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ASSESSMENT OF EMERGENCY FIRE REHABILITATION OF FOUR FIRES FROM THE 2000 FIRE SEASON ON THE VALE, OREGON BLM DISTRICT Jack D. Alexander III 1, Brenda K.

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Presentation on theme: "ASSESSMENT OF EMERGENCY FIRE REHABILITATION OF FOUR FIRES FROM THE 2000 FIRE SEASON ON THE VALE, OREGON BLM DISTRICT Jack D. Alexander III 1, Brenda K."— Presentation transcript:

1 ASSESSMENT OF EMERGENCY FIRE REHABILITATION OF FOUR FIRES FROM THE 2000 FIRE SEASON ON THE VALE, OREGON BLM DISTRICT Jack D. Alexander III 1, Brenda K. Kury 1, and Jean Findley 2 1 Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc., 1755 Hymer Ave., Sparks, NV, 89431 Phone: 775-331-5577, Email: jack@countgrass.com; 2 Vale BLM, 100 Oregon Street, Vale, Oregon, 97918-9630 Phone: 541-473-6233 Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc. – www.countgrass.com Vale Bureau of Land Management - www.or.blm.gov

2 Acknowledgments Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc., would like to thank the Vale Bureau of Land Management for the opportunity to participate in this study. Jean Findley Tom Hilken Randy Eyre Steve Christensen David Wallace Tom Miles Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc. – www.countgrass.com Vale Bureau of Land Management - www.or.blm.gov

3 Introduction – Jackson Fire The Jackson Fire was discovered on July 14, 2000 and controlled on August 17, 2000. Before the fire, approximately 35% of the burned area was in early-seral stage, dominated with introduced annual species. Approximately 35% of the burned area was in mid-seral stage, with a minor component of perennial species such as bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata). The remaining 30% of the area was in late-seral stage. Numerous isolated stands of invasive weeds such as Scotch thistle (Onopordum acanthium), whitetop (Cardaris spp.), hogbite (Chondrilla juncea), and knapweed (Centaurea spp.) were also present. Synergy conducted post-fire rehabilitation assessments in June 2001 and 2002. Three transects and three photo-plots were established in each of 5 seed mix treatments. Three photo-plots were established in burned areas that were not seeded. Mulfords milkvetch (Astragalus mulfordiae) is a state endangered-listed plant found on two ridges in the Jackson fire area; 16 additional transects (8 paired plots) with photo-plots were established. Objective: Evaluate the success of post-fire seeding, and determine which seed treatment was most successful in accomplishing the goals of rehabilitation Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc. – www.countgrass.com Vale Bureau of Land Management - www.or.blm.gov

4 Introduction – Kern Fire A lightning strike started the Kern Fire on August 4, 2000, approximately 30 miles south of Vale, Oregon. The fire burned areas dominated by a native sagebrush/bunchgrass community with inclusions of annual herbaceous species. Pre-burn native communities contained Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemesia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis), rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus spp.), bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata), Thurber needlegrass (Achnatherum thurberina), and Sandberg bluegrass (Poa secunda). Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) was dispersed throughout most vegetation communities and a number of pure stands of medusahead (Taeniatherum caput- medusae) were present on clay soils. The fire burned a total of 12,068 acres, including 11,983 acres of public land. Post- fire rehabilitation included seeding 1,800 acres with a native perennial seed mixture and 360 acres with a non-native perennial seed mixture. Synergy conducted the Kern Fire Post-Fire Rehabilitation Assessment in July 2001 and June 2002. Objective: Evaluate the success of the post-fire seeding and to determine which seeding treatment best met rehabilitation objectives. Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc. – www.countgrass.com Vale Bureau of Land Management - www.or.blm.gov

5 Introduction – White Mule Fire The lightening-caused White Mule fire burned a total of 18,158 acres of BLM land south of Rome, OR from August 3 to 7, 2000. This area previously burned in 1999 (550 acres), 1995 (36,046 acres), 1986 (8,500 acres), 1985 (32,497 acres), and 1983 (53,518 acres). The area is dominated by annual species such as cheatgrass, tumble mustard (Sisymbrium altissimum), and Russian thistle (Salsola kali). Post-fire rehabilitation included the re-seeding of a native seed mix and a non-native seed mix on 8,151 acres. Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis) and forage kochia (Kochia prostrata) were aerially seeded on 3,593 acres. Synergy conducted the post-fire rehabilitation assessments in July 2001 and June 2002. Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc. – www.countgrass.com Vale Bureau of Land Management - www.or.blm.gov Objective: Evaluate the overall success of the post-fire seeding and to determine which seeding treatment best met rehabilitation objectives.

