Hello From Shoshone

I have been in the Shoshone, Idaho BLM field office for the past three weeks. This summer we are going to be conducting vegetation surveys for greater sage-grouse habitat in the Bennett Hills.


View From the Bennett Hills

View from the Bennett Hills

We are using Habitat Assessment Framework (HAF) Protocol to conduct our monitoring this summer. Earlier this week a group came down from the state office in Boise, ID to help train our office and the Jarbidge office on this protocol. The protocol focuses on sagebrush and forbes. Sagebrush provides important cover for the sage-grouse. They use different species overwintering and for nesting, so knowing which species dominate the site is very important. Forbs are an important food source for sage-grouse. They prefer forbes with milky-sap, so being able to identify the forb species present is important to understanding the quality of the habitat.

Sage-brush steppe

Sage-brush steppe

These past several weeks have been about preparing for field work. The first two weeks mostly involved training, including first aid and CPR training. We’ve also been spending the week getting to know the roads and plants in the area. Learning to get around the country on the BLM roads in very important. Some of the roads go through really rocky areas, and clearance underneath the truck can become a problem. The other day one of the range specialist in the office went through maps of the area and highlighted which roads are in good condition and pointed out areas to avoid.

We have gone out to a few of our survey sites with range specialists. Sites are generated randomly so they have to be checked to make sure they will work. Several of the sites have been underwater or in the middle of roads. The sites are then monumented so they can be returned to. Next week more members of our crew are coming and we will start monitoring our HAF sites! Stay tuned!

Nicki Gustafson

BLM Shoshone Field Office

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