• Using Science to Bridge Management and Policy: Terracette Hydrologic Function and Water Quality Best Management Practices in Idaho

      Corrao, Mark V.; Cosens, Barbara E.; Heinse, Robert; Eitel, Jan U. H.; Link, Timothy E. (Society for Range Management, 2015-12-01)
      On The Ground • Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution is a leading cause of water quality degradation on 40% of the semiarid lands within the western United States, with sediment from runoff on agricultural lands making up 15%. • Managing NPS pollution through best management practices (BMPs) relies on site-specific knowledge and voluntary application. • The dominant hydrologic processes in semiarid environments are a product of local climate, vegetation, and soil conditions; therefore, land use and ecosystem resilience invariably hinge on a balance of shifting, and often competing, social and environmental drivers. • Our measurements of terracette hydrologic function and existence on more than 159,000 hectares within Idaho enabled an estimate of potential NPS erosion and sediment generation, emphasizing the value of site-specific scientific research for land managers. • Our study provides an example of how microtopographic landforms, such as terracettes, are connected with state and federal clean water policy as one example of how interdisciplinary research can have far-reaching application.
    • View Point: The Greater Sage-Grouse Story: Do We Have It Right?

      Cronin, Matthew A. (Society for Range Management, 2015-12-01)
      On the Ground • Greater sage-grouse were found to be threatened or endangered with extinction in a preliminary assessment in 2010, with a final decision on an Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing due in 2015. • ESA criteria regarding endangered status (in danger of extinction), threatened status (likely to become in danger of extinction), the foreseeable future (in which a species will become in danger of extinction), and a significant portion of a species range (without which a species will be in danger of extinction) are not definitive, rely on predictions, and are all concerned with species extinction, not simply population declines. • The 2010 ESA determination for sage-grouse relies on observations of declining populations, predictions from models with uncertain assumptions, incomplete population data, and anticipated habitat changes. Prediction of species extinction from this information can be considered speculation, and insufficient for an ESA listing. • Wildlife management without the encumbrances ofthe ESA and its associated litigation and regulation can be used to maintain and enhance species that are not in immediate danger of extinction, such as sage-grouse.