6 Introduction – Wild Horse Springs Fire The Wild Horse Springs Fire burned near Bully Creek, near Vale OR. The fire burned 1,235 acres of BLM land and a total of 1,873 acres. Synergy conducted the post-fire rehabilitation assessments in June 2001 and 2002. Objective: Evaluate the overall success of the post-fire seeding and to determine which seeding treatment best met rehabilitation objectives. Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc. – www.countgrass.com Vale Bureau of Land Management - www.or.blm.gov

7 Methods – Seed Mixes Common NameLatin NameSeed VarietyJacksonKern White Mule Wild Horse AlfalfaMedicago sativaLadak N, I x Basin wildryeLeymus cinereusMagnarNN, IN Bluebunch wheatgrassPseudoroegneria spicataSecarNNNx Goldar N Magnar N Goldar/WhitmarN N Crested wheatgrassAgropyron cristatumFairwayII x Siberian/Fairway I Fourwing saltbushAtriplex canescens Indian ricegrassOryzopsis hymenoidesNezpar Lewis flaxLinum lewisiiAparN, I x Newhy wheatgrassPseudoroegneria spicata xElytrigia repens Pubescent wheatgrassThinopyrum intermediumLuna Russian wildryePsathyrostachys junceaBozoiskyI I Sand dropseedSporobolus cryptandrus N Thickspike wheatgrassElymus lanceolatus spp. dasystachyumBannock Western wheatgrassPascopyrum smithiiArriba N Rosanna Western yarrowAchillea millefolium IN, IIx N = Native Seed Mix, I = Introduced Seed Mix, x = only one seed mix used, seed treated or untreated with Germ-N-8. Grasses were drill seeded. A variety of shrubs were aerially seeded at each fire. Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc. – www.countgrass.com Vale Bureau of Land Management - www.or.blm.gov

8 Methods – Site Selection Study sites were placed to represent areas with varying degrees of seeding success. This study was not designed to have random samples. All study sites were placed in areas with evidence of seedling establishment. Photo-plots (by default the 0-meter point for density transects) were placed in areas with seedlings of seeded species. Portions of the project area had little or no seedling establishment. Transects were intentionally placed where seedlings had established. This biased the data to reflect higher than average seedling establishment. The project did not have sufficient budget to perform a statistically valid sample of the entire area, therefore, sites were selected to provide data representative of areas with successful seeding. 4 paired plots (8 plots per ridge) were established on the treated and untreated areas in the Jackson fire to determine the impact of the fire and seeding on Mulford's milkvetch. Some areas with Mulford's milkvetch were seeded, but portions of two ridges in the treated (seeded) area were left unseeded because of concern of the effects of seed drills on Mulford's milkvetch. Synergy collected two types of monitoring data at each site: density and photo-plots to evaluate the efficacy of the various seed mixes in burned areas. Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc. – www.countgrass.com Vale Bureau of Land Management - www.or.blm.gov

9 Methods – Photo-Plots Photographs provide a quick, qualitative assessment of sites and a means of making comparisons between sites and at the same site over time. Photographs allow non- technical assessment of a small plot. Photo-plots are accepted by BLM as a qualitative method of data collection. Close-up photos taken 0.5-meter from frame Landscape photos taken 1.0-meter from frame Rebar Stakes (0,0) Transect Y Axis Transect X Axis Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc. – www.countgrass.com Vale Bureau of Land Management - www.or.blm.gov

