Circle Cliffs Restoration
The Circle Cliffs Allotment contains 3,000 acres of range seedings in three pastures (Lampstand, Prospect, and Onion Beds) that have been prioritized by GSENM for rehabilitation as a result of widespread drought-induced plant mortality. Approximately 800 acres were drilled in Fall 2004. Approximately 1,500 acres were treated with a Dixie harrow and three different seed mixes in Fall 2005. These three mixtures will be used to evaluate the response of native and introduced species to seeding in the Circle Cliffs area. Three exclosures will be installed to monitor the response of the treatment with livestock grazing removed. Baseline monitoring for vegetation and soils has been initiated and will continue annually following project implementation. Success criteria and contingency plans have been developed to match the site potential and reference conditions. Partners include the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources and the allotment permittee.
The Monument is currently evaluating the response of different seed mixes when seeded into a disturbed site. The competitiveness of introduced species when included in a predominantly native mix will be studied as the project develops. The development of the site without grazing will also be studied through the use of grazing exclosures. A graduate student from Brigham Young University will be studying the colonization of the seedings by pollinators such as bees.
Future Research Needs:
- Role of introduced species such as crested wheatgrass on soil characteristics
- Development/recovery of soil crusts with different treatment types
- Long term seeding response in the absence of grazing
- Competitiveness of introduced species when paired with native species in seed mixtures