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News Releases

Power lines restrict sage grouse movement in Washington
Transmission lines that funnel power from hydroelectric dams and wind turbines across Eastern Washington affect greater sage grouse habitat by isolating fragile populations and limiting movement, a new study finds. More »

Habitat is important for northern goshawk conservation
The story of the northern goshawk, an elusive bird often referred to as the “Grey Ghost,” continues to evolve as understanding of prey and habitat needs become clearer. While quality nesting sites are preferred, goshawks are known as habitat generalists, meaning they can live in many places. Where they live is dictated by the availability and habitat needs of their prey. More »

New models provide realistic predictions of how fast crown fires spread
Crown fires are a big concern to firefighters; they spread rapidly across treetops and can quickly change speed and direction, making them very dangerous. Scientists have made recent breakthroughs in understanding the processes that control fire spread. These breakthroughs result in realistic modeling of crown fires. More »

How flame dynamics govern the spread of wildfires
Evidence presented in a new study, Role of buoyant flame dynamics in wildfire spread, reveals how flame dynamics that produce and transport convective heat effectively governs the spread of wildfire. More »

Fire weather seasons across the globe getting longer
Scientists found trends in fire weather seasons across the globe have increased by nearly 20 percent and the global burnable area doubled (nearly 110 percent) over the past 35 years. More »

Mild Winters Not Causing All Mountain Pine Beetle Outbreaks in Western US
What is really driving mountain pine beetle population outbreaks in the U.S.? A new study shows increasing minimum winter temperatures explain some, but not all outbreaks. More »

RMRS Free master class offered for FireWorks educational trunk
The USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station’s Fire, Fuels and Smoke science program is offering its annual free “master class” on teaching with the FireWorks educational trunk on Thursday and Friday, June 18-19. More »

RMRS Scientists Mentor High School Student for National Science Fairs
Missoula, Mont. high school senior, Ticha Padgett-Stewart, is working with scientists at the National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation to develop a method to detect river otters by sampling water. More »

Rebuilding after Wildland Fire – New Developments Outpace Rebuilding in Burned Areas
When wildland fires destroy buildings, do people rebuild? Using aerial and satellite imagery, researchers have been tracking construction in areas burned by wildland fires and the findings reveal that new development outpaces reconstruction of burned buildings. More »

Trout Climate Change Refuge Streams Identified through Extensive Inter-agency CrowdSourced Databases
People around the globe will have access to high-definition maps that show streams that could serve as a climate refuge for two native trout species--bull trout and cutthroat trout--across 450,000 kilometers (~280,000 miles) of streams in the northwestern United States. More »

U.S. Forest Service Announces its National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation
The USDA Forest Service is announcing the establishment of its National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation in Missoula, Mont. The center is a leading edge facility for advanced genomics research, and it develops new tools and techniques to help managers conserve natural resources. More »

John Phipps Appointed as New Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station Director
The U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station welcomes John Phipps as its new Director. More »

The Utah juniper illuminates stream flow of Utah's Bear River over a millennium
A new study, A millennium-length reconstruction of Bear River stream flow, Utah, published in the Elsevier Journal of Hydrology, provides important information regarding the eastern Great Basin’s most significant water source for agricultural, urban and wildlife purposes. More »

Rocky Mountain Research Station Director retiring
Dr. George “Sam” Foster, station director for the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, is bidding farewell at the end of this year to the agency and colleagues whom he has shared his leadership, knowledge and passion for 23 of his 38-year career in natural resource science. More »

New research on resilience of sagebrush ecosystems used for improving sage-grouse habitat
New research from the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station on sagebrush ecosystems is being put to use to benefit Greater Sage-Grouse habitat on federal lands across the intermountain west. More »

Mountain pine beetle publication summarizes USFS research discussions
The USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station has published Future Forests Webinar Series, Webinar Proceedings and Summary: Ongoing Research and Management Responses to the Mountain Pine Beetle Outbreak. This publication summarizes a six-webinar dialog between scientists and land managers regarding the mountain pine beetle epidemic. More »

