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Blue Mountains National Resources Institute

Forestry and Range Sciences Laboratory
1401 Gekeler Lane
La Grande, OR 97850

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BMNRI Home > Publications > Conference Proceedings > Sustaining Rangeland Ecosystems

Conference Proceedings

Sustaining Rangeland Ecosystems

John A. Tanaka, Blue Mountains Natural Resources Institute, 1401 Gekeler Lane, La Grande, OR 978501

David A. Pyke, National Biological Service Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, 3200 S.W. Jefferson Way, Corvallis, OR 97331

On 29-31 August 1994 the Blue Mountains Natural Resources Institute, the Pacific Northwest Section of the Society for Range Management, the Oregon Chapter of The Wildlife Society, and the Oregon Chapter of the American Fisheries Society sponsored the Sustaining Rangeland Ecosystems Symposium in La Grande, Oregon. At least in Oregon, this was the first effort where the different societies came together to address the rangeland resources that we all care about. The organizing committee spent many hours of lively discussion informing and educating each other of our particular personal and professional viewpoints. We sought to present a balanced program with the best collection of speakers we could find. In general, speakers were asked to address topics from their disciplinary or managerial perspective. Within each session the goal was to present a diversity of viewpoints.

Speakers also were given the option of submitting a written paper for inclusion in these proceedings. Many of them took advantage of this offer and you see the results here. In the event a paper was not submitted, we have included the abstract published in the program. To the extent the speaker presented what was in the abstract, you should get a good idea of what was discussed.

Rangelands are an important part of the western landscape. Here in the West, if it is not forested, cropped, or in cities and roads, it's probably rangeland. We wish to be clearly understood that what we are talking about is a kind of land and not any particular use of that land. Society has used rangelands for commodity production, recreation, water production, fish and wildlife habitat, and a whole variety of other purposes. We sought to expose the audience to many of those uses and to related issues. The purpose of this symposium was to give resource professionals and others interested in rangelands different perspectives on various topics and to examine different approaches to finding solutions to natural resource issues. We didn't expect to find the solutions at the symposium. We did expect to learn together by understanding viewpoints different than our own and to recognize that these differences arise out of each individual's values.

For example, one of the major issues is how riparian areas are managed. Much of the Columbia River basin is involved in how human activities impact Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) survival. Some of the runs of this anadromous fish are listed as either threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The impacts of large domestic and wild ungulates on fish habitat and water quality need to be addressed as well as other issues related to the recovery of these runs, such as irrigation withdrawals, Columbia and Snake River dams, sport and commercial fishing, ceded rights to Native Americans, municipal water use, hydroelectric power use, timber harvesting, and on and on. The point is that there are many interests involved in salmon recovery and the solution must involve all players. At the local level, we have to take care of our part of the world. At the symposium, we sought to examine diverse views on the impacts of these uses, on feasible solutions, and on how some groups have come together to find politically, ecologically, socially, and economically acceptable solutions. This is but one issue in a landscape filled with issues.

As representatives of the Pacific Northwest Section of the Society for Range Management, if only "range type" speakers and a few nominal "others" had been invited, our comfort level would have been much higher (i.e., "preaching to the choir"). I suspect the same would be true for American Fisheries Society and The Wildlife Society members. Although we did not expect it, we suspect that the overwhelming response to this symposium was because it should have happened long ago. Almost 500 people with diverse backgrounds came from the United States and Canada to attend some or all of the symposium. Each of us needs to break out of our comfortable homes in our narrow disciplines and seek to really understand where our partners are coming from—to really seek it out. It's not easy nor should it be. Pointing fingers will not lead to long-lasting solutions. If you point, you should be able to offer an ecologically, economically, socially, and politically acceptable solution.

Hopefully the interactions that occurred at the symposium will make us question all of the assumptions we hold as truths. For example, if you believe that grazing cattle is inherently good for society—a basic assumption—you should be able to sit back and examine that belief based on the information presented. Can ranchers really graze cattle in riparian areas and have those habitats and stream channels improve, as Wayne Elmore showed, or should cattle be removed from the ecosystems, as Joy Belsky stated? Even if Wayne is "right," what do we do with the managers that can't or won't do any better? Do we legislate the solution as Dick Springer wants, or do we allow the free enterprise system to operate? If legislation is only needed to punish the ranchers not taking care of the ecosystem, how do you make it so the law doesn't punish good managers? Well, we hope you get the picture—everything we have heard during the symposium is tied together in an incredibly complex web.

