Program teaches about the physical functioning of riparian areas to effectively manage them for multiple uses
As the most biologically diverse and the most frequently overused component of Nevada rangelands, riparian areas have attracted a great deal of management attention. Different groups, such as ranchers, recreationalists and federal agencies, have varying uses for the areas, which leads to a considerable need for educating and focusing people on proper management to allow the continued diversity of uses while preserving the areas. Generally, if riparian areas function properly, all land users benefit, and this provides a great opportunity for teaching about riparian restoration, including enhancement of water quality, habitat for listed or important species, forage for livestock, and water for agriculture. Repeatedly, riparian management is identified as a top need in natural resource-oriented needs assessments, especially in northern Nevada.
Response/What’s Been Done
Nevada Creeks and Communities is an interagency and interdisciplinary program. The program team taught workshops and submitted proposals; wrote articles and publications; and worked with landowners, land users, and interest groups and agencies.
2017 activities include:
- Taught 77 students at three two-day Riparian Proper Functioning Condition Assessment for Integrated Riparian Management courses
- Taught 30 students at a three-day riparian grazing management class
- Worked with Environmental Protection Agency scientists from the Las Vegas Office of Research and Development on the use of riparian proper functioning condition assessments
- Worked on pond and plug meadow restoration projects
- Proposed using Riparian Multiple Indicator Monitoring to study the response of riparian areas after wildfire
- Worked with the Shoesole Holistic Management Team to add riparian proper functioning condition concepts to their land management work. Efforts extended to Stewardship Alliance of Northeast Elko
Results/Impact and Partners
This program and the Creeks and Communities Team have been teaching about maintaining healthy riparian areas for 19 years, with more than 85 formal classes being taught.
In 2017, there were three students of the Riparian Proper Functioning Condition Assessment for Integrated Riparian Management courses who had taken the courses before and were using the information. Of the 77 students who took the class, 51 rated the following questions on a scale of 1 (disagree) to 5 (agree). Average scores were:
- 4.67 for the workshop increased my knowledge of this topic
- 4.25 for this workshop was worth my time
- 4.01 for I plan to use information learned at this workshop
- 4.45 for I would recommend this workshop to others
In addition, as a result of Proper Functioning Condition classes in Nevada, the EPA has embraced Proper Functioning Condition as a fundamentally useful tool for improving water quality, taught Proper Functioning Condition to tribes in California and Arizona, and hosted regional Proper Functioning Condition classes in Las Vegas.
The work of the Shoesole Holistic Management Team and the work of Carol Evans, BLM Elko fish biologist and active Team member, have been highlighted by several national awards.
Proper Functioning Condition concepts are also being integrated into numerous EPA publications and outside publications with lead authorship by EPA personnel with whom Extension collaborates.
Partners included Bureau of Land Management, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Nevada Department of Wildlife, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Saval Ranch, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, Lincoln County Conservation District, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada, U.S. Forest Service, Newmont Mining, Nevada Cattlemen’s Association, Sawtooth National Forest, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Riparian Service, Shoesole Holistic Management Team, Carol Evans and Chris Ross.