10 Methods - Density Synergy used TR 4400-4, Sampling Vegetation Attributes, to develop density protocol used for the Jackson Post-Fire Rehabilitation Assessment. Developing efficient protocol was one of the tasks for 2001. Several quadrat sizes were used to test for optimal sampling efficiency in 2001. In 2002, two quadrat sizes were used: 0.1x0.5-meter and 0.5x1.0-meter. 2002 data were collected at the same study areas established for sampling in 2001. This study was not designed to provide a statistically valid sample. Observers collected three types of density data during this study –Fifty quadrats placed in a stratified random manner along 10 belts within a 25x50-meter grid (data collected separately by plant maturity and species) –One 0.75x75-meter belt transect that counted number of adults and seedlings (not separated by species) –Ten 0.5x25-meter belts along the X-axis tape that counted only mature grasses and forbs. All three types of density sampling for each site used the same 25x75-meter grid. Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc. – www.countgrass.com Vale Bureau of Land Management - www.or.blm.gov

11 Methods – Density (Contd) A 75-meter tape formed the Y-axis and a 25-meter tape formed the X-axis. Random numbers were used to determine sample transect starting points along the Y-axis and quadrat locations along the X-axis. Ten coordinates were randomly selected for Y-axis coordinates. Five X-axis coordinates were randomly selected for each of the 10 Y-axis legs. A plot rod was used to outline plot boundaries. The plot rod measured 0.5-meters on the horizontal leg and was marked in 0.1-meter increments. As the plot rod passed over each plant, one observer counted individual mature plants and seedlings of each species using a hand counter (clicker). –Individuals were counted only if rooted within the quadrat. –The number of mature and seedlings of each species on the density data sheets. –Perennial species were sampled at all 50 quadrats (5 quadrats on each of 10 legs). –Annual species were sampled at 25 quadrats (5 quadrats on each of 5 transects on the Y-axis: the first, third, fifth, seventh, and ninth legs). Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc. – www.countgrass.com Vale Bureau of Land Management - www.or.blm.gov

12 Methods – Density (Contd) In 2001, quadrat size varied according to community structure and species sampled. –In 2002, only the two most efficient quadrat sizes from 2001 were used. –Annuals and forbs were sampled within a 0.1x0.5-meter plot nested in the lower- left corner of the 0.5x0.1-meter quadrat used for perennials. –Quadrat size 0.5x1.0-meter was used to sample Mulford's milkvetch and perennial species on all Mulford's milkvetch transects. In the second set of density data, observers sampled a 0.75x75-meter belt quadrat along the right side of the Y-axis tape at each density transect. –This sample was not separated by species, instead observers counted two classes (seedlings and adults or resprouts) of all perennial grass species. –These data were collected to provide an additional indication of seedling density. –The 0.75x75-meter belt included clumps of seedlings that may have been missed in the smaller quadrats. These data have not been analyzed due to budget restrictions. Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc. – www.countgrass.com Vale Bureau of Land Management - www.or.blm.gov

13 Methods – Density (Contd) In the third set of density data, observers identified adult plants (by species), within a 0.5x25-meter belt quadrat along the left side of each X-axis leg. –These data were collected to indicate the number of adults that survived the fire. –These adults may have been too widely scattered to be well represented in the 0.5x1-meter quadrats. –Data from comparison of the 0.5x25-meter belts to data from 0.5x1-meter quadrats would allow additional analysis of plot size. –These data have not been analyzed due to budget restrictions. Sampling for Mulford's milkvetch was accomplished by stretching a transect tape 25 meters to form the Y-axis and a second tape 25 meters to form the X-axis. –Coordinates were uniformly selected to sample both Mulford's milkvetch and perennial species every 5 meters, beginning at the 5-meter mark, and Mulford's milkvetch only every 5 meters beginning at the 2-meter mark. –Mulford's milkvetch was sampled the entire length of the axes; perennial species were sampled every 5 meters using a 1x0.5-meter quadrat. –These data have not been analyzed due to budget restrictions. Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc. – www.countgrass.com Vale Bureau of Land Management - www.or.blm.gov