What is it that society wants from our natural resources? How do we as managers, scientists, landowners, and the interested public give them what they want? How do we find out what they want? If we truly want to think globally and people still want to eat red meat, live in wood houses, wear leather shoes, or go fishing and hunting, how do we take care of our part of the world and not just export our insatiable appetites to other regions of the world? The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon, newspaper) has had many advertisements recently from British Columbia inviting U.S. residents to go salmon fishing there because the U.S. didn't allow fishing down here this year. As we stop timber harvest, what happens to the forests in New Zealand and Siberia? We don't know the answers to these questions, but each of us certainly has an opinion. And that's the point; as we search for solutions we hope each of us can seek to understand the other person's views and values.

These proceedings represent the end of the symposium effort, or is it the beginning? We tried to provide the audience with diverse viewpoints on a variety of natural resource issues. It was interesting to watch the audience during most of the sessions. At times, portions of the audience would perk up while others would settle deep into their seats. At other times, another portion would perk up. That was one goal of this symposium. We hope that same sense will carry over to these proceedings. In the larger scheme of things, this symposium is just another small step along the path to better ecosystem-level management. Good luck on your journey.

Symposium Co-Chair. Tanaka is Deputy Manager, Blue Mountains Natural Resources Institute; Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Oregon State University; and Past President, Pacific Northwest Section of the Society for Range Management. Pyke is Senior Rangeland Ecologist with the National Biological Service Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center stationed at Oregon State University.



Introduction to the Sustaining Rangeland Ecosystems Symposium John A. Tanaka and David A. Pyke


What is a Healthy Rangeland, and How Would We Know One?

  • Rangeland Management: Past, Present, and Future in Sustainable SystemsThadis W. Box
  • Patterns of Retrogression in the Sagebrush Steppe Rick Miller
  • New Concepts of Rangeland Condition E. Lamar Smith and Patricia Johnson
    Blending New Knowledge with Old Paradigms: By Design or Decree? New Concepts in Landscape Ecology for Managing Wildlife on Rangelands Steven T. Knick
  • Adapting to Change in Commodity Ranching Jack Southworth
  • Ecosystem Management on Public Lands: an Environmental Perspective A. Joy Belsky
  • Fish Habitat Needs in Rangeland Aquatic Systems Jeffrey L. Kershner

Managing Exotic Versus Native Flora and Fauna

  • What is Native? Kevin J. Rice
  • Vegetation Management and Weed Invasion Larry Larson, Roger Sheley, and Mike McInnis
  • Rangeland Seedings and Plantings: Exotics or Natives? David A. Pyke
  • Exotic Versus Native Fishes in Rangeland Streams Hiram Li
  • Riparian Rehabilitation With Native Vegetation Michael M. Borman
  • Feral Equids in the Western U.S.—A Continuing Controversy Michael L. Wolfe
  • Problems Facing Bighorn Sheep In and Near Domestic Sheep Allotments Paul R. Krausman
  • Improving Biological Control of Yellow Starthistle With Geographic Information Systems Eric M. Coombs, Daniel B. Sharratt, and Dennis L. Isaacson

Changing Social and Economic Values

  • Range, Ranch, Real Estate: The Construction of a Sustainable Landscape
  • Geographic Information Systems as a Tool for Land and Mineral Management Dean I. Delavan
  • Ecotourism as a Rural Development Strategy in Oregon Patrick Corcoran
  • Creating Awareness of Clean Water Issues Among Private Landowners Melvin R. George
  • Wildlife Damage Management to Protect Livestock: Ecologically Effective or Sociopolitical Appeasement Thomas Hoffman
  • Predator Control on Rangelands: Socio-Political Appeasement Tom Skeele
  • Public Lands Grazing—The Cowboy Perspective Mack Birkmaier
  • Possible and Probable Gains Arising From Cessation of Cattle Grazing Public Lands Kathleen Simpson Myron
  • Rangeland Sustainability: Where's the Beef? Marr C. Liverman
  • Legal Landscape of Wetlands Regulation Murray D. Feldman
  • Landowner Rights and Resultant Implications for Ecosystem Management Frederick W. Obermiller
  • Economic Dependency and Community Narratives About Public Lands Aaron J. Harp
  • Sex Discrimination in the Management of Rangeland Ecosystems Diane Valantine, Diane Alves, Joy Belsky, Sally Cross, Candice Guth, Terry Horton, Mark Hubbard, Jon Kart, Andy Kerr, Tim Lillibo, Lynn Mattei, Regna Merritt, Jim Middaugh, and Larry Tuttle

