U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
 
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APPENDIX C(a) - VEGETATION GUIDELINES
 
The Nevada Northeastern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council (RAC), as chartered by the Department of the Interior, has developed Guidelines for Vegetation Management on about 16.2 million acres of public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management within the designated geographic area of the Northeastern Great Basin within the State of Nevada. 
These Vegetation Management Guidelines are intended to serve as a supplement to the Standards and Guidelines for Rangeland Health which were adopted in 1997 and later expanded to include Wild Horse and Burro Standards and Guidelines in 2000.  These recommended Standards and Guidelines reflect the stated goal of improving rangeland health in the Northeastern Great Basin.

NON-INDIGENOUS ANNUAL GRASSLANDS
DEFINITIONS:

Cheatgrass/Annual Grass Monoculture: Areas dominated by cheatgrass or other non-indigenous annual grass species that have crossed a threshold and lost the ability to recover naturally due to lack of perennial species.
 
Cheatgrass/Annual Grass Dominant: Recently burned areas having native perennial species present with potential for natural recovery with appropriate management of non-indigenous annual grasses.
 
Cheatgrass/Annual Grass Infested: Shrub dominated communities with a limited understory of native perennial species, but a significant amount of annual grasses, exhibiting a high potential to be converted to non-indigenous annual grass dominated ranges.
 
Desired Conditions: Communities will exhibit or be progressing toward a healthy, productive, diverse population of native and or desirable plant species, and functioning disturbance processes appropriate to the site characteristics.
 
Guidelines Common to All:
1)  Encourage research and field trials in all non-indigenous annual grass ranges to determine effectiveness of control on recovery and rehabilitation efforts in perennial plant communities.
2) Non-indigenous annual grass monoculture and dominated ranges must follow a successional process from annual/perennial grass mix to a shrub/grass community. Large scale seeding of shrubs should be discouraged, and small scale (islands), of intensively managed shrub seedings/transplants encouraged.

Guidelines for Cheatgrass/Annual Monoculture:
1) Break up the monoculture through the use of chemical, biological, and/or mechanical means to stop the spread of the effected area especially in areas that border critical habitat.  Use native and non-native desirable species known to be fire tolerant and resistant during the late summer fire season.
2) Use the best available information to determine the most effective processes to break up the monoculture, reduce the cheatgrass seed bank, and restore native plant communities.

Guidelines for Cheatgrass Dominant and Cheatgrass infested ranges:
1) Encourage innovative approaches to control cheatgrass, such as, strategically controlled grazing and the use of prescribed fire to favor  production of perennial species. 
2) Seed areas with perennial grass species to reduce the dominance of cheatgrass.
 
Strategies:
1) Management practices to maintain healthy ecological sites should include: prescribed fire, prescribed natural fire, mechanical manipulations, specialized prescription herbivory, chemical treatments, re-seeding, or combinations of treatments.
2) Special emphasis must be placed on management activities where public safety at wildland-urban interfaces is jeopardized. 
 
SALT DESERT SHRUBLANDS
DEFINITION: Plant communities dominated by members of the Chenopodiaceae  family including: shadscale, four-wing saltbush, black and Bailey greasewoods, spiny hopsage, and white sage; with an understory including ricegrass, squirreltail, saltgrass, and other saline tolerant species.
Desired Conditions: Communities will exhibit or be progressing toward a healthy, productive, diverse population of native and or desirable plant species, and functioning disturbance processes appropriate to the site characteristics.
 
Guidelines:
1) Grazing should generally be limited to very early season or dormant season rather than year round. If very early season grazing is permitted or prescribed to control cheatgrass early in the spring, grazing should be terminated early enough to allow perennial plant species to set seed.
2) After disturbance such as fire, insect infestation, and periods of less than desirable grazing management, consider resting communities for an appropriate amount of time relative to moisture conditions.   
3) All management and revegetation strategies must consider current site conditions and associated thresholds (i.e., current status in state-and-transition model appropriate for the site). In addition, factors such as ecological site, presence of undesirable species (e.g., invasive or noxious species), adjacent plant communities, current use or management status, and position in the watershed must be considered prior treatment application.
 4) Encourage research and field trials in salt desert shrub communities to determine the best effective methods of restoration.
 
