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Stinkingwater Area Medusahead Management Plan

Year Awarded: FY 18
Proposed USDA Funding: $960,000
RCPP Funding Pool: State
Project Timeline: 4 years (2018 – 2022)
Location: Harney County, Oregon
Lead Partner: Harney Soil and Water Conservation District

Collaborating Partners

  • Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Harney County Weed Control
  • Malheur Watershed Council
  • Oregon Department of Agriculture
  • Harney County Cooperative Weed Management Area
  • Private farmers and ranchers

Project Summary

Medusahead rye (Taeniatherum caput-medusae) is an aggressive, winter annual grass which is adversely changing the ecology of Harney County rangelands.  As medusahead spreads, it out competes native grasses by depleting soil moisture well before perennial grasses have begun to grow.  It creates a dense layer of litter, and because of high silica content, the litter decomposes slower than that of other plants.  This litter changes the temperature and moisture dynamics of the soil, further suppressing native plant growth while encouraging the germination of its own seed.  After a few years, the litter creates an enormous fuel load that can lead to devastating wildfires.  Post-fire conditions allow for extensive monocultures of medusahead.

The forage production of Pastureland and Rangeland infested with medusahead can be reduced by up to 80%.  Wildlife habitat and biodiversity also suffer as other species, such as mule deer, chukar partridges, and sage grouse tend to avoid areas overrun with medusahead due to its limited feed value and digestibility, along with the potential injury from its awns and seeds.

The Stinkingwater Area Medusahead Management Plan project includes nearly 400,000 acres in northeastern Harney County, Oregon, which is known to have a rapidly expanding medusahead rye invasion. The partnership, led by the Harney County CWMA, has subdivided the project area into 5 phase areas to be inventoried and treated in a strategic and systematic manner. The partners will use Environmental Quality Incentives Program financial assistance to implement 3-year Integrated Pest Management plans on affected private lands in fiscal years 2018- 2022. These private lands treatments will be coordinated with work occurring on neighboring Bureau of Land Management and state lands within the project area to achieve landscape scale control and rehabilitation.
 

Stinkingwater RCPP Map



NRCS Financial Assistance Programs Used

Screening Questions

  1. Application is for Integrated Pest Management of Medusahead rye within the Phase 1 Beaver Table Unit of the Stinkingwater Medusahead Management Area.  Yes = High.  No = Proceed to Question 2.

  2. Application is for Integrated Pest Management of Medusahead rye within the Phase 2 Crane-Buchanan Unit of the Stinkingwater Medusahead Management Area.  Yes = Medium.  No = Low.

Ranking Criteria

Points

Application is for Integrated Pest Management of Medusahead rye within the Phase 1 Beaver Table Unit of the Stinkingwater Medusahead Management Area. 250
Application is for Integrated Pest Management of Medusahead rye within the Phase 2 Crane-Buchanan Unit of the Stinkingwater Medusahead Management Area. 50
A road intersects or passes within 50 feet of the medusahead infestation. 100

Answer Yes to one of the following, but not both.

  1. The medusahead infested area consists primarily of desirable perennial vegetation which is capable of natural recovery following treatment.
  2. The medusahead infested area includes monocultures of medusahead which will require range seeding to establish desirable perennial vegetation following treatment.

60

20

The management unit generally supports a healthy plant community with a minimum of 3 deep rooted perennial bunchgrasses per square meter. 40

Local Ranking Priority Breakdown:

0-69 Low, 70-250 Medium, 251-450 High

 

Conservation Practices Offered

  • Herbaceous Weed Control
  • Integrated Pest Management
  • Prescribed Grazing
  • Fence
  • Prescribed Burning
  • Range Planting
  • Access Control
  • Firebreak
  • Fuel Break
  • Spring Development
  • Water Well
  • Pumping Plant
  • Pipeline
  • Watering Facility

Points of Contact

Jim Campbell, Supervisor, Harney County Weed Control,
450 N. Buena Vista Ave.
Burns, OR 97720
Phone: 541-573-8385
 

NRCS Local Service Center Contact: Harney County

Medusahead landscape Monoculture stand - medusahead
Medusahead landscape view Medusahead - Monoculture Stand