Rangeland Relationships of Grazing, Fire, Fish, and Wildlife

  • Effects of Rangeland Fires and Livestock Grazing on Habitat for Nongame Wildlife Gary L. Ivey
  • Livestock Grazing Relationships With Fisheries Timothy A. Burton and Steven J. Kozel
  • Effects of Fire and Grazing on Water Quality John C. Buckhouse
  • Management Considerations for Wetland Birds in Western Rangelands Gary L Ivey
  • Grazing Management Strategies for Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Stream Habitats Patrick D. Coffin
  • Status and Recovery of Sage and Sharp-Tailed Grouse in Oregon Michael A. Gregg and John A. Crawford
  • Snake River Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in Oregon's Rangelands Merritt E. Tuttle and Russell Strach
  • Milkvetches, Now and Forever Roger Rosentreter
  • Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive Wildlife Species Affected by Livestock Production Elaine Rees

Ungulate Relationships on Rangelands

  • Large Herbivore-Vegetative Feedback Relations in the Blue Mountains Ecoregion John G. Cook, Robert A. Riggs, Arthur R. Tiedemann, Larry L. Irwin, and Larry D. Bryant
  • Managing Ungulates to Allow Recovery of Riparian Vegetation William C. Krueger
  • Allocating Forage Among Wild and Domestic Ungulates—A New Approach Bruce K. Johnson, Alan Ager Sarah A. Crim, Mike J. Wisdom, Scott J. Findholt, and Dennis Sheehy
  • Relationships of Pronghorn and Livestock in the Great Basin: a Review Jim D. Yoakum
  • Effects of Livestock Grazing on Winter Elk Distribution Patrick E. Clark, William C. Krueger and Larry D. Bryant
  • Geographic Information System (GIS) Strategies for Updating Sagoonick Reindeer Range Plan, Northwestern Alaska J. David Swanson and Terry Nelson

Partnerships for Rangeland Management: Successes and Failures

  • History of the Trout Creek Mountain Working Group Doc Hatfield and Connie Hatfield
  • Blue Mountain Elk Initiative: Government Propaganda or Real Progress Gene D. Silovsky
  • Bonneville Power Administration's Fish and Wildlife Program in Transition Mark A. Shaw
  • Coordinated Resource Management Plan for the Keating Range: Accomplishments and Lessons Learned Matt Kniesel and John Randall
  • Citizen-Based Watershed Management—An Experiment in Local Control of Natural Resources Management Robert L. Horton
  • Wallowa County-Nez Perce Tribe Salmon Habitat Recovery Plan Pat Wortman
  • The Oregon Cattlemen's Ecosystem Management Program Fred L. Otley

Managing Rangelands for Multiple Objectives

  • Multiple Land Use Management in the Big Quill Lake Area of Saskatchewan, Canada Greg Riemer and Tom Harrison
  • Blue and Wallowa Mountains Grasslands: Integral Components of the Landscape Charles G. Johnson, Jr.
  • Subsoiling and Grazing Effects on Growth of Nitrogen-Fixing Species Bonita Java-Sharpe, Richard Everett, Darlene Zabowski, and Kenneth Radek
  • Reduction of Big Sagebrush Canopy Cover Using Reduced Rates of Spike 20P Vanelle E. Carrithers and Mary B. Halstvedt
  • Use of Sewage Sludge Biosolids to Improve Degraded Rangelands Richard Aguilar and Samuel R.. Loftin
  • The Resilience and Recovery of Willows, Black Cottonwood, and Thin-Leaf Alder in Northeastern Oregon Richard Case, J. Boone Kauffman, and D.L. Cummings

US Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station, Blue Mountains National Resources Institute
Last Modified: Monday, 16 December 2013 at 14:18:44 CST

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