CEHMM - Range Improvements

Range Improvements

Mesquite Control: Mesquite (Prosopis spp.) is universally accepted as an invasive and highly competitive species that readily invades and may eventually predominate landscapes that have sustained severe overgrazing or other significant disturbance. Due to its resilience and persistence, mesquite can easily outcompete more beneficial plants such as grasses, forbs, or other less invasive and more desirable brush species such as four-winged saltbush (Atriplex canescence). By removing mesquite, native grasses have the opportunity to become re-established. This will provide suitable habitat for nesting, forage, and cover for the LPC. CEHMM can treat mesquite via aerial application or by hand.

Escape Ramps: In 2007, the National Wildlife Federation (Di Sylvestro 2007) published concerns regarding the serious threat of livestock watering tanks, on indigenous wildlife, throughout the arid southwest. Additionally, the National Audubon Society, North American Grouse Partnership, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have expressed similar concerns regarding wildlife mortalities associated with livestock tanks. This threat is not exclusive to birds, but also to insects and small mammals such as bats. Once an animal falls into a livestock tank while attempting to access water, they inherently struggle to the sides of the tank in an attempt to escape. Once a ramp is installed, it provides an available mechanism to facilitate the entrapped animals’ escape. CEHMM escape ramps are modeled after proven BLM standard ramp design. In order to increase traction for an entrapped animal, and extend the ramp longevity, they are coated with a stable, non-toxic polymer textured material (similar to that sprayed on truck beds as liners) prior to installation.

Caliche Removal and Reseeding: Oil and gas well pads and roads are constructed of caliche that is excavated from caliche pits in near proximity to the area where the pad and roads are to be built. These pads and roads fragment LPC and DSL habitat. By removing the caliche pads and roads the fragmentation in LPC and DSL habitat is removed and the habitat will have a chance to return to the continuous landscape that it was prior to the disturbance. Reseeding with native vegetation in the area where the caliche has been removed helps speed up the process of rehabilitating the disturbed areas

Road Reclamation Proposal – A project that is currently being petitioned for funding would reclaim this road leading to an abandoned oil pad on a CCAA enrolled ranch.  The landscape would be returned to a more natural state by removing the top caliche layer, replacing it with topsoil, and drill seeding rangeland grasses that are native to the immediately surrounding soils.

Potential Appearance of Landscape After Reclamation – Reclamation of the road would defragment Lesser Prairie Chicken Habitat, and give a more uniform appearance.  This photo was taken just off the road.  Cattle have also grazed here.  This pasture has received relief from grazing pressure for more than a year allowing grasses ample time to grow and replenish carbohydrate reserves in their root systems.

Fence Repair Project – A project currently being proposed for funding to replace this fence on a CCAA enrolled ranch will maximize grazing control in the Lesser Prairie Chicken Primary Population Area.

Pronghorn – A Pronghorn (Antilocapra Americana) grazing in an area prior to a Mesquite(Prosopis glandulosa) treatment has been funded with CCA and CCAA funds.  Control of Mesquite will restore native grasslands where mesquite has encroached and provide better Lesser Prairie Chicken habitat and enhance the grazing component of the land management practices on this ranch.