- Animals: bovine
- Animal Production: grazing management, rangeland/pasture management, stocking rate
The Glenn and Colusa Resource Conservation Districts initiated a major PL-566 project involving an entire watershed on private lands. Objectives of the project were to be met by individual ranch practices such as controlled grazing, brush management, stock water development and riparian check dam construction. To date $527,000 has been paid out to landowners for cost sharing on approved practices. Unfortunately, no specific funding for monitoring was included in the PL-566 watershed project.
This SARE/ACE grant encompassed two levels of monitoring within the watershed. The first level of monitoring was detailed, annual and designed for statistical analysis. While this level of monitoring was not able to detect significant change due to grazing regimes in the watershed, it did provide valuable information and experience for evaluating monitoring methods and establishing a simpler monitoring method. The second level of monitoring was developed to be simple, practical and economical so that landowners can take on the task of monitoring their own rangeland. In cooperation with seven other University of California Cooperative Extension Advisors a “hands-on” handbook on “how to” monitor rangeland – Level 1 was developed. Level 1 instructs landowners on “how to” monitor range sites with a camera. Our experience with the Upper Stony Creek Watershed Project provided guidance for evaluating text and creating illustrations for Level 1. With funding support from the California Cattlemen’s Association a 12-minute video was developed based on the “How to” Monitor Handbook to encourage and demonstrate photo monitoring. Nineteen landowners in the Upper Stony Creek Watershed were provided the “How to” Monitor Handbook and a disposable camera. They were also assisted in established permanent photo monitoring points. Landowners in the watershed also attended a 5-day short course on ranch planning and monitoring.
The significance of developing the “How to” Monitor Handbook has been demonstrated by the overwhelming response. To date over 400 manuals and 80 videotapes have been distributed throughout California, the western United States, Canada and Australia. In addition to providing University of California extension advisors and Natural Resource Conservation District Personnel with monitoring curricula, several other states are interested in using the information presented in “How to” Monitor. The handbook and videos have been used in teaching curricula at Oregon State University. The handbook was also used in a course outline for the University of South Dakota’s satellite cow/calf operator program.
“How to” Monitor – Level II was develop to instruct on more specific monitoring methods for collecting data on vegetation cover, utilization, residual dry matter, water quality and wildlife. Monitoring methodology on vegetation cover for the Level II handbook was developed and field tested in conjunction with the Upper Stony Creek Watershed Project. In addition, information for a riparian profile monitoring study in this project was developed into a case study for the “How to” Monitor Handbook – Level II. “How to” Monitor – Level II is currently being published and will be ready for distribution in January 1997. There are already numerous requests throughout the western United States for this publication.
Objective 1. Document the effect of grazing systems and resulting stocking densities on annual rangeland ecology by monitoring changes over time in:
a. Ground cover, canopy cover, soil bulk density, target plant density, residual dry matter, grazing intensity, infiltration rates and interrill erosion.
Objective 2. Determine the impact of grazing systems and resulting stocking densities on the riparian profile and vegetation by monitoring changes over time in:
a. Streambank vegetation density and canopy cover.
b. Elevation transects of riparian above and below check dams.
This detailed monitoring will not only provide data on the impacts of land management practices in the watershed, but also provide data to validate or indicate the inadequacies of a simpler level of monitoring. The second level of monitoring is in fact simple, practical, and economical so that landowners can take on the task of monitoring their own rangeland.
Objective 3. To develop, demonstrate, and achieve rancher adoption of procedures by which they can and will monitor progress or lack of progress toward meeting their production and landscape goals.
The primary focus of this project was to develop, demonstrate, and achieve rancher adoption of procedures by which they can and will monitor progress or lack of progress toward meeting their landscape goals on the watershed.