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Short Course Aids Rangeland Repair

PULLMAN, Wash. — Repairing damaged rangelands is the subject of the 32nd Annual Pacific Northwest Range Management short course, April 1-2 at the West Coast Grand Hotel at the Park in Spokane.

The short course will feature scientific and management experts on reality checks and realistic tools for repairing rangelands, says symposium coordinator Jim Dobrowolski, Washington State University Cooperative Extension specialist.

“The objective is to present and discuss current reality checks and effective tools for repairing rangelands in the Pacific Northwest and Intermountain West,” he said.

Topics will be directed to anyone interested in enhancing biological diversity, improving ecological conditions, and increasing the productivity of damaged rangeland ecosystems.

The information will be of particular interest to rangeland owners, land managers, natural resource consultants, scientists, and interested publics, Dobrowolski said.

Three principal themes will be presented; repair of sagebrush-steppe and pinyon-juniper rangelands eroded by wind or water; repair of weed-infested rangelands, and rangeland repair following wildfire.

In the western United States, Dobrowolski said, sagebrush-steppe occupy more than 25 million acres and pinyon-juniper rangelands occupy more than 30 million acres.

“There is wide agreement in the rangeland management community that more needs to be done to turn around long-term declines in the condition of sagebrush-steppe and pinyon-juniper systems.

“The steady loss and degradation of these rangeland environments has generated an ever increasing sense of urgency about the bio-diversity, productivity, and wildlife habitat on these areas,” Dobrowolski said.

Rangeland repair after catastrophic wildfire is often followed by weed invasion, increased frequency of fire, and finally stand replacement that is difficult to reverse. In the last few years major research strides have been made towards understanding the requirements to repair these damaged rangeland environments, Dobrowolski said.

All of these issues are of both regional and West-wide importance. Scientists and practitioners will focus on both successes and failures to repair rangeland environments that include the Columbia River Basin and the northern Great Basin.

Dobrowolski said the short course offers a unique opportunity to discuss what has worked and what hasn’t and to provide some realistic tools for repairing rangelands.

Sponsors include Washington State University, Oregon State University, the University of Idaho, and the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Society for Range Management.

Pre-registration is encouraged with printable forms located on the Web at http://ext.nrs.wsu.edu. The cost is $80 until March 14. This includes a registration packet, all breaks, and one lunch. A block of rooms have been reserved at the WestCoast Grand Hotel at the Park.

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