Strategies:
1) Management practices to maintain healthy ecological sites should include: prescribed fire, prescribed natural fire, mechanical manipulations, specialized prescription herbivory, chemical treatments, re-seeding, or combinations of treatments.
2) Special emphasis must be placed on management activities where public safety at wildland-urban interfaces is jeopardized. 
 
SAGEBRUSH/BUNCHGRASS RANGELANDS
DEFINITIONS: Plant communities dominated by one or more members of the Artemisia genus including Wyoming big sagebrush, low sagebrush, basin sagebrush, black sagebrush, Lahontan sagebrush, and mountain sagebrush. Herbaceous understory is dominated by perennial grasses but includes a component of annual and perennial forbs. Other shrubs may also be present.
Desired Conditions: Communities will exhibit or be progressing toward a healthy, productive, diverse population of native and or desirable plant species, and functioning disturbance processes appropriate to the site characteristics.
 
Guidelines: 
1) Create and maintain a diversity of sagebrush age and cover classes on the landscape through the use of prescribed fire, prescribed natural fire, mechanical, biological, and/or chemical means to provide a variety of habitats and productivity conditions. 
2) Vegetation treatments should be of appropriate size to meet land management objectives. Where possible, inclusions of intact sagebrush should be left scattered within the treated area or in relatively close proximity to provide a seed source for recruitment. Distribution of residual plants will determine in part, the time period required for the successional process to proceed toward sagebrush recolonization.
3) All treatments must consider current site conditions and associated thresholds (i.e., current status in state-and-transition model appropriate for the site). In addition, factors such as ecological site, presence of undesirable species (e.g., invasive or noxious species), adjacent plant communities, current use or management status, and position in the watershed must be considered prior to treatment application. 
4) Where initial condition has a depleted herbaceous understory, vegetation treatment should include seeding with desirable species suited or adapted to site conditions. Seeding methods and dates should be appropriate to the plant materials and site conditions.
5) Where a mosaic of age and cover classes already exists, maintain landscape diversity through fuels management and periodic disturbance. Recognize the system is dynamic, and suitability of the plant community for any given specie or group of species will change over time. Maintenance of diverse habitat conditions will provide a continuous suite of seasonal habitats over time.
6) Where pinyon pine and/or juniper trees have encroached into sagebrush communities, use best management practices to remove trees and re-establish understory species.
 
Strategies:
1) Management practices to maintain healthy ecological sites should include:  prescribed fire, prescribed natural fire, mechanical manipulations, specialized prescription herbivory, chemical treatments, re-seeding, or combinations of treatments.
2) Special emphasis must be placed on management activities where public safety at wildland-urban interfaces is jeopardized. 
 
NOXIOUS WEEDS
DEFINITIONS:
Noxious weed monoculture: Areas that have lost the ability to recover naturally due to lack of native perennial species.
Noxious weed dominant: Areas having native perennial species present with potential for natural recovery if noxious weeds are controlled.
Noxious weed infested: Plant communities with a limited understory of perennial species and a high potential to be converted to noxious weed dominant.
 
Desired Conditions: Communities will exhibit or be progressing toward a healthy, productive, diverse population of native and or desirable plant species, and functioning disturbance processes appropriate to the site characteristics.
 
Guidelines Common to All:
1) Encourage research and field trials in all noxious weed rangelands to determine effectiveness of noxious weed control in the recovery process of restoring perennial plant communities.
2) Noxious weed monoculture and noxious weed dominant ranges must follow a successional process from grass/grass mix to a shrub community. Use best management practices to return site to best approximation of site potential.
 
Guidelines for Noxious Weed Monoculture:
1) Break up monoculture using an Integrated Weed Management approach that combines chemical, biological, and/or mechanical means to reduce spread of affected area, especially in areas that border critical habitat or other sensitive sites. Treatment regime should be based on ecology and phenology of the noxious species.
2) Use best available information to determine the most effective process to break up continuity and rehabilitate native plant communities, recognizing that beneficial, introduced species may provide excellent interim benefits.
 
