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Adaptive Management Framework for Managing Native Prairie in the Prairie Pothole Region

Invasion by introduced, cool-season grasses, particularly smooth brome and Kentucky bluegrass, is viewed as an imminent, widespread threat to the biodiversity of prairies managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service. Nineteen stations spanning four states in the Prairie Pothole Region are currently involved in an adaptive management process that will allow the Service to collaboratively assess the effectiveness of various control methods and systematically reduce management uncertainty over time. Under such a framework, results will have far broader
applicability and greater reliability than any one station working alone can achieve.
The overall management objective is to increase the composition of native prairie (grasses and forbs) at the least cost. Each year stations are given direction according to models developed by the US Geological Survey as to what management treatment they should use on a site. Management options include grazing, prescribed burning, burning and grazing, and rest. Management actions are based on the current prairie composition determined by using belt transects to derive percent cover for different vegetative categories.
Learning continues on this project and is expected to continue for the long term.