18 February, 2015 19:35

Landowner help requested:

The NRCS has funded a study by the University of Arizona under the direction of Dr. George Ruyle to investigate the effects of varying the timing of managed grazing in riparian pastures. The study is funded by the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP). The overall objectives are to determine the effects of grazing management on the plant community composition, habitat structure of the southwestern willow flycatcher (SWFL), browse use by season, effects on the channel and aquatic habitat, and the faunal response to grazing management. There have been numerous studies comparing managed and unmanaged grazing effects on riparian habitat and fisheries. However there is a lack of information related to the impact of carefully managed grazing, where livestock impacts are monitored frequently and animals removed when various thresholds are reached. Due to this lack of information the only grazing management prescribed in the USF&WS recovery plan for the SWFL is dormant season only grazing. This severely limits a livestock operator’s management flexibility and ultimately may limit participation in the Working Lands for Wildlife SWFL initiative. Allowing an adaptive management strategy to include limited use in other seasons, particularly mid-summer grazing could be beneficial to ranch management objectives while maintaining or improving habitat for SWFL and other species of concern. This collaboration will provide the NRCS with science based alternatives for developing grazing management plans that maintain or improve habitat for SWFL and provide land users with the flexibility required for a successful operation.

Dr. Ruyle and the NRCS are looking for interested landowners to participate in the study. This is an opportunity for landowners to help set the record straight about grazing effects on riparian areas and develop sound guidelines for management decisions that are compatible with landowner objectives while meeting the needs of wildlife. Without participating landowners, this study cannot be completed.

Dr. George Ruyle, Ph.D.                               or                    Stu Tuttle  State Biologist                       
University of Arizona                                                             Natural Resources Conservation Service
325 Biological Sciences East,                                                1585 S. Plaza Way; Suite 120
PO Box 210043                                                                      Flagstaff, AZ  86001
Tucson, Arizona 85721                                                          928-774-2401 ext 109 (O)
520-621-1384                                                                         928-699-0153 Cell
gruyle@cals.arizona.edu                                                        stu.tuttle@az.usda.gov


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