Guidelines for Noxious Weed Dominant and Infested Rangelands:
1) Encourage practices to eliminate new noxious species entry and limit current infestations to existing levels.
2) Utilize an Integrated Weed Management approach, that consists of chemical, biological, and/or mechanical means to control noxious species.
3) Encourage innovative approaches to control noxious species, such as strategically controlled grazing and use of prescribed and prescribed natural fire to favor production of native perennial species.
4) Seed areas with perennial species to reduce dominance of noxious species.
 
PINYON-JUNIPER WOODLANDS
Definition: Plant communities dominated by one or both species of Utah juniper and/or single leaf pinyon pine. Pinyon pine generally dominates at higher and juniper at lower elevations. Herbaceous understory is dominated by perennial grasses but includes a component of annual and perennial forbs. Shrubs may also be present. In the past, woodlands were generally restricted to sites with very low fire frequency such as rocky ridges and steep slopes with little soil development.
 
Desired Conditions: Woodland communities will exhibit or be progressing toward a healthy, productive, diverse population of native and or desirable plant species, and functioning disturbance processes appropriate to the site characteristics. Healthy, sustainable pinyon and juniper woodlands will be maintained on appropriate soil types as identified by Natural Resource Conservation Service soil surveys within appropriate Major Land Resource Areas (MLRAs). 
 
Guidelines:
1) Woodlands will exhibit a combination of successional stages based on differing pinyon and juniper species composition, age structure, and understory composition appropriate to site characteristics on a watershed, or portion of a watershed.
2) Woodlands will be separated from other ecological sites by an ecotone interface zone, rather than a well-defined edge. Woodlands should not encroach outside of soil sites correlated with woodland communities.
3) Woodland stand structure should not, under normal conditions support catastrophic, stand replacing fires. Community species composition and proportionalities should follow Natural Resource Conservation guidelines appropriate to the site.
 4) All management and revegetation strategies must consider current site conditions and associated thresholds (i.e., current status in state-and-transition model appropriate for the site). In addition, factors such as ecological site, presence of undesirable species (e.g., invasive or noxious species), adjacent plant communities, current use or management status, and position in the watershed must be considered prior treatment application.
 
Strategies:
 1) Management practices to maintain healthy woodlands should include: prescribed fire, prescribed natural fire, mechanical manipulations, specialized prescription herbivory, chemical treatments, or combinations of treatments.
 2) Special emphasis must be placed on management activities where public safety at wildland-urban interfaces is jeopardized. 
 
REHABILITATION AND REVEGETATION STRATEGIES
Re-vegetation includes natural recovery as well as direct management actions.
General Guidelines for Rehabilitation and Revegetation:
 1) On burned areas, allow natural regeneration when it is determined that populations of native perennial grasses, forbs, and shrubs are sufficient to re-vegetate the site.
 2) Where appropriate, rest rehabilitated and naturally regenerating areas to allow recovery and establishment of perennial plant species based upon objectives and ecological site potential.
 3) Determine to what extent re-vegetation success may be site specific and may depend on soil moisture, rainfall, elevation, soil type, slope, aspect, previous vegetative community (ie. native vegetation or cheatgrass prior to a fire), type of seeding, aerial vs. drill seeding etc., seed mixtures, and post seeding management.
 4) Use native plant species for rehabilitation except where native species are not available in sufficient quantities; native plant species cannot maintain or achieve the standard; or non-native plant species provide for enhanced protection of native habitats or soil resources.
 5) To the extent possible, obtain seeds that are: 1) source identified; or commercial varieties; and meet agency standards.
  Note: In emergency situations and with agency approval, seeds may be obtained with lower standards to meet rehabilitation requirements.
 6) Establish protocols for pre- and post rehabilitation/restoration monitoring to assist in future evaluation methods.  Assemble a team to evaluate multi-district historical data on restoration/rehabilitation projects.
 
