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March 23, 2022

A compilation of spatial data products and synthesis resources has been released. These information transfer resources support land managers and scientists in locating, comparing, and selecting IAG maps.

Invasive annual grasses are a major threat to sagebrush rangelands, across the western United States. The sagebrush biome is an imperiled landscape that is being reduced, degraded, and fragmented due in part to the invasion of annual grasses. Three invasive annual grass species (cheatgrass [Bromus tectorum], medusahead [Taeniatherum caput-medusae], and Ventenata spp.) continue to spread across western sagebrush rangelands and increase risk and frequency of wildfire while converting native sagebrush into nonnative invasive grasslands. Communities, private landowners, and state and federal agencies need information to identify the current infestations and assess the risk of future invasion.

Many spatial datasets have been recently developed to describe where and how much invasive annual grasses have infested the sagebrush biome, and it can be difficult to keep pace with newly developed products. Maps can differ in subtle but important ways, influencing analyses and decisions to contain, combat, and monitor invasions. USGS Fort Collins Science Center and Colorado State University worked closely with multiple partners to design and develop information transfer resources that can assist in closing the research-implementation gap. The science team was supported by land managers, invasion and communication experts, and scientists from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the Intermountain West Joint Venture (IWJV). Together, they designed resources to minimize the time required to find, distill, and select spatial data for different purposes. The summaries created by this project include descriptions of available regional and large-landscape spatial datasets, with links to source data, and examples of the selecting datasets for different management challenges.

The compilation and synthesis of spatial data products highlight similarities and differences among products published in the last decade. The components include:

  1. Journal publication in Rangeland Ecology and Management: “Bridging the gap between spatial modeling and management of invasive annual grasses in the imperiled sagebrush biome
  1. User’s guide to selecting invasive annual grass spatial products for the western U.S.
  1. Spreadsheet (database) of invasive annual grass spatial products, summarized by 40+ criteria.
  1. Compendium, or collection, of 2-page summaries describing over 20 spatial products that are included in the database.
  1. Sagebrush Ecosystem Data Viewer: Interactive map viewer displaying all the invasive annual grass layers included in this project.

This project represents a new multi-partner collaboration to make the datasets surrounding three of the most problematic invasive annual grasses more easily accessed and understood, leading to applications and decisions that support the management of invasive species.

More information about this project can be found on the USGS project website.

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