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Restoration of upland habitat in California Park, CO

Status: 
Start-up
Dates: 
June, 2017

RMRS researchers meet with local ranchers to discuss the oral history of California Park
RMRS researchers meet with local ranchers to discuss the oral history of California Park (Photo by Chuck Rhoades)
RMRS Research Biogeochemist Chuck Rhoades is partnering with Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest staff and Colorado State University researchers to develop a restoration plan for Greater sage-grouse habitat in California Park, near Hayden, Colorado. Historic land use practices combine with landscape-scale, vegetation, and soil patterns to create a mosaic of sagebrush-habitats and areas that lack sagebrush altogether. It is uncertain to National Forest System land managers whether the current vegetation patterns are a result of livestock grazing, historic herbicide use, elk browsing or are due to underlying soil differences. Building understanding of these interacting factors will help determine where and how to prioritize restoration activities. 

Approach

Collaborators on the sagebrush restoration project at California Park, Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest
Collaborators on the sagebrush restoration project at California Park, Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest (Photo by Chuck Rhoades)

 

The first step in this project is to consolidate historical and contemporary management activities into a comprehensive site history. This will be accomplished using a combination of paper and electronic records and interviews with local ranchers. Landscape, soil, seedbank and vegetation, and historic land use mapping will be used to develop preliminary hypotheses about sagebrush restoration at the California Park site. 



Project Contact: 


Co-Investigators:
Mark Paschke - Colorado State University
Missy Dressen - Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest
Liz Schnackenberg - Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest
Erik Taylor - Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest