Supporting outcome-based management on private & public rangelands: training agricultural professionals on monitoring techniques

Project Overview

EW18-018
Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2018: $72,519.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2022
Grant Recipient: University of Idaho
Region: Western
State: Idaho
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Jason Karl
University of Idaho

Commodities

Not commodity specific

Practices

  • Animal Production: grazing management, rangeland/pasture management
  • Education and Training: demonstration, workshop
  • Natural Resources/Environment: indicators

    Proposal abstract:

    Livestock grazing is an important land use throughout the western US, and ranchers need to
    make management decisions quickly in response to current conditions. The University of Idaho’s
    Rangeland Center has identified land use policies limiting ranchers’ flexibility to account for
    annual variations in forage, water, disturbance, and market conditions as a challenge to
    sustainably managing Idaho’s rangelands. This has led to an effort by the Center to develop an
    “outcome-based management” paradigm that would give ranchers more flexibility to make
    management decisions regarding grazing on private and leased public lands. However, the
    success of such adaptive management will hinge on quickly and accurately assessing condition
    of rangelands and coordinating monitoring activities between ranchers and public land managers.
    Outcome-based management will require a new paradigm for monitoring rangelands that adds
    easy-to-implement quantitative methods to existing monitoring, leverages the ability to combine
    monitoring data from different sources, and emphasizes cooperative monitoring between
    ranchers and public agencies. Achieving this in Idaho will require developing significant training
    and support materials for ranchers and rangeland professionals. This project’s objectives are: 1)
    refactor existing training materials for three monitoring techniques (photo monitoring, LandPKS,
    BLM quantitative monitoring) into consistent, modular formats (online and print) emphasizing
    understanding and interpreting monitoring indicators and method implementation; 2)
    demonstrate the compatibility of the rapid LandPKS method with quantitative methods used by
    BLM, and illustrate how all three methods can be used together for monitoring grazing effects in
    outcome-based management; 3) develop training modules for using the three methods together
    for management decision making; and 4) host workshops for ranchers and rangeland
    professionals on the suite of monitoring tools and how they can be used together. The project
    goal is to increase ranchers’ awareness and use of compatible rangeland monitoring programs in
    Idaho and increase the success of outcome-based rangeland management.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The goal of this project is to provide training on and demonstration of rangeland monitoring
    methods that can be used in outcome-based management in Idaho. This project focuses on
    developing consistent training materials in three monitoring techniques (photo monitoring,
    LandPKS, BLM quantitative monitoring) and illustrating how those techniques can be used
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    together by ranchers and public land managers to support sustainable grazing. Specific project
    objectives and timelines are:
    • Refactor existing training materials for photo points, LandPKS, and BLM quantitative
    monitoring into consistent, modular formats (online and in print) with a tiered structure
    that emphasizes: 1) understanding the indicators and how to interpret the data, 2)
    understanding how the techniques work, and 3) learning how to implement the
    techniques. Timeline: June 2018 – December 2018.
    • Demonstrate the compatibility of the LandPKS methods with a set of quantitative
    methods used by BLM, and illustrate how data from all three methods (photo monitoring,
    LandPKS, and quantitative indicators) can be used together for monitoring grazing
    effects for outcome-based management. Timeline: December 2018-May 2020.
    • Develop training modules for how to use the three different sources of monitoring data
    together for management decision making. Timeline: December 2018-May 2020.
    • Develop and host workshops (two per year in 2019 and 2020) for NRCS Specialists and
    Extension Educators, ranchers, and agency land managers on the suite of monitoring
    tools and how they can be used together. Timeline: May 2019-May 2020.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.