New Mexico’s forest health information now available
The public, forest managers, and scientists now have the most comprehensive inventory of forest health trends in New Mexico’s history. Through a successful partnership between the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station and the New Mexico State Forestry Division the results of a multi-year forest study are now available. More »

Mountain pine beetle synthesis and new research published in Forest Science Journal
Until now, anyone seeking information on the biology, ecology and management on the mountain pine beetle found the extensive body of scientific literature both challenging and time consuming. A team of USDA Forest Service Research and Development Scientists – the Western Bark Beetle Research Group, has greatly facilitated this process with the publication of a series of synthesis papers and new research results in the June 2014 issue of Forest Science. More »

USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station hosts Manitou Experimental Forest 75th anniversary public open house
The Manitou Experimental Forest, one of 80 of the USDA Forest Service’s system of Experimental Forests across the nation, is commemorating its 75th anniversary with a public open house Saturday, May 17, from 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. The Rocky Mountain Research Station is hosting the event, which will take place at the MEF headquarters located at 232 County Road 79, just off Hwy 67 north of Woodland Park. More »

Free master class offered for FireWorks educational trunk
The USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station’s Fire Sciences Laboratory in Missoula, Mont. is offering its annual free “master class” on teaching with the FireWorks educational trunk on Thursday and Friday, June 19-20, at the Northern Rockies Training Center in Missoula. The class consists of two days of intense, entertaining, hands-on activities for teaching students about wildland fire behavior, ecology, management and activities related to traditional fire use by Native Americans. More »

Lessons from the 2013 northern Colorado flood: Past, present, and future
The USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station and the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests have teamed together to produce a science bulletin on the 2013 northern Colorado flood. The Bulletin notes how the Research Station and National Forests are working together to inform recovery efforts and provide information on what to expect into the future. More »

Synthesis of wildland fire emissions, carbon, and climate research
Scientific research that describes the current state of knowledge, critical knowledge gaps, and importance of fire emissions for global climate and terrestrial carbon cycling is the focus of nine science syntheses published in a special issue in the Forest Ecology and Management (FORECO) Journal titled, Wildland Fire Emissions, Carbon, and Climate: Science Overview and Knowledge Needs. More »

Scientists discover new fish species, the Cedar Sculpin
Following genetic surveys of fishes in the upper Columbia River basin, scientists from the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station suspected the presence of several undescribed species of sculpins. These suspicions were confirmed after conducting morphological studies and genetic tests. More »

Forest Service Scientist Earns Prestigious Presidential Award
Forest Service scientist Justin Runyon is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. More »

Precipitation Declines in Pacific Northwest Mountains
Recent Forest Service studies on high-elevation climate trends in the Pacific Northwest United States show that streamflow declines tie directly to decreases and changes in winter winds that bring precipitation across the region. Scientists believe the driving factors behind this finding relates to natural climate variations and man-made climate change. More »

Studies Reflect How Homeowners View Wildfire Risk Over Time
The need for homeowners to mitigate wildfire risk on private land is essential to reducing the devastating effects of wildfires. Scientists can now provide some insight into changes in homeowner attitudes and beliefs about wildfire, and their concerns about existing risk and behavioral changes over time. More »

Origin of eucalyptus rust disease in Brazil leads to international implications
For the past century, scientists have widely accepted the hypothesis that a rust disease found on guava jumped from guava to eucalyptus trees imported into Brazil in the early 1900s. A new study refutes this hypothesis with definitive proof that the rust disease on eucalypt did not originate from guava. More »

New report outlines science for improved management of forest ecosystems
Providing a science-based framework for restoring frequent-fire forested ecosystems in the Southwest is the objective of a newly published report, a multi-year collaborative effort between the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station and Southwestern Region, and the Northern Arizona University. More »

Developing climate change vulnerability assessments – a new starting point
Climate change is emerging as a dominant challenge for natural resource managers and decision-makers throughout the United States and especially in the Southwest as they strive to integrate climate change into current and future management plans. Agencies and conservation groups are calling for “climate change vulnerability assessments” that evaluate how animals, vegetation and ecosystems respond to changing climates and conditions. More »

Federal Wilderness Agencies Celebrate 20th Anniversary at UM
To commemorate their 20th anniversary, the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute and the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center will host a celebration on The University of Montana’s Oval. More »

