BLM Library Science Spotlight

The Department of the Interior bases its decisions on the best available science (DOI Secretarial Order 3369). Bureau of Land Management employees actively participate in this process by regularly contributing new science to their  fields. This page features current science being published by BLM authors, or supported by BLM expertise and resources. 

Access to these articles is limited to BLM employees unless they are noted as Open Access.

Changes in an Exotic Fish Community Assemblage of a Thermal Spring in Central Idaho by Skyler Smith, Bart Gamett, Ryan Beatty (BLM), and Eric Billman. In Western North American Naturalist, 81(2), 181-190. July 2021.

Barney Hot Springs is a thermal spring in the headwaters of the Little Lost River drainage in central Idaho. Tropical fish have been released into Barney Hot Springs, and several species have established self-sustaining populations. The objectives of this study were to determine the current community assemblage of tropical fish in Barney Hot Springs and to assess species composition and extent of downstream distribution of tropical fish in Barney Creek. The composition in 2017 consisted of Amelanic Convict Cichlids Amatitlania nigrofasciata, Mozambique Tilapia Oreochromis mossambicus, Zebra Mbuna Maylandia zebra, and Green Swordtails Xiphophorus hellerii. Total abundance of all fish species was estimated at 12,043 fish (95% CI 9807–15,600), with Green Swordtails making up 68% of the population, Zebra Mbuna 20%, Convict Cichlids 9%, and Mozambique Tilapia 3%. In Barney Creek, fish were collected within 800 m of Barney Hot Springs. In March 2018, a rain-on-snow event occurred that resulted in a fish kill. In fall 2018 after this event, Convict Cichlids, Green Swordtails, and Goldfish Carassius auratus were collected. Overall abundance was estimated at 1972 fish (95% CI 1757–2227), with Green Swordtails and Goldfish each composing 50% of the population; no Convict Cichlids were recaptured, so abundance could not be estimated. In Barney Creek, fish were collected within 400 m of Barney Hot Springs. We documented current changes to the fish community assemblage of Barney Hot Springs and Barney Creek that were driven by colonization (i.e., introduction of aquarium fish) and by local extinction through species interactions and stochastic events. Currently, we do not know the impact that the introduced fish fauna of Barney Hot Springs may have on native species or ecosystem function. (Available to BLM employees)

Toward a Resilient Organization: Analysis of Employee Skills and Organization Adaptive Traits by Gyah P. Nyaupane, Girish Prayag, Josephine Godwyll, and Dave White. In Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 29(4), 658–77. April 2021.

The concept of resilience is complex, and research on what contributes to public sector organizational resilience outcomes and how to effectively model resilient organization is still in its infancy. The purpose of this study is to apply the Employee–Organization Relationship (E-O-R) framework to understand the relationship between employees' skillsets, organizational traits and organizational resilience. Data for this study was obtained from a survey of 312 employees of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the largest public land management agency in the US that plays a critical role in serving millions of tourists. The findings indicate that although employees perceived themselves as having skills that are adaptive, they had very low confidence in the organization's ability to adapt, thus perceiving the organization to have low resilience. Findings suggest that organizational traits such as safe/secure working environment, thinking beyond the status quo, including the right people in decisions, and effective long-term planning are perceived by employees as critical for organizational resilience. The findings also suggest that employees' perceived organizational resilience differs by generational cohorts. Theoretical and practical implications in building resilient public land/protected area management organizations are discussed. (Contact the BLM Library for access).

Vegetation Canopy Gap Size and Height: Critical Indicators for Wind Erosion Monitoring and Management by Nicholas P. Webb, Sarah E. McCord, Brandon L. Edwards, Jeffrey E. Herrick, Emily Kachergis (BLM), Gregory S. Okin, Justin W. Van Zee. In Rangeland Ecology and Management, 76(1), 78-83. April 2021.

Indicators of vegetation cover and structure are widely available for monitoring and managing rangeland wind erosion. Identifying which indicators are most appropriate for managers could improve wind erosion mitigation and restoration efforts. Vegetation cover directly protects the soil surface from erosive winds and reduces wind erosivity by extracting momentum from the air. The portion of the soil surface that is directly protected by vegetation is adequately described by fractional ground cover indicators. However, the aerodynamic sheltering effects of vegetation, which are more important for wind erosion than for water erosion, are not captured by these indicators. As wind erosion is a lateral process, the vertical structure and spatial distribution of vegetation are most important for controlling where, when, and how much wind erosion occurs on rangelands. These controlling factors can be described by indicators of the vegetation canopy gap size distribution and vegetation height, for which data are collected widely in the United States by standardized rangeland monitoring and assessment programs. In this paper we address why canopy gap size distribution and vegetation height are critical indicators of rangeland wind erosion and health. We review wind erosion processes to explain the physical role of these vegetation attributes. We then address the management implications including availability of data on the indicators on rangelands and needs to make the indicators and model estimates of wind erosion more accessible to the range management community. (Contact the BLM Library for access)


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