From Nevada Today:
Nearly 44 million acres of Nevada rangelands have been invaded by Pinyon Pines and Juniper trees in the past 150 years, reducing valuable habitat for range animals, including the Greater Sage Grouse, which is a candidate for listing as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
In an effort designed to help the stewards of Nevada's lands make informed decisions, Tamzen Stringham, a professor and nationally recognized rangeland ecologist at the University of Nevada, Reno, travels the open spaces of the 71.5 million acres of the Silver State to catalog and study the rangeland ecosystems. Some of those decisions could be about the habitat for sage grouse, but also pygmy rabbits and other animals that rely on rangelands to survive.
"How we manage these lands to make the birds and other wildlife habitat resistant and resilient to environmental or management impacts is the ultimate goal," she said. "Land managers make the best decisions they can based on current knowledge, and then we look to see if it worked, or if it is a disaster. We quantify these things."
Stringham puts about 25,000 miles on her Ford pickup truck in about three months' time crisscrossing the state to visit hundreds of ecological sites as she and her team catalog site characteristics and responses to various disturbances and management choices so they can prepare state-and-transition models.
"You can't say one thing caused the expansion of Pinyon/Juniper into rangelands," she said. "There are multiple drivers: livestock grazing at settlement, fine fuel reduction, fire suppression, climate change. Fire was a natural driver to keep Juniper and Pinyon in the high rocky places - and a pretty big mechanism.
See the full article here: http://www.unr.edu/nevada-today/news/2015/tamzen-stringham
USFWS WASHINGTON –The monarch butterfly, Topeka shiner and gopher tortoise are among the imperiled species that will benefit from $5.7 million in grants to 11 states through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Competitive State Wildlife Grants program. The grants focus on large-scale conservation projects to conserve and recover species of greatest conservation need and their habitats. They will be matched by more than $2.9 million in non-federal funds from states and their partners.
In addition to offering funds to these 11 states, the Service is also awarding two grants totaling $605,771 to the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, to be distributed to several western states and their partners for cooperative conservation projects.
“State Wildlife Grants demonstrate the Service’s commitment to conserving pollinators and other imperiled species,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “I commend our state grantees and their conservation partners for their efforts in responding to mounting conservation challenges.”
This year, the Service encouraged state applicants to design projects to benefit pollinators, as well as other at-risk species. Successful applicants include the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, which will establish a captive propagation program for rare native invertebrates including the Kamehameha butterfly; state fish and wildlife agencies in Idaho and Washington, who will partner with the Xerces Society to map the distribution and relative abundance of milkweed and the monarch butterflies that depend on it in order to help assess and reduce threats to both species; and Ohio and Michigan state fish and wildlife agencies, that will restore oak savannah to benefit the federally-endangered Karner blue butterfly.
State Wildlife Grant-funded projects are identified in State Wildlife Action Plans. These plans assess the health of each state’s wildlife and habitats, identify the problems they face and outline the actions needed to conserve them over the long term.
“We appreciate the strong ties formed by state agencies and their partners to protect these imperiled wildlife species and their habitats,” said Hannibal Bolton, the Service’s Assistant Director for Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration. “The State Wildlife Grants program is a catalyst for collaborative conservation, and we look forward to continued partnership success for the future of America’s wildlife.”
Click here for a complete list of 2015 SWG projects. Click here for more information on the State Wildlife Grant program.
Reno – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) released final environmental reviews for land use plans in Nevada and Northeastern California that will help to conserve greater sage-grouse habitat and support sustainable economic development. The land management plans, developed during the past three years in partnership with the states and with input from local partners, will benefit wildlife, outdoor recreation, ranching and other traditional land uses that rely on a healthy sagebrush landscape.
The updated Nevada and Northeastern California plan is an essential element of an unprecedented and proactive strategy to respond to the deteriorating health of the American West’s sagebrush landscapes and declining population of the greater sage-grouse, a ground-dwelling bird under consideration by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The collaborative federal-state effort includes three key elements to conserve the sagebrush landscape, which faces threats from fire, invasive species and encroaching development: a comprehensive strategy to fight rangeland fire, strong conservation plans for federal public lands, and conservation actions on state and private lands.
“The West is rapidly changing – with increasingly intense wildfires, invasive species and development altering the sagebrush landscape and threatening wildlife, ranching and our outdoor heritage,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “As land managers of two-thirds of greater sage-grouse habitat, we have a responsibility to take action that ensures a bright future for wildlife and a thriving western economy. Together with conservation efforts from states and private landowners, we are laying an important foundation to save the disappearing sagebrush landscape of the American West.”
"Federal and state governments and private landowners recognize that a healthy sagebrush landscape means a healthy western economy,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “We are working with local partners to design innovative, long-term conservation plans. Together, we can put effective conservation measures in place that not only benefit the greater sage-grouse, but also preserve the western way of life, help improve grazing lands and bolster rural economies."
