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Assessments

Projects

The researchers are completing a series of riparian and groundwater-dependent ecosystem assessments for National Forests in the USFS Intermountain Region. Each assessment summarizes drivers, stressors, and current condition of these systems in relation to the natural range of variation within each forest. The reports directly inform the assessment phase of forest plan revision and continue to be produced on a schedule in line with the Region’s forest planning process.
Forest canopies exert a physical influence on the partitioning of precipitation into runoff versus evapotranspiration through several hydrologic processes. This project seeks to illuminate the ways that forest dynamics and disturbance affect hydrologic processes and availability of water for ecosystems and for people.  
This project incorporates historical data collected at the Sierra Ancha Experimental Forest nearly 100 years ago to determine how plant communities have changed over that period of time.
The Sierra Ancha Experimental Forest (SAEF) Vegetation Mapping Project uses unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to create highly detailed vegetation maps using Structure From Motion technology.  These maps are then used to overlay historical vegetation maps made nearly 100 years ago to determine how vegetation has changed over the last century.
The research objective is to develop western white pine management strategies focused on regeneration establishment and young forest development by 1) developing canopy opening size thresholds where western white pine can establish and grow, 2) developing alternative tending methods to enable managers to continue to manage western white pine plantations, 3) evaluating plantation resilience to wildfire, and 4) evaluating understory plant diversity under 30-year or older western white pine plantations.  
Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) is an ecologically important species in high-altitude areas of the West due to the habitat and food source it provides for Clark’s nutcrackers, red squirrels, grizzly bears, and other animals. Whitebark pine stands have recently experienced high mortality due to wildfire, white pine blister rust, and a mountain pine beetle outbreak, leading to questions about the species’ long-term viability. This project seeks to quantify the current distribution and regeneration status of whitebark pine throughout its US range.
The website provides: 1) A large list of supporting science behind eDNA sampling. 2) The recommended field protocol for eDNA sampling and the equipment loan program administered by the NGC. 3) A systematically-spaced sampling grid for all flowing waters of the U.S. in a downloadable format that includes unique database identifiers and geographic coordinates for all sampling sites. Available for download in an Geodatabase or available by ArcGIS Online map. This sampling grid can be used to determine your field collection sites to contribute. 4) The lab results of eDNA sampling at those sites where project partners have agreed to share data.
The National Forest Climate Change Maps project was developed to meet the need of National Forest managers for information on projected climate changes at a scale relevant to decision making processes, including Forest Plans.  The maps use state-of-the-art science and are available for every National Forest in the contiguous United States with relevant data coverage. Currently, the map sets include variables related to precipitation, air temperature, snow (including April 1 snow-water equivalent (SWE) and snow residence time), and stream flow.
Knowing how environments might influence the degree and location of hybridization between these species represents a potentially powerful tool for managers. To address that need, we modeled how hybridization between westslope cutthroat trout and rainbow trout is influenced by stream characteristics that favor each species. On the Cutthroat trout-rainbow trout hybridization website, we describe that model, and provide high-resolution digital maps in user-friendly formats of the predictions of different levels of hybridization across the native range of westslope cutthroat trout in the Northern Rocky Mountains, representing both current conditions and those associated with warmer stream temperatures. Our goal is to help decision-makers gauge the potential for hybridization between cutthroat trout and rainbow trout when considering management strategies for conserving cutthroat trout.
The Southern Rockies Rust Resistance Trial (SRRRT) was initiated in 2013 to verify the stability of genetic resistance to white pine blister rust identified during artificial screening tests for limber and Rocky Mountain bristlecone pines conducted in collaboration with Dorena Genetic Resource Center (Cottage Grove, OR). Over 700 seedlings were outplanted in the fall 2013 and another 700 seedlings in spring 2014. White pine blister rust is common in the forests in and around the SRRRT site providing a natural source of inoculum to the seedlings. The seedlings will be periodically assessed for signs and symptoms of white pine blister rust over the next 10 years – disease symptoms were first noted in 2016.

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