Climate Change Affecting Animal Species Living Along the Rio Grande
Predicted changes in temperatures and precipitation regimes that lead to reduced water levels and vegetation changes in the Middle Rio Grande Bosque will likely impact the area’s animal species over time. This key finding and others related to impacts of climate change were recently released in a study titled Vulnerability of species to climate change in the Southwest: terrestrial species of the Middle Rio Grande. More »

Scientist Honored for Leadership in Rare Plant Management
USFS scientist Susan Meyer recently received the Agency’s Excellence in Rare Plant Management Award for outstanding, dedicated leadership in rare plant management. Her career-long interest in the ecology and management of rare plants led her down the path in making significant advances in the protection and conservation of two rare plant species. More »

Scientist Honored with Forest Service Awards
USFS scientist Nancy Shaw was recently honored with the Agency’s Asa Gray Career Achievement Award in Botany. This award recognizes a Forest Service employee who, throughout their career, has demonstrated dedicated leadership, excellence in natural resource management, and outstanding commitment to working with other agencies, states, Native American Tribes, non-governmental organizations and volunteers in the field of botany. More »

World-renown Raptor Researcher Receives International Award
USFS scientist Richard Reynolds has been honored with the Raptor Research Foundation’s 2012 Fran and Frederick Hamerstrom Award. Reynolds is noted for his 45 years of research on forest birds of prey, including the northern goshawk, flammulated owl, spotted owl and others. The award especially recognizes his work with forest management agencies to improve habitat for the goshawk and the many plant and animal species in its food web. More »

Standardized soil monitoring protocol available in Spanish
Healthy forests depend on productive soils and sustaining their productivity requires a sound soil disturbance monitoring protocol. A team of USFS scientists met this challenge when they developed and published the Soil Disturbance Monitoring Protocol, and it is now available in Spanish. More »

New report on U.S. rangelands assesses future impacts of energy development, climate change, and invasive species
A new US Forest Service report finds that US rangelands are currently in relatively good ecological condition. Yet invasive species continue to pose a threat to many ecosystems. The 16 most pervasive species affect 126 million acres and are expanding at a rate of up to 4000 acres per day. More »

Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute Welcomes New Director
The US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station is pleased to announce Susan Fox as the new Director for the multi-agency Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute located on the University of Montana campus in Missoula, Mont. More »

Looking Back in Time at Utah’s Climate
A decade of collecting tens of thousands of tree ring samples from throughout the western United States is providing USDA Forest Service and Utah State University researchers with new data and a promising new way to reconstruct Utah’s past climate change patterns. More »

New report finds Western states most vulnerable to water shortages
A new U.S. Forest Service report predicts that most of the Southwest, parts of California and the southern and central Great Plains will be the most vulnerable areas in the nation to water shortages during the next 60 years. More »

Software for Fighting Wildfires Wins Award
The development and application of the Wildland Fire Decision and Support System, has been selected for the 2013 Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer by the Federal Laboratory Consortium. This annual award recognizes federal laboratory employees who have accomplished outstanding work in the process of transferring technology. More »

Free master class offered for FireWorks educational trunk
The USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station’s Fire Sciences Laboratory in Missoula, Mont. is offering its annual free “master class” on teaching with the FireWorks educational trunk on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22-23, at the Northern Rockies Training Center in Missoula. The class consists of two days of intense, entertaining, hands-on activities teaching about wildland fire behavior, ecology, and management. The curriculum has activities for every age group. More »

Understanding the effects of a changing climate on native trout in the Rockies
Record setting drought and temperatures like those experienced in 2012 may become the “new normal” that managers of aquatic resources in the Rocky Mountains have to contend with as the century progresses. Exploring the historical patterns and potential consequences of a changing climate on native trout habitats and populations to feed into better risk management assessments is the focus of a new study. More »

Scientists synthesize best practices for fuels management in dry mixed conifer forests
USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station scientists along with collaborators from Humboldt State University, the University of Montana, and the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, synthesized a vast array of information on the ecology, management strategies, and effectiveness of fuel treatments within the dry mixed conifer forests of the northwestern United States. More »

