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.
- 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)
- 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
- Exotic/invasive species
- Water Conservation
- Wind Farms
- Prairie Dog Control/Elimination
- Tree invasion
- Lack of research, management information
- Conflicting habitat needs
- Siltation, reduced hydrology
- Grazing management in riparian areas
- Regulatory protection efforts reduced
- Cultural attitudes
- 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