The Monarch Watch Organization was “over the moon” with excitement when University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Anne Marie Lardeau sent them one cup of rare, desert native Milkweed seeds. Last year, Lardeau spoke via email to the Monarch Watch Organization and found out that they did not have the rare, desert Milkweed on their list. Lardeau told them that Cooperative Extension had such plants.
Lardeau began the collection process a year ago at the Lifelong Learning Center’s Demonstration Gardens. Monarch butterflies deposit their eggs on the Asclepias subulata as they migrate from west to east and vice-versa. The caterpillars feed on the plants.
“It certainly was a long, involved process,” explained Lardeau. “The spring crop failed due to high winds that released all of the seeds into the air.” During the second harvest, Lardeau used panty hose she cut into thirds and tied at the ends and placed over the pods to capture the seeds. When the pods were ready to release the seeds, they were deposited into the mesh from the hose.
“The 10 Milkweed plants created about two ounces of seeds, equivalent to one cup,” Lardeau added. These were the first donation and the first desert Milkweed seeds the Monarch Watch Organization received from Nevada.
Learn more here: http://www.unce.unr.edu/news/article.asp?ID=2086
A report from the Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies takes a close look at the threat of invasive weeds on sage grouse habitat and recommends 11 key strategies to address this serious issue, which tends to be intensified by wildfires.
Click on the link below to see the report.
Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies New Report:
Key Strategies for Managing Invasive Plants in Sage Grouse Habitat
Contact: Ken Mayer, WAFWA Fire & Invasives Team leader: Cell: 775-741-9942, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
May 9, 2015 is International Migratory Bird day!!! International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) celebrates one of the most important and spectacular events in the Americas: bird migration. Since 1993, IMBD has fostered bird conservation and education, and has introduced countless youths and adults to migratory birds. The event, hosted at over 700 sites, serves as a call to action to preserve birds and their habitats.
There are many events occurying throughout the country, click the following link to see if an event is happening near you or to register an event: http://www.migratorybirdday.org/get-involved/
Learn more about the International Migratory Bird Day here: http://www.migratorybirdday.org/
It's National Wildlife Week and it's a great time to learn about all sorts of wildlife, including the wildlife that live in the Basin and Range region! Click the following link to go to the places, plants and animals page of the website to check out just some of the animals that live in the area. Also, follow this link to check out educator resources and lesson plans from the National Wildlife Federation. During National Wildlife Week, the National Wildlife Federation and their partners will highlight peoples connections to wildlife by exploring ways to interact with the wildlife, ways to handle local predators, and how to keep the wild alive everywhere!
Which critters are you most excited to see while out exploring? Let us know by leaving a comment.
Last week Federal, State, and local partners signed the second 10-year Conservation Agreement and Strategy for Columbia spotted frog in the state of Nevada. This latest agreement will be implemented until 2025 and will continue the partnership that begun in 2003. The focus of the Agreement and Strategy is to protect the spotted frog and their habitats to ensure their continued existence. Columbia spotted frogs in Nevada are currently found in the central (Nye County) and northern (Elko, Eureka, and Humboldt county) portions of the state.
Partners include: U.S. Forest Service, Nevada Department of Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Nye County Board of Commissioners and the Bureau of Land Management.
The western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis) can be found in Southern California, Nevada, and parts of Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Mexico. They are also known as a Blue-Belly Lizards because adults have blue sides to their abdomens.
Western fence lizards have pointy, overlapping scales--these scales can help distinguish between western fence lizards and sagebrush lizards. Western Fence lizards scales are much more spiny looking than sagebrush lizards, with spines on their backs and limbs and on the posterior of their legs, which sagebrush lizards do not. Western fence lizards tend to be tan-dark brown in color with wavy black lines or spots. They can shift their color slightly from darker to lighter based on their surroundings and to absorb more heat from the sun. As mentioned above, they have blue on their abdomens. The blue patches tend to be much more prominent on adult male lizards than on females and juveniles. They typically eat insects and spiders, but have been known to eat small lizards as well.
Sources and more information:
Lahontan Cutthroat Trout (LCT) (Oncorhynchus clarkii henshawi) are endemic or native to the Lahontan basin of northern Nevada, eastern California, and southern Oregon. And is the official state fish of Nevada! They were listed as Endangered on October 13, 1970 and reclassified as Threatened in 1975.
Lahontan Cutthroat Trout are found in a variety of cold-water habitats including large terminal alkaline lakes, like Pyramid and Walker lakes; alpine lakes, like Lake Tahoe; slow meandering rivers like the Humboldt River; mountain rivers like the Carson, Truckee and Walker Rivers; and finally in tributary streams.
With three subspecies of cutthroat trout in Nevada, their body color is highly variable. Their back tends to be olive-green to grey in color. Their sides may be yellow-brown with red or pink along the belly. They tend to have spots throughout, which are usually round and black and are more dense towards the tail. The slash marks on either side of the throat can be yellow, red or orange and the fins tend to be uniform in color with no white tips.
References and sources for more information:
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