Sagebrush Areas Restoration Update

Block title

Sagebrush Areas Restoration Update

March 18, 2015

Dan Mummey details restoration efforts in sage dominated areas.

PDF icon Download (1.17 MB)

We developed a new strategy to retain and increase diversity in areas at risk of sagebrush canopy closure. Overgrazing and canopy closure depletes large grasses and forbs. Only small patches of large grasses and forbs remain in the Sheep Camp sage area. We seek to increase heterogeneity and maintain a diverse seed source. To prevent canopy closure in areas of diverse understory, we placed herbicide pellets at the base of individual or small groups of shrubs. We seeded large grasses and forbs to increase competition for sagebrush in areas where the understory consists of only small-statured species.

This image shows treatment locations in the upper Sheepcamp area. The blue dots represent healthy understory vegetation. At each location we placed herbicide pellets near the base of one to five shrubs to open the canopy. We seeded in spots enclosed by the red polygon to increase large grass and forb abundance. We planted false hairy golden aster, blanketflower, yarrow, and prairie coneflower in patches and broadcast complex seed mixes over larger areas.

The understory in this photo consists of small grasses and forbs. We seeded the area with large forbs and grasses.

Large ungulate traffic creates an environment for shrub establishment and opportunities for seeding. The canopy will close as these small shrubs grow. Seeding competitive species will slow the process and increase management options.

Small grasses and forbs are abundant in places. Restoring all functional plant groups will improve wildlife habitat value and ecosystem resilience.