Shortgrass BCR Breakout Session Issues

The workgroup identified three general focus issues that have potential impacts (positive and negative) on all bird issues within the shortgrass BCR.

Economics – There are many forces acting on individual decision making that do not address the impacts of those choices on all resources. A balanced approach is needed that ensures continued viability of farming and ranching communities along with environmental health and sustainability.
Water Quality/Quantity –These pervasive issues will likely be a major focus for many years to come. Here again economic forces, and increasingly, regulatory mandates will influence potential impacts to the land.
Education – Education for all partners involved is critical. Information that specifically states what is needed for all bird conservation is lacking and is often a contentious issue within the wildlife community.

Within each of these general issues several key items were listed as priorities that needed addressed.

I. Economics

  • The need to have cost neutral/positive conservation practices for producers.
  • Maintenance of viable farming/ranching operations.
  • Negative environmental impacts of economic decisions (wind farms, farm programs that encourage overproduction and conversion of unsuitable lands into production, urbanization)
  • Involving non-traditional partners

II. Water Quality/Quantity

  • Reduced hydrology to aquatic systems (dams, terracing, siltation)
  • Exotic/Invasive species (water use, habitat impact information)
  • Decreasing level of Federal/State regulatory protection of wetlands
  • Grazing management within water courses
  • Bank stabilization
  • Irrigation runoff (nutrient, pesticide loading)

III. Education

  • Communicating the importance of wetland/riparian systems
  • Describing the availability of conservation opportunities
  • Cultural and attitude changes in public and private sectors
  • Lack of esearch information for landowners and agency personnel
  • Focus on communicating what is needed (what do we want and how much is enough?)

I. Grasslands/Native Prairies

  • Economics that favor grassland conversion to cropland
  • Sagebrush elimination verses control
  • Overgrazing
  • Exotic/invasive species
  • Fragmentation
  • Water Conservation
  • Wind Farms
  • Prairie Dog Control/Elimination
  • Tree invasion
  • Urbanization
  • Lack of research, management information
  • Conflicting habitat needs

II. Wetlands/Riparian

  • Siltation, reduced hydrology
  • Grazing management in riparian areas
  • Regulatory protection efforts reduced
  • Cultural attitudes

III. Cropland

  • Wheat stubble management
  • Large farm/equipment size
  • Reduced edge
  • Herbicide/nutrient loading
  • Alternative residue use
  • Irrigation practices
  • Price supports on non-wildlife friendly crops (cotton)
  • No-till impacts on wildlife habitat