Twin Falls District Sagebrush Restoration

Background information. The Twin Falls District of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has experienced an incredible increase in large-scale fires that have completely altered the fire regime across the landscape. These areas were historically a Wyoming sagebrush steppe ecosystem, but are now dominated by large areas of grasses devoid of a shrub component. This vegetation change has resulted in significant loss of sage-grouse habitat and has altered the fire return interval so the area now burns every few years rather than the historic 50- to 75- year interval (Barret and others, 2010). In response to these landscape changes, the BLM has partnered with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (DFG) in an effort to grow and plant sagebrush ... Show More

Background information. The Twin Falls District of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has experienced an incredible increase in large-scale fires that have completely altered the fire regime across the landscape. These areas were historically a Wyoming sagebrush steppe ecosystem, but are now dominated by large areas of grasses devoid of a shrub component. This vegetation change has resulted in significant loss of sage-grouse habitat and has altered the fire return interval so the area now burns every few years rather than the historic 50- to 75- year interval (Barret and others, 2010). In response to these landscape changes, the BLM has partnered with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (DFG) in an effort to grow and plant sagebrush seedlings throughout the Twin Falls District. Since 2009, approximately 500,000 containerized Wyoming sagebrush seedlings have been grown in greenhouse nurseries and planted by contractors, BLM staff, and community volunteers. Some of the sagebrush seedlings were grown in greenhouses owned by local public schools, which is seen as a first step in developing a small-scale production partnership that promotes educational opportunities for local students. The Idaho DFG has also completed similar projects on adjacent State lands, and has coordinated volunteer planting days for planting seedlings on BLM land as a part of this overall restoration effort. This massive, large scale, sagebrush-planting effort is intended to restore a seed source for the long-term reestablishment of sagebrush across the landscape and to change the area from a grass-fuel model to a brush-fuel model that may burn less frequently.

The U.S. Geological Survey collected data on restoration activities and expenditures to estimate the economic activity supported by this project. Background information on the Twin Falls District project was obtained from Brandon Brown, BLM, written commun., 2015; and U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, [2012].  

Economic impacts. The Twin Falls District Sagebrush Restoration project began in 2009 and continued through 2014, with a total cost of $1,475,000 (2014 dollars) during this period. Approximately 54 percent of project expenditures was made locally, which supported an estimated 19.1 job-years; $660,000 in labor income; $543,000 in value added; and $1,172,000 in economic output within the local economy. Expanding to include the effects of local and nonlocal expenditures, the Twin Falls District Sagebrush project has supported an estimated 33.9 job-years; $1,808,000 in labor income; $2,008,000 in value added; and $3,772,000 in economic output in the Western States economy. Beyond these economic measures, this project also fostered community support by volunteers, and promoted educational opportunities with local school partnerships. 

References Cited
Barrett, S.; Havlina, D.; Jones, J.; Hann, W.; Frame, C.; Hamilton, D.; Schon, K.; Demeo, T.; Hutter, L.; and Menakis, J., 2010, Interagency fire regime condition class guidebook version 3.0: National Interagency Fuels, Fire, & Vegetation Technology Transfer, accessed June 16, 2015, at  http://fire.org/niftt/released/FRCC_Guidebook_2010_final.pdf. Show Less

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

Overview

Project Period: 2009-2014

Location: Idaho

Restoration Type: Sagebrush restoration

Lead Agency: Bureau of Land Management

Economic Impacts
Western States Economic Impacts (2014 dollars):

Total Project Expenditures: $1,475,000


Job-Years: 33.9 (23.0 per $1M)

Labor Income: $1,808,000 ($1.2M per $1M)

Value Added: $2,008,000 ($1.4M per $1M)

Economic Output: $3,772,000 ($2.6M per $1M)

Local Economic Impacts (2014 dollars):

Local Project Expenditures: $792,000

Percent of Project Expenditures Spent Locally: 54%

Local Job-Years: 19.1

Local Labor Income: $660,000

Local Value Added: $543,000

Local Economic Output: $1,172,000

Map
Images
Sagebrush Seedlings Growing in a Nursery Greenhouse.jpg
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