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Wildfire and invasive species in the west: challenges that hinder current and future management and protection of the sagebrush-steppe ecosystem: a Gap Report

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Abstract

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) to satisfy the 45-day report requirement identified in Cooperative Agreement (F13AC00353) between WAFWA and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) submit this “Gap Report”. This report summarizes the policy, fiscal and science challenges that land managers encounter related to the control and reduction of the invasive plant/fire complex, especially as it relates to the threaten or endangered species listing status of the Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus).

While this Gap Report identifies 22 technical, policy, planning and funding gaps, it should be considered a “work in-progress”. To address this effort a Wildfire/Invasive Initiative Work Group (WG) was formed. The WG consist of nationally recognized experts in fire ecology, Sage-grouse ecology and management, range management and plant ecology. The WG developed this Gap Report and will be developing the final report for this Cooperative Agreement. Thus, as the WG evaluates the wildfire/invasive issue and makes recommendation to address scientific and management shortcomings, additional gaps will be identified and included in the final report. Within this report, the WG has suggested the top 5 gaps. However, the actual priority of what should be addressed first will depend on the significance and sequence of the limiting factor, available funding, current work, roles and responsibilities of the specific agencies, etc.

The WG will continue to meet on a regular basis to further develop and expand this list of gaps. Additionally, the WG will offer specific options to address the identified gaps. However, the WG recommends that the FWS, possibly through the State/Federal (Western Governors Association) Sage Grouse Task Force or the National Sage-grouse Executive Oversight Committee, establish a Subcommittee to specifically review this Gap Report and develop a multi-agency approach on how to address each gap. The WG will continue to endeavor to establish a priority list and identify the “low hanging fruit” that can be addressed in the short-term to affect the listing decision. Additionally, the WG will propose a longer-term strategy. However, to successfully establish such a strategy it will take buy-in and commitment at the highest levels in federal and state governments.

In an effort to provide managers an opportunity to address the most important issues this coming fiscal year, we offer the following top 5 gaps. Beyond these top 5, the WG has identified 17 additional gaps that should be evaluated by both federal and state agencies as a means to help better manage the wildfire/invasive threat in the west.

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Organization Series
Title Wildfire and invasive species in the west: challenges that hinder current and future management and protection of the sagebrush-steppe ecosystem: a Gap Report
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
Publisher location Cheyenne, WY
Contributing office(s) Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
Description ii, 8 p.
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N