Ecological Site Descriptions

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Winnemucca, Nevada
5 - 7 June, 2012

Interagency Ecological Site Applications Workshop

Winnemucca, Nevada
5 - 7 June, 2012

Wrap-Up: Kelly Fogarty, SRM Washington, D.C. Liaison and ESD Workshop Facilitator

On June 5-7 the Society for Range Management facilitated the first regional workshop of 2012 in Winnemucca, Nevada.  The workshop had the largest participant number yet and 73 people registered for the 3 day long Ecological Site Description workshop series.  The participants ranged from federal agency employees to those in the private sector.  Agencies represented at the workshop include:  Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), as well as a representative of the Canadian Agriculture Center.  The participants were diverse, from young professionals in the early stages of their careers, to experienced soil scientists and professors who have worked in the field for years.  The make-up of the group provided for many interesting discussions and perspectives on workshop objectives throughout the workshop.

June 5th saw workshop participants convening in the Winnemucca Convention Center for a day of presentations from professors and agency representatives regarding the basic fundamentals of Ecological Sites and how they have evolved over the years in both process and structure.  The day included a number of highly informative and interesting presentations, each spurred active discussion among the participants and the presentations in their entirety may be found below.  The weather in Winnemucca decided to take a more wintry turn and a snowstorm followed by rain and chilly conditions forced the workshop to remain inside for the entire day.  This allowed for additional presentations which provided participants with a greater foundation for what to expect in the field over the following two days and how the principles brought forth in the many slide shows would be applied to work in the field.

June 6th saw the participants once again meeting at the Convention Center for a morning presentation before then assembling and heading out of Winnemucca, about 45 minutes North, to a BLM land area in order to apply the previous day’s instruction to the creation of ESDs in the field.  The group went to three different sites on this day in order to look at different states and areas with differing landforms, soil types, disturbance, and vegetation.  The multitude of sites gave participants a greater understanding of how one slight difference in the landscape could ultimately alter the Ecological Site Description for that specific site. Following the full day in the field, the workshop hosted a dinner that gathered participants together to learn from one another and gain insight into different regions and the factors they face while monitoring the land every day.

The field visits on both the second and third days of the workshop allowed participants to apply what they were presented with in the first day’s classroom portion of the workshop to the field.  While in the field, the entire group was broken up into small groups consisting of approximately 8 people each, which allowed for greater participation and discussion when visiting each station that had been set-up at each field site.  Each field site contained stations that looked at the soil properties of the site, vegetation present, and ultimately how these factors contributed to the overall ESD and State and Transition Model of the area.  These small group breakouts are the main focus of the ESD workshops and encourage participants to apply the knowledge gained over the previous days to the actual application and composition of an ESD for the site that is visited.  The pictures on this page reflect the group at these particular field sites and the subsequent break-out sessions that occur at each regional workshop.  Each workshop tailors this portion of the workshop to the specific area.

June 7th, the final day of the workshop, started with a presentation at the Convention Center before everyone made their way out to the selected field site, this time approximately half an hour west of Winnemucca, and a completely different landscape and site than the previous day’s field visits.  The group spent the whole day analyzing soil properties and disturbance factors and how the results could ultimately be applied into a complete ESD.  The workshop wrapped up in the field with a discussion session that allowed for questions regarding the day’s activities as well as principles from the two previous days.  The wind in Nevada ultimately ended the workshop, but not after a great question and answer session as well as opportunity to provide feedback on the workshop and how it may be improved upon in the future.  All participants will either receive a certificate of completion from the workshop or Continuing Education Units.  It was unanimous that all individuals present would encourage others in their line of work to participate in an upcoming workshop.  You may find all of the instructors’ presentations below.  For any questions regarding the Winnemucca, Nevada ESD workshop or future ones that are in the planning stages, please contact Kelly Fogarty at

Instructor Presentations

Upcoming & Past SRM Ecological Site Description Workshops