Strategies:
 1) On burned areas greater than 1,000 acres, limit sagebrush seeding to no more than 10-20% of the burned area, distributed over no less than 5 locations within the burned area.
 2) Enhance sagebrush and other shrub species germination and establishment by utilizing available and appropriate water conservation strategies (e.g., snow fence, surface imprinting, and mulching.
 3) On older, large burned areas where previous sagebrush establishment efforts were unsuccessful, interseed sagebrush on areas where perennial grasses have established. Limit seeding to no more than 20% of the area, distributed over no less than 5 locations within the area.
 4) Rehabilitation of perennial, introduced grass seedings (e.g., crested wheatgrass) should include grazing treatments at appropriate levels to reduce abundance and competition potential. Reductions can be followed by interseeding with sagebrush as well as native grasses and forbs. Encourage early season grazing and removal to promote seed production and increase native species.
 5) Rehabilitation of decadent sagebrush communities should be promoted by using appropriate tools to reduce sagebrush, followed by direct seeding operations. Scale should be appropriate to management objectives.
 6) Rehabilitation of pinyon-juniper encroached sagebrush communities should be promoted using appropriate tools to reduce trees, followed by direct seeding operations. Scale should be appropriate to management objectives.
 
MINED-LAND REVEGETATION GUIDELINES FOR THE NEVADA DIVISION OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, THE BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT AND THE U.S.D.A. FOREST SERVICE
Reclaimed Desired Plant Communities for Mining Operation Disturbances   
Reclamation goals for mining disturbances are 1) stabilize the site, and 2) establish a productive community based on the applicable land use plan and designated post-mining land uses. To meet these goals, a Reclaimed Desired Plant Community (RDPC) should be selected for use on the disturbed mine sites. A RDPC is defined as: A perennial plant community established on a disturbed site which contributes to stability through management and land treatment, and which produces that type and amount of vegetation necessary to meet or exceed both the land use and activity plan objective established for the site.
Several RDPCs may be selected based on site-specific revegetation goals and variable site characteristics for the mining disturbances. When selecting RDPCs, major alterations in reconstructed soils and the subsequent effect of this on the site's capability to establish and sustain the desired vegetation must be considered. A RDPC must have a reasonable chance for success when making the selection.
The plant community for the RDPC should be diverse, and when appropriate for the site should include grasses, forbs, shrubs and/or trees. The RDPC shall be comprised of species native to the area, or introduced species where the need is documented for inclusion to achieve the approved post-mining land use. The RDPC must meet the requirements of applicable State and Federal seed, poisonous and noxious plants, and introduced species laws or regulations. All RDPCs must be approved by the agencies. Plants for RDPCs may be selected using one or more of the following methods:
 1. Select existing vegetation types around the mine site to represent the varied RDPCs.
 2. Use test plots, demonstration areas, or areas concurrently reclaimed within the mine site or within similar representative areas from adjacent mines to serve as the RDPCs as long as they meet the reclamation goal.
 3. For areas where existing vegetative types adjacent to the mine area are severely disturbed or where test plots or demonstration areas are not reasonable alternatives, RDPCs may be selected using appropriate ecological or range site descriptions or other technical sources. 
 
Guidelines for Successful Revegetation
The revegetation release criteria for reclaimed mine sites will be to achieve as close to 100 percent of the perennial plant cover of selected comparison areas as possible. The comparison or reference areas will be selected from representative plant communities adjacent to the mine site, test plots or demonstration areas or, as appropriate, representative ecological or range site descriptions. As approved by the agencies, the selected plant communities or reference areas must have a reasonable chance for success on the mine site. Each plan-of-operations shall identify the site-specific release criteria in the reclamation plan or permit. The agencies may also require specific release standards for individual plant species or vegetative types (grasses, forbs, shrubs, trees). Cover would be estimated using a method as described in Sampling Vegetation Attributes, Interagency Technical Reference, 1996, BLM/RS/ST-96/002+1730 or other acceptable technical methods. 

 

 
Last updated: 03-07-2007