14 Methods – Plot Rod Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc. – www.countgrass.com Vale Bureau of Land Management - www.or.blm.gov 0.1 m 0.5 m

15 Summary Data analysis was not included in the funding for this project. No seeding success objectives were established during the fire reclamation design process. BLM was generally disappointed with the lack of seedling establishment. This is particularly true in light of the fact that the sample site selection ignored large areas where seedling success was marginal or essentially none. Sagebrush mariposa lily Calochortus macrocarpus Indian ricegrass Achnatherum hymenoides RESULTS Data analysis was not included in the funding for this project. A preliminary summary of the data is provided. Data were summarized by the average number of seeded species per year and per square- meter for each seed mix. Data are represented by transect total (i.e., 1 = 1 transect had a certain number of seedlings per square-meter). No seeding success objectives were established during the fire reclamation design process. However, BLM was generally disappointed with the results of these seedings. This is particularly true in light of the fact that the sample site selection ignored large areas where seedling success was very marginal or essentially none. Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc. – www.countgrass.com Vale Bureau of Land Management - www.or.blm.gov

16 Summary – Density at All Fires A preliminary summary of the data is provided. Data were summarized by the average number of seeded species per year and per square-meter for each seed mix. Data are represented by transect total (i.e., 1 = 1 transect had a certain number of seedlings per square-meter). S=Seedling plants of the seeded species (regardless of mix); M=Mature plants of the seeded species (regardless of mix). JacksonKernWhite Mule Wild Horse Springs Seedlings and Mature species per m 2 20012002200120022001200220012002 SMSMSMSMSMSMSMSM 0.0016432624653242 0.01 - 0.9919554213422 1.0 - 2.995145111 3.0 - 4.99211 5.0 - 9.994211 10.0 - 19.9941 20.0 +1 Total Transects15 666666664444 Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc. – www.countgrass.com Vale Bureau of Land Management - www.or.blm.gov

17 Summary – Milkvetch Density Astragalus mulfordiae - Treated Astragalus mulfordiae - Untreated Seeded Species - Treated Seeded Species - Untreated Seedlings/Mature species per m 2 20012002200120022001200220012002 SMSMSMSMSMSMSMSM 0.0042312626383 0.01 - 0.99774535741524254 1.0 - 2.991112232121 3.0 - 4.99113 5.0 - 9.991 10.0 - 19.991 20.0 + Total Transects8888888888888888 Data were summarized by the average number of seeded species and Mulfords milkvetch plants per year and per square-meter for each seed mix. Data are represented by transect total (i.e., 1 = 1 transect had a certain number of seedlings per square-meter). S=Seedling plants of the seeded species (regardless of mix); M=Mature plants of the seeded species (regardless of mix). Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc. – www.countgrass.com Vale Bureau of Land Management - www.or.blm.gov

18 Observations Initial establishment of seeded species was low. Recruitment of seeded species from seedlings to mature plants was low on all evaluated sites. Sites with a higher seral stage prior to the fires of 2000 appeared to have increased seeding success. No differences were observed in the success of the different seed mixes. Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc. – www.countgrass.com Vale Bureau of Land Management - www.or.blm.gov

19 Recommendations This study was not designed to determine cause of seedling success or failure. Site observation indicates two main factors: drought conditions in 2 years following seeding and presence of invasive annual species (most notably cheatgrass) may have negatively impacted seeding successes. Seeding success was correlated to precipitation levels (i.e., low precipitation levels yielded low seedling success). Additional data analyses are necessary to completely understand the interactions of seeded species at each fire. A correlation should be developed between initial seedling establishment and short- and long-term plant persistence. Analyses should be completed to determine the most appropriate plot size. Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc. – www.countgrass.com Vale Bureau of Land Management - www.or.blm.gov

20 For More Information Please Contact: Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc. Jack D. Alexander III 1755 Hymer Avenue Sparks, NV 89431 775-331-5577 www.countgrass.com jack@countgrass.com SYNERGY Resource Solutions, Inc. We Count Grass 775 331-5577 www.countgrass.com Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc. – www.countgrass.com Vale Bureau of Land Management - www.or.blm.gov


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