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Field Work, Wildflowers

Double H Range Revegetation Work

The Double H Range is just north of Winnemucca.

Looking southwest from Double H toward Jackson Mountains. Bighorn sheep in post-fire reveg site.

Large fires burned much of the Double H in 1999 and 2000.  We (NDOW) and the BLM applied a seed mix following the fires consisting primarily of native grasses, forbs and shrubs.  The forbs and grasses have done very well.

Double H 10 years post fire.

Part of that seed mix, a non-native small shrub called forage kochia (Kochia prostrata), has also done very well.  The kochia is the reddish plant near the bighorn sheep in the above photo.  Forage kochia will outcompete cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum), it is highly nutritious for wildlife and will germinate in low precipitation sites.   In my job there are those who believe we should never plant non-native plants and there are those who have actually been doing this long enough to know that your odds of a highly successful natives only, sagebrush seeding are pretty low.  Why does this matter?  Because I will (and often do) argue that using something like forage kochia is practical and moves us toward species rich plant communities.  What we are trying in the Double H projects, is to get some type of desirable vegetation that is low in noxious weed cover then, sometime later, come in with sagebrush and bitterbrush seedlings and plant them into the kochia/native forbs and grass community.

Planting sagebrush seedlings. See two 'sticks' along upper edge of photo. Two year old sagebrush seedlings at each of hundreds of these little markers.

For whatever reason the sagebrush that did not burn in 1999 and 2000 does not seem to be spreading out from the unburned ‘islands’.  These sagebrush individuals are producing seeds but we have seen little germination and recruitment.  So what to do?   This is an ecological restoration pickle.  One many folks face quite often.

Some flower photos from the Double Hs.

Shooting star (Dodecatheon conjugens).

Shooting Star

Lupines, phlox and poa.

Lupine, phlox and bluegrass

A swale full of basin wild rye (Elymus cinereus).

Basin wild rye

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Discussion

2 thoughts on “Double H Range Revegetation Work

  1. drank the NDOW kool-aid, I see…

    Posted by Tara | June 26, 2011, 1:44 pm

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