New publication assesses trends in the nation’s fish and aquatic resources
The importance of healthy aquatic ecosystems pertains to everyone as it affects the ecological and economic benefits to society from safe drinking water to healthy and abundant fish populations that provide food for consumers and sustain recreational opportunities for anglers. A newly released report by the U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station focuses on assessing the trends in the health of these ecosystems. More »

Climate Change in Grasslands, Shrublands, and Deserts of the Interior American West: A Review and Needs Assessment
The Rocky Mountain Research Station published a comprehensive report summarizing climate change research and potential effects on grassland, shrub, and desert ecosystems. The report, “Climate Change in Grasslands, Shrublands, and Deserts of the Interior American West: A Review and Needs Assessment,” highlights current knowledge and future research essential to mitigate the prospective detrimental effects of climate change. It addresses animal, plant, and invasive species models and responses, vulnerabilities and genetic adaption, animal species and habitats, and decision support tools for restoration and land management. More »

High-tech Tool Predicts Fire Behavior in Bark Beetle-ravaged Forests
Fire fighters facing fast-moving wildfires need better tools to predict erratic fire behavior A high-tech computer model called HIGRAD/FIRETEC, a collaborative effort between US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station and Los Alamos National Laboratory, provides insights that are essential for front-line fire fighters. More »

Attention: Reporters, Editors, and Science Writers
What does RMRS offer reporters and science writers? In a word: access - to scientists and their research. RMRS has a staff of personable, well-spoken researchers who enjoy sharing their discoveries. More »

Assessment on the Fourmile Canyon Fire completed and available online.
One of the key findings of the Fourmile Canyon Fire assessment, released in final form today, is that homeowners' actions are the most important factor in protecting their homes from a wildfire. More »

'Wings Across the Americas' National Research and Partnership Award Honors Rocky Mountain Research Station Team's Work on Neotropical Migratory Birds
A 10-year collaborative partnership that coalesced around the relationships between Neotropical migratory birds, their habitats, increasing fires, and the spread of exotic woody species in riparian ecosystems of the southwestern United States brought national recognition to Dr. Deborah Finch of the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station and her multi-organizational team. The team’s project, “Bird Responses to Invasive Species, Fire and Fuel Removal in Vulnerable Southwestern Ecosystems,” was recognized with the “National Research and Partnership Award” from the Wings Across the Americas program. More »

Relationships between moisture, chemistry, and ignition of Pinus contorta needles during the early stages of mountain pine beetle attack
The international Elsevier Forest Ecology and Management Journal recently published this study, written by the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station research ecologist Dr. W. Matt Jolly in collaboration with seven RMRS co-authors. It focuses on the foliage characteristics and flammability of lodgepole pine needles during the early stages of a mountain pine beetle attack. More »

Rocky Mountain Research Station Scientist Named Outstanding Associate Editor
Robert E. (Bob) Keane, a research ecologist with the Rocky Mountain Research Station’s Fire Sciences Laboratory in Missoula, MT., serves as one of 49 associate editors from around the world for the International Journal of Wildland Fire. The IJWF recently recognized Keane with its first annual Outstanding Associate Editor Award for 2010. More »

U.S. Forest Service Researcher honored with National Outdoor Leadership School's Stewardship Award
U.S. Forest Service Research Geographer David Cole was recently presented with the National Outdoor Leadership School's (NOLS) Stewardship Award, presented annually to "an individual who has exhibited exceptional stewardship of public lands and the environment." More »

Colorado Governor recognizes RMRS/CSU research
Dr. Tom Brown of RMRS and his CSU team, Dr. Jorge Ramirez and Dr. Romano Foti, received recognition by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper as Designated Finalists in CO-LABS 2011 Governor’s Award for High Impact Research awards for their research, “Quantifying the Current and Future Vulnerability of the United States Water Supply System.” More »

Experimental forests home to Southwest Experimental Garden Array
Two USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station experimental forests in Arizona, Fort Valley and Long Valley, have been included as sites for a network of 10 research gardens across northern Arizona as part of the Southwest Experimental Garden Array. More »

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Phone: 970-498-1370