scope
  • Limited resources
  • Mine, evaluate, and analyze existing data
  • Website (

Phased Approach
  • Develop conceptual models
  • Identify and prioritize ecosystem drivers
  • Develop and prioritize management questions
  • Develop pilot projects to address management
  • Mine, compile, and analyze existing data
  • Develop tools to analyze data
  • at multiple scales
  • Identify data gaps
  • Predict and monitor changes

Conceptual Models Tools for Understanding
  • Describes key ecological components and
    relationships between them
  • Used for planning, communicating, and
  • GBILM Models
  • Characterize landscape function
  • Identify ecological processes
  • Develop/prioritize management issues
  • Inform monitoring strategy development
  • Identify gaps in understanding of ecosystem
  • function

Framework Model
Systems Model Dry System
Control Model Sagebrush steppe
Stressor Model Fire/Invasives Interactions
Ecosystem Drivers
  • Ecosystem drivers are any natural or
    human-induced factor that directly or indirectly
    causes a change in an ecosystem.
  • Carpenter et al., 2006

Altered Flow Regime
Drivers of Change
Three Priority Drivers
  • Water Extraction (Wet System)
  • Fire and Invasive Species Interaction (Dry
  • Land Treatments (Dry System)

Management Questions
  • Why develop management questions?
  • Foundation for landscape monitoring program
  • Reflect real-life needs of management partners
  • Bring focus and relevance to our work
  • Provide basis for evaluating interactions among
    management actions, environmental factors, and
    landscape change

Project Development
  • Develop focused projects to address questions
  • Data mining and evaluation
  • Identify data gaps
  • Data analysis to assess status and trends, and
    predict change
  • Identify and communicate how results can inform
  • Identify research needs
  • Develop or refine monitoring strategies

Example 1 Water Extraction Project
  • Management Questions
  • How will increased water extraction impact
  • Can phreatophytic communities act as indicators
    of impacted groundwater systems?
  • Pilot Project
  • Identify locations of phreatophytic communities
    and correlate with aquifer flow system
  • Identify areas at risk from increased water

Water Extraction Project
  • Pilot Project Tasks
  • Map phreatophytic land cover by categorizing
    evapotranspiration as a function of critical
  • Geomorphology, vegetation species composition,
    elevation, hydrology
  • Map groundwater change over time
  • Evaluate change over time to phreatophytic land
  • Applicability to Management Questions
  • Provides assessment of status and trends of
  • Establishes dataset of phreatophyte coverage
    across Great Basin
  • Identifies environmental areas of concern or
  • Addresses utility of phreatophytes as indicators
    of impacts to groundwater system
  • Develop tools that help to predict and manage for
    the effects of
    groundwater extraction across the Great Basin

Potential Phreatophytic Land Cover
Map scale is 11,500,000
Example 2 Fire and Invasive Species
  • Management Questions
  • How should managers prioritize efforts to manage
    fire cycles with the goal of retaining and
    restoring desired plant communities?
  • Pilot Project
  • Use spatial patterns of fire and landscape
    characteristics to evaluate how invasive plants
    have altered fire regimes
  • Create models and a sampling design to monitor
    and assess changes in fire regimes and vegetation
    over time

Fire and Invasive Species
  • Pilot Project Tasks
  • Create maps of fire distributions over time in
    the Great Basin
  • Evaluate hypotheses on how invasive plants have
    altered fire regimes and how these relationships
    may change in the future
  • Create models and a sampling design to monitor
    and assess changes in fire regimes and vegetation
    over time
  • Applicability to Management Questions
  • Develop tools to monitor and predict fire regimes
    among major vegetation types
  • Evaluates and predicts trends for altered fire
    regimes among major vegetation types
  • Assesses vegetation types at risk to altered fire
    regimes due to invasive species, landscape
    characteristics, and climate change scenarios
  • Prioritizes major vegetation types for
    suppression and mitigation actions designed to
    prevent the establishment of grass/fire cycles

Fire and Invasive Species
Example 3 Land Treatments
  • Management Questions
  • How are different land treatments influencing
    vegetation and wildlife habitats?
  • How and where can land managers use land
    treatments to achieve multiple objectives,
    including maintaining and restoring wildlife
  • Pilot Project
  • Synthesis of monitoring efforts in the Great
  • Assess and predict effects of land treatments at
    various scales on wildlife
  • Initial focus on areas in Utah and the tri-states
    targeted for HLI
  • Eventually expand to rest of Great Basin

Land Treatments
  • Pilot Project Tasks
  • Create relational database of treatment
    information (1950 to present)
  • Treatment description, monitoring information,
    spatial data, reference photos, etc.
  • Develop predictive models on effects of
    treatments on wildlife habitats
  • Evaluate which land treatments can be used to
    improve habitat connectivity and where they can
    be placed (in a landscape context)
  • Management Application
  • Establishes a common database and maps of land
    treatments across Great Basin
  • Provides predictive models that estimate
    effects of land treatments on wildlife habitats,
    particularly sage grouse and other high profile
  • Provides information on treatment effectiveness

Land Treatments Database
Source Five Mile Mountain Sagebrush Restoration
Project EA
Long-term Value
  • Builds understanding of ecosystem processes
  • Identifies priority management issues and ensures
    research is relevant
  • Can address additional management questions and
  • Fill data gaps and identify new research needs
  • Informs management issues and practices at
    landscape scales
  • Develops or refines long-term monitoring
  • Ultimately, provides a
  • predictive capability of
  • landscape change

Discussion Topics Seeking Your Advice
  • What are the collaboration opportunities between
    NPS and USGS?
  • Focusing on most appropriate management
  • Addressing high priority monitoring needs?
  • Making results more accessible and useful?
  • Who should we communicate with to build buy-in
    and obtain input?

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