Color Country Upper Kanab Creek Restoration

The Kanab Creek Project Area encompasses 130,000 acres in southern Utah. This project area receives National attention because it is home to the Paunsagunt mule deer herd which are prized by trophy hunters, and because it supports the southernmost population of greater sage grouse within the western United States. One of the focuses of this project area has been to conduct treatments that cross jurisdictional boundaries, by working closely with private landowners, Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and Utah’s Watershed Restoration Initiative, to provide landscape-level benefits for sage grouse. Telemetry data show that sage grouse are actively using older treatment areas, and newer treatments will expand both winter and brood ... Show More

The Kanab Creek Project Area encompasses 130,000 acres in southern Utah. This project area receives National attention because it is home to the Paunsagunt mule deer herd which are prized by trophy hunters, and because it supports the southernmost population of greater sage grouse within the western United States. One of the focuses of this project area has been to conduct treatments that cross jurisdictional boundaries, by working closely with private landowners, Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and Utah’s Watershed Restoration Initiative, to provide landscape-level benefits for sage grouse. Telemetry data show that sage grouse are actively using older treatment areas, and newer treatments will expand both winter and brood rearing habitat near known occupied habitat.

Restoration in this area is ongoing; this case study focuses on restoration activities that occurred between 2010 and 2013. During this period, restoration was accomplished on 3,912 acres of public and private lands. The project was funded by a variety of private, state, and federal cooperators, including the BLM, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Kane County Conservation District, Arizona Game and Fish Department, and the National Park Service.

Economic impacts. Total expenditures for this project were $1,026,000 (2014 dollars), with an estimated 38% of these expenditures spent within the local economy (Beaver, Garfield, Iron, Kane and Washington Counties). Local expenditures supported an estimated 5.0 job-years, $280,000 in labor income, $359,000 in value added, and $666,000 in economic output within the local economy. Many of the contractors that worked on the project are located outside of the local area. Including the impacts associated with all project expenditures, the Upper Kanab Creek restoration projected supported an estimated 18.1 job-years, $1,103,000 in labor income, $1,344,000 in value added, and $2,587,000 in economic output in the western states economy. Show Less

Contact(s): Catherine M Cullinane Thomas, Christopher C Huber.

Overview

Project Period: 2010-2013

Location: Utah

Restoration Type: Watershed restoration,Sagebrush restoration,Sage-grouse habitat,Fuels reduction project

Lead Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Economic Impacts
Western States Economic Impacts (2014 dollars):

Total Project Expenditures: $1,026,000


Job-Years: 18.1 (17.6 per $1M)

Labor Income: $1,103,000 ($1.1M per $1M)

Value Added: $1,344,000 ($1.3M per $1M)

Economic Output: $2,587,000 ($2.5M per $1M)

Local Economic Impacts (2014 dollars):

Local Project Expenditures: $391,000

Percent of Project Expenditures Spent Locally: 38%

Local Job-Years: 5.0

Local Labor Income: $280,000

Local Value Added: $359,000

Local Economic Output: $666,000

Big Picture
Main Project: Color Country Sagebrush Steppe Restoration

Characterized by vast acres of sagebrush and pinyon-juniper clad foothills, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) Color Country District, located in southern Utah, is home to a variety of species, including greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), Utah prairie dog (Cynomys parvidens), mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), antelope (Antilocapra americana), elk (Cervus elaphus), and wild horses (Equus ferus). These species depend on the sagebrush steppe ecosystem historically present in this region. Starting in the late 1800s with the Euroamerican settlement of the west, the sagebrush steppe ecosystem has been rapidly changing into woodlands of western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis) and pinyon (Blank and others, 2008). This transition ... Show More

Characterized by vast acres of sagebrush and pinyon-juniper clad foothills, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) Color Country District, located in southern Utah, is home to a variety of species, including greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), Utah prairie dog (Cynomys parvidens), mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), antelope (Antilocapra americana), elk (Cervus elaphus), and wild horses (Equus ferus). These species depend on the sagebrush steppe ecosystem historically present in this region. Starting in the late 1800s with the Euroamerican settlement of the west, the sagebrush steppe ecosystem has been rapidly changing into woodlands of western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis) and pinyon (Blank and others, 2008). This transition from sagebrush and perennial grasses to a landscape dominated by trees have decreased the available habitat for sagebrush-dependent species such as sage-grouse and mule deer. The change to a wooded landscape has also dramatically increased fire risk, which further increases the risk of habitat loss, as well as human infrastructure loss.

The BLM and other Federal, State, and local government agencies; nongovernmental organizations; and many sportsmen and wildlife groups have teamed up to restore and manage priority ecosystems within Utah, the Colorado Plateau, and the Great Basin. Through Utah’s Watershed Restoration Initiative (WRI), these organizations are partnering to pool resources and to restore healthy landscapes at a watershed scale. Through multi-phase and multi-year large-scale vegetation treatments, WRI partners are providing better wildlife habitat, restoring critical watersheds, and reducing the risk of wildfire to urban communities. To date, WRI partners have restored more than 1.1 million acres in Utah.

To restore wildlife habitat and reduce fire risk, BLM is removing pinyon and juniper trees to open wildlife travel corridors and provide firebreaks. BLM is also managing for invasive species, and seeding perennial grasses, forbs, and shrubs to re-establish sagebrush steppe vegetation. The methods used to accomplish this work include a variety of management tools, such as hand thinning, mechanical treatments, prescribed fire, herbicide treatments, and aerial seeding. By removing encroaching trees and establishing desired understory vegetation, these restoration projects maintain and enhance the long-term resilience of restored landscapes.

The U.S. Geological Survey collected data on restoration activities and expenditures to estimate the economic activity supported by restoration activities on four priority restoration areas in the BLM Color Country District: South Canyon, Duncan Creek, South Beaver, and Upper Kanab Creek. Based on the economic impacts estimated for these four restoration projects, it is estimated that, on average, every $1 million spent on watershed restoration in Utah generates 17.4 job-years; $1,028,000 in labor income; $1,316,000 in value added; and $2,440,000 in economic output in the Western States economy. Between 2011 and 2014, BLM spent a total of $15,730,000 (an average of $3,932,500 per year) on similar watershed restoration projects in the Color Country District. Based on the estimated average impacts per $1 million for these types of restoration projects, BLM Color Country watershed restoration projects supported an estimated 68 job-years; $4,000,000 in labor income; $5,200,000 in value added; and $9,600,000 in economic output in the Western States economy each year.

It is important to note that the economic value of these restoration projects encompasses more than the economic activity generated through project expenditures. These restoration projects also provide substantial economic values through ecosystem services that directly and indirectly affect human welfare. These projects restore and maintain important habitat for mule deer, a popular big-game species, and thus enhance wildlife-based recreation opportunities in the region. Additionally, restored sagebrush habitat is critical for the conservation of the greater sage-grouse, a species of high conservation priority. The removal of pinyon and juniper trees from the landscape also significantly reduces fire risk, thus providing additional economic value by reducing the probability of fire along the wildland-urban interface.

Background information on the BLM Color Country restoration projects was obtained from Vicki Tyler, BLM Color Country District, written commun., 2015; and from the WRI Website at https://wri.utah.gov/wri/. Show Less

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Images
Deer Utilizing a Treated Area.jpg
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