Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Our Juniper Story is Told

Click here to watch this excellent video about western juniper and featuring SRM members Doc and Connie Hatfield, Dr. John Buckhouse, Tim Deboodt, Michael Fisher and Hugh Barrett

Guest Post by Hugh Barrett, SRM Pacific Northwest Section 

Following a friend’s communication with Oregon Public Broadcasting inquiring about their interest in doing a program on western juniper in Oregon, I received a call from Vince Patton, Producer of Oregon Field Guide – OPB’s popular weekly outdoor program. He told me that during his trips to eastern Oregon he’d always wondered why “ranchers were cutting all that juniper”. As we talked, Vince seemed increasingly interested in producing a segment for the program.  Subsequently, I sent an email to Vince that contained links to several publications on western juniper and the names and contact information for several scientists, ranchers and others who also are deeply involved in the juniper issue.

During several phone conversations I had with Vince over the next few months, I laid out the story of juniper in the inter-mountain environment. His interest grew as I described the steps and mis-steps leading to the rapid expansion of juniper’s range; its impacts on the sagebrush biome; and, its influence on watershed function and western aridity. On a windy mixed rain-and-snow afternoon about three months after our original phone conversation, we met in Doc and Connie Hatfield’s living room at their High Desert Ranch near Brothers, Oregon. Fortifying ourselves against the cold with bowls of hot chili and warm corn bread, we planned the process for the next two days filming.

That’s how it all came together. I hope the program speaks for itself.

 Click here to watch the video

50 acre juniper control/watershed repair project in Klamath County, Oregon (before treatment)

Project area in 2007 after treatment conducted in 2006.  Broadcast seeding with "Whitmar" bluebunch wheatgrass, antelope bitterbrush, basin wildrye (in swales and drainages) and big sagebrush.  Cut trees were skidded off the hillside (for use as firewood and lumber).  Anticipated hydrologic response: 15 acre feet per year of water retained.

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