Do some dirty work.
Ready to get down to business and spend a day working to conserve public lands? Look no further. Whether you want to help on a cheatgrass pull day, sagebrush planting or apply cheatgrass herbicide, this is your home for staying up to date with what events are happening and how to get started.
This page will house and be updated with all the necessary dates, locations and other details you'll need to come out and help us do work.
volunteer and other public events
We don't currently have any volunteer opportunities planned, but don't fret! Once we do, they will be posted here as well as sent out to our mailing list. At that point, you can fill out the form on the right, or just show up (with friends)! To find out about future events, please email GBSEACoordinator@gmail.com.
City of Gunnison "Cheatpull" day - Every May or June
Since its inauguration in May 2019, the event brought together over 100 volunteers to pull over 3,000 pounds of cheatgrass in the City of Gunnison, as well as visits to Gunnison High School classrooms to speak with students about the harms that cheatgrass does to sagebrush landscapes. The Mayor delivered a proclamation recognizing the day and organizations such as the Gunnison Sage Grouse Strategic Committee, the Center for Public Lands, Colorado Department of Agriculture, and Coldharbour provided financial support for the event.
National Public Lands Day – Every Fall
The work group has held over 15 events and engaged more than 300 volunteers for National Public Lands Day since 2017. Projects have included seed collection, sagebrush planting and restoration, hydro-seeding fire areas, rehabilitating decommissioned roads, constructing wildlife-friendly fencing, and education sessions. Partners from the Gunnison Wildlife Association, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Western Colorado University, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Gunnison Trails, Gunnison County Weeds, US Forest Service and the Colorado Forest Service State nursery have collaborated to collect seed, grow seedlings, and place almost a thousand new sagebrush seedlings on public lands in addition to collecting forb and grass seed for future rehabilitation efforts.
Private Lands Cheatgrass Treatment Cost Share Program- Currently Underway
The Gunnison Conservation District hosts a cheatgrass treatment cost share program. All agricultural producers (of any kind) with more than 2.5 acres of land are eligible to receive free Panoramic 2SL for application to cheatgrass. This program expands cheatgrass treatment in the Gunnison Basin to private lands. Anyone interested should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cheatgrass Chemical Treatment Testing - Currently Underway
The National Park Service is testing the use of Esplanade and Plateau for cheatgrass treatment in the Gunnison Basin. These two chemicals are widely touted as the most effective cheatgrass treatments, but there is a need to locally test their effectiveness.
Cheatgrass Treatment Effectiveness Monitoring - Currently Underway
BLM and Western Colorado University have established a partnership to monitor the effectiveness of cheatgrass treatments in targeted areas of the Gunnison Field Office. Students use photo points and the line point intercept method to collect data on the foliar cover of cheatgrass and native species at control plots (no treatment but mapped cheatgrass), plots treated with the herbicide Plateau, and plots treated with plateau and then seeded with a native mix. Recently, students have also started collecting soil data and completing a soil bioassay at monitoring plots to determine how prevalent cheatgrass seeds are within plots without cheatgrass cover, and untreated, treated (sprayed with Plateau), and treated and seeded plots. The bioassay is also intended to give land managers a better understanding of where we need to prioritize rehabilitation in the event of a disturbance to minimize the invasion of cheatgrass and to better understand cheatgrass dynamics within the Gunnison Basin.
Interagency Strikeforce Day- Every Fall
The first Interagency Strikeforce Day was held in 2018, and attended by 17 professionals who represented 6 agencies. Applying herbicide with backpack sprayers, ATV sprayers and a truck sprayer, this crew treated approximately 30 acres on lands managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Bureau of Land Management with access to National Forest. STRIKEFORCE events continue to be conducted every fall, and to train professionals and coordinate efforts across land management units.
Cheatgrass Treatment Workshop - September 2019
Sponsored by Bird Conservancy of the Rockies and Gunnison Conservation District. Attendees learned about the ecology of cheatgrass and how it impacts sagebrush ecosystems, how to mitigate the spread of cheatgrass, and what treatment methods are effective (chemical, biological, and mechanical options were discussed). Attendees also had the opportunity to join the weed management specialists of Gunnison County for a free calibration workshop to ensure that they are spraying the correct amount of herbicide when they apply herbicides on their private ground. The workshop featured speakers from Western Colorado University, U. S. Geological Survey, Gunnison County, Bureau of Land Management, Gunnison Trails, Gunnison Conservation District, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, Bayer, and a private consultant.
Cheatcast - Summer 2019
Sam Liebl, a masters in environmental management candidate at Western Colorado University and District Manager of the Gunnison Conservation District, has worked since 2018 to heighten the issue of cheatgrass invasion in the minds of Gunnison Valley residents. He has published articles in valley newspapers, produced radio feature stories on regional NPR stations, created a podcast series called Cheatcast.
Long-Term Sagebrush Avian Study
In 2018, Kathy Brodhead, Gunnison Field Office Wildlife Biologist, and Patrick Magee, Western Colorado University Wildlife Biologist, initiated a long-term bird monitoring project to assess trends in the sagebrush bird community in the Gunnison Basin. This study is in collaboration with Bird Conservancy of the Rockies and follows methods developed by the Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions . In addition to bird data, the protocol also involves a qualitative assessment of vegetation at each point and presence or absence of the invasive annual cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum). Kristin Ross, an M.S. in Ecology at Western Colorado University, joined the team in 2019. Her project will assess bird distribution and abundance in the context of vegetation and physical landscape features and she will conduct quantitative vegetation sampling as well as a spatial analysis. Bird presence and abundance will be tracked over time and we will be able to observe trends in the avian community in the context of cheatgrass invasion.