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NATURAL RESOURCE SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT IN THE WEST

Cheatgrass on Fire

Cheatgrass on Fire

The race to save an ecosystem

Locals speculate that Nevada’s largest fire may have started with a Fourth of July firework launched in a canyon. But no one really knows. The 2018 Martin Fire seemed small and innocuous, until a weather cell moved into northern Nevada.

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Nonnatives, Invasives, Weeds

Nonnatives, Invasives, Weeds

May 6, 2020

Plants as stories of human meddling

The Wyoming census for the plant kingdom is out! Over 2,900 different kinds of vascular plants grow in the wild in Wyoming according to experts at UW’s Rocky Mountain Herbarium. They include more than 2,500 native species along with 372 nonnative ones as of 2018.

Cheatgrass on Fire

Cheatgrass on Fire

May 6, 2020

The race to save an ecosystem

Locals speculate that Nevada’s largest fire may have started with a Fourth of July firework launched in a canyon. But no one really knows. The 2018 Martin Fire seemed small and innocuous, until a weather cell moved into northern Nevada.

When Natives Persist

When Natives Persist

May 6, 2020

One researcher examines how native plants can compete with invasives

In the spring of 2019 Elizabeth Leger drove out from her botany lab at the University of Nevada, Reno to her field site on the western edge of the 435,000 acres burned in the Martin Fire.

Looking Underground

Looking Underground

May 6, 2020

Tiny soil organisms may hold the key to managing invasive plants

The four members of Gordon Custer’s research group gather around as he walks through the steps of data collection.

Herbicides in Wildlands

Herbicides in Wildlands

May 6, 2020

What do we really know about their effects?

As Cara Nelson, a researcher and professor of ecosystem science and restoration at the University of Montana, hiked around Missoula’s foothills, she noticed abundant knapweed and cheatgrass growing amidst native bunchgrasses and wildflowers.

Early Detection and Rapid Response

Early Detection and Rapid Response

May 6, 2020

Can a highly coordinated team of experts and weed managers stop a new invasive species?

For many westerners, cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) is the exemplar invasive weed, well known for thriving in sagebrush landscapes where it crowds out native plants, fuels a devastating fire regime, and threatens wildlife and livestock grazing.

Fighting Phragmites

Fighting Phragmites

May 6, 2020

Systematic landscape planning software improves the odds against a despised invasive reed

It’s a hot, sunny day in early April, and I’m out collecting GPS coordinates for stands of wetland vegetation in the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge on the Great Salt Lake in Utah.

The Toadflax Needle in the Wilderness Haystack

The Toadflax Needle in the Wilderness Haystack

May 6, 2020

Using technology to detect and map new invasive species arrivals

The Noxious Weed

Since dalmatian toadflax was introduced in Wyoming, it has checked off all the boxes of an invasive species—it outcompetes native vegetation, reduces biodiversity, and is not palatable for wildlife or livestock.

Released to the Wild

Released to the Wild

May 6, 2020

Unwanted pets take a toll on ecosystems

Stepping through the tall grass, a family made their way to the edge of Kelly Warm Spring, a geothermal spring with a temperature that hovers around 77 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, in Grand Teton National Park.

Colonel Mustard, by the Dock, with the Bucket

Colonel Mustard, by the Dock, with the Bucket

May 6, 2020

A fish detective, the effort to stop illegal invasive species introductions, and a long history of a fish management culture clash

One summer day in 1992, two teenage boys fishing Lake Mary Ronan watched a man dump a cooler

The Four-Footed Watercraft Inspector

The Four-Footed Watercraft Inspector

May 6, 2020

Can specially trained dogs keep invasive mussels out of western waterways?

A mile outside of Browning, Montana, a watercraft inspector sits on the side of the highway next to her kennel.

Cancer to the Rescue?

Cancer to the Rescue?

May 6, 2020

A potential solution to invasive mussels

One hundred thousand quagga mussels can live in a single square meter, and 450 trillion of them infest Lake Michigan alone.

Unsung Pollinators

Unsung Pollinators

May 6, 2020

Native bees are forgotten in the clamor to save exotic pollinators

Christy Bell rifled through a series of shallow drawers lining the walls of a dark, windowless lab.

To Kill or Not to Kill?

To Kill or Not to Kill?

May 6, 2020

Managing charismatic ungulates in the Tetons

The first time Michael Whitfield saw bighorn sheep in the high country he stood on a ridgeline in the shadow of the Teton Range and watched a group grazing along a plateau.

Bye Bye, Baseline, Goodbye

Bye Bye, Baseline, Goodbye

May 6, 2020

Rethinking our goals for ecosystem conservation

Natural resource managers strive to keep ecosystems functioning on their own.

Time to Revisit our Invasive Species Strategy

Time to Revisit our Invasive Species Strategy

May 6, 2020

Perspective from Governor Mark Gordon

Invasive species are not a new phenomenon, but over the past few decades the West has seen an explosion of all types in all ecosystems.