Steven Link will present a webinar on Feb 12, 2 PM MST. Managing cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) has been and remains a difficult matter for land and fire managers in the Columbia Basin and elsewhere in the Intermountain West. Experiments were conducted at the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Columbia National Wildlife Refuge starting in 2002 to investigate the effect of herbicides, their concentrations, repeated herbicide application, fire, and seeding on fuel load and establishment of competitive bunchgrasses. In addition, the relationship among community types (fuel loading) and the probability of a carrying fire was determined. Fire risk is 100% when cheatgrass cover is greater than 45%. Fire risk was reduced to 66% in a restored bunchgrass (Elymus wawawaiensis) community where cheatgrass cover was reduced to 2.7%. After three seasons it was concluded that application of imazapic (Plateau) herbicide at a rate of 4 or 8 oz/acre after a prescribed burn and then drill-seed was the best strategy to establish E. wawawaiensis. In the eighth year after treatment application, E. wawawaiensis cover of 12% resulting in significantly less B. tectorum cover (21.2 ± 4.1%) in treated plots than in plots that were only burned (46.9 ± 4.4%). Increasing the seeding rate of E. wawawaiensis is likely to increase bunchgrass cover that will likely reduce cheatgrass cover further. At the study site it was observed that the percent of senescent bunchgrass plants had risen to about 17% in the eighth year after seeding. Suggestions for further research will be discussed.
Hosted by the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center (http://wildfirelessons.net), the Joint Fire Science Program (http://www.firescience.gov/), and the International Association of Wildland Fire (http://www.iawfonline.org/).