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Assessing the effectiveness of cattle exclosures on spring ecosystems in Escalante

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Lauryn Crabtree

Springs are endangered ecosystems providing water and life to over 80% of plants and wildlife on the Colorado Plateau. The Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service implement the use of fencing called exclosures to exclude livestock from spring sites on the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in effort to restore these ecosystems from years of grazing and damage. The purpose of this study is to determine if livestock exclosures are effective in protecting and restoring previously grazed spring ecosystems. In the summer of 2021, 56 springs contained within the Escalante Watershed in the GSENM were surveyed to document and observe livestock impacts on exclosed and unexclosed springs. I analyzed these data by comparing the erosion, nonnative plant abundance, and percentage of grazing of sites with exclosures to springs without exclosures, and in areas where livestock cannot graze. My results show that exclosed springs were able to have low levels of erosion, but that nonnative plant populations and grazing percentages were comparable to areas still actively being disturbed by cattle. These results suggest that additional management strategies need to be implemented in order to restore damaged springs back to their natural, undisturbed status. Additional pdf: 130349868_ucr
University / Institution: Brigham Young University
Type: Oral
Format: In Person
SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)
Area of Research: Science & Technology
Faculty Mentor: Richard Gill
Location: Alumni House, SORENSON ROOM (10:00am)