The conversion of native sagebrush to invasive annual grasslands has been identified as an issue for western range lands for decades. Wildfire, while having a direct effect on the sagebrush-step, and its associated wildlife species, such as Greater sage-grouse (GRSG), has been shown to have a significant association with invasive non-native annual grasses. In addition to increasing fire risk, invasive plants can fundamentally transform ecosystems by altering their basic species composition and function.
Local, state, and federal governmental agencies throughout the West are the principal organizations responding to invasive plant threats, from both a regulatory and management perspective. Despite much good weed management, these efforts have been piecemeal, with little coordination, sustained funding, or support from the highest levels of government. This has impeded the development of an effective regional or national program to ameliorate the threat of invasive plants across the West.
Western Association of Fish And Wildlife Agencies Summary and Next Steps
Follow Up Questions
Thanks to our presenters for taking the time to thoughtfully and completely answer followup questions.
Invasive Plant Management in the West – A Scientific Assessment
Dr. Roger Sheley
Landscape Perspective on Invasive Plants and Sage-Grouse
Overview of WAFWA Report (see full report link below)
Can We Stop Cheatgrass?
Managing Weeds vs. Habitats
Dr. Chad Boyd
Recent Initiatives to Address Threats to GRSG Habitat
Nearly a quarter of the 240 attendees completed a conference evaluation. Overall attendees rated the event an effective use of their time and felt the Summit objective was met. Evaluation Overview
The purpose is to convene a summit of federal departments (i.e., DOI, USDA, DOC, etc) and agencies, state and local government agencies, tribes and key non-government organizations to review existing invasive species mandates and programs, and to set a coordinated plan of action for invasive plant management in the West.
The goal of the summit is to build on the recent Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) publication, Invasive Plant Management and Greater Sage-grouse Conservation: A Review and Status Report with Strategic Recommendations for Improvement (Ielmini et al 2015). We will refine the report’s challenges and barriers and develop recommendations for securing adequate and consistent program funding at local, state, and federal levels.
We will identify federal department orders and other direction for accelerating invasive weed management activities at all levels to meet the needs of GRSG conservation across the western United States. The final product of the Summit will be the development of an Action Plan to help guide state and federal agencies, local governments and private entities in a coordinated and effective approach to addressing this important conservation issue.