Monday, November 29, 2010

Interagency Rangeland ESD Pilot Workshop

The Interagency Rangeland Ecological Site Description (ESD) Pilot Workshop was held November 16 - 18, 2010 in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  The workshop was a huge success with over 85 participants and three full days of excellent presentations and valuable discussions.  The Pilot Workshop convened technical leadership from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Bureau of Land Management, and US Forest Service, and was held at the Agricultural Research Service Jornada Experimental Range.

One primary objective of this workshop was to generate interest and support for a continuing interagency collaborative approach in the employment and utility of ESDs as well as for subsequent field-level training workshops. SRM is pleased to be in a position to support these ground-breaking efforts and is committed to moving forward with end products from the Pilot Workshop and next steps.  SRM is particularly excited to be a major player in the development of subsequent field level training workshops targeted for late Spring/early Fall 2011.  These subsequent workshops are intended to embrace a much broader audience including the entire SRM membership as well as non-members. Instructors for these workshops will not be limited to federal employees, but will encompass the larger knowledge base from university scientists, private consultants and other interested parties. 

Workshop objectives were to:

  1. Provide an in-depth background on the fundamentals of ecological sites and descriptions.
  2. Increase the understanding of current and emerging policy and science on how to define ESD's and develop ESD projects.
  3. Explore collaborative applications of ESDs to decision-making across a variety of state-level (regional) scenarios.
  4. Scope preliminary plans for moving forward with agency implementation at the field level.

To meet these objectives, the Pilot Workshop included a variety of presentations on ESDs and the interagency approach to their development and use.  The middle of the workshop included an informative field tour, which was useful in linking the scientific concepts of ESDs to what ecological sites and different states might look like on the ground.  The workshop concluded with breakout sessions and an open mic session to discuss the challenges and opportunities of ESDs, and a synthesis of the workshop.

Click here to view the Pilot Workshop agenda and details.  Click here to visit the Jornada website for access to workshop presentations and materials, including PDF documents of PowerPoint presentations from the Pilot Workshop.  A special thank you to the sponsors of this Pilot Program and to all of those who were instrumental in moving this process forward.

Stay tuned for information on the subsequent training workshops.

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