Endangered Species Act Habitat Enhancement Planning

FARALLON TEAMS WITH AGENCIES AND LANDOWNERS TO MANAGE NOXIOUS WEED ERADICATION IN ENDANGERED SPECIES HABITAT

A nonprofit weed-management agency engaged Farallon to conduct soil sampling in sage-grouse habitat.

Farallon was retained by a nonprofit weed-management agency to monitor habitat improvement measures and facilitate cooperation between land managers and landowners to control invasive noxious weeds in critical sage-grouse habitat.  Southeastern Oregon has been identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as containing 13 percent of the total nationwide Priority Areas for Conservation for the greater sage-grouse, the largest grouse in North America.  Maintaining these key habitats is essential for conservation and the long-term viability of the species.

Primary threats to the greater sage-grouse include encroachment of invasive plants such as the aggressive noxious weed medusahead, which displaces native vegetation, decreases biodiversity, and is slow to decompose, increasing wildfire risk.  Controlling medusahead is the main component in the strategy to maintain sage-grouse habitat.  Treatment methods include herbicide application, and reseeding with desirable grasses.

Farallon conducts targeted soil sampling in areas treated with herbicides to assess the effectiveness of the herbicide application. Ongoing soil sampling for microbial activity and nutrient analysis evaluates soil quality parameters that encourage native plant species growth which, in turn, increase greater sage-grouse habitat.  Farallon Staff Scientist Parker Emahiser, who conducts soil sampling for this and similar projects, commented, “It’s rewarding to see the combined effort of Farallon and local agencies result in a solution for sustaining our communities’ natural resources.”