Native prairie adaptive management: A multi-region, adaptive approach to invasive plant management on Fish and Wildlife Service-owned native prairies
Much of the native prairie managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of the northern Great Plains is extensively invaded by the introduced cool-season grasses smooth brome and Kentucky bluegrass. Management to suppress these invasive plants has had poor to inconsistent success. The central challenge to managers is selecting appropriate management actions in the face of biological and environmental uncertainties. In partnership with the Service, the U.S. Geological Survey developed an adaptive decision support framework to assist managers in selecting management actions under uncertainty and maximizing learning from management outcomes. The framework was built around practical constraints faced by refuge managers and included identification of the management objective and strategies, analysis of uncertainty, construction of competing decision models, monitoring, and mechanisms for model feedback and decision selection. Nineteen Service field stations, spanning four states of the PPR, participated in project development and currently rely on the Native Prairie Adaptive Management (NPAM) system to guide decision-making regarding management of invasive cool-season grasses on native prairies. The cooperating field stations share a common management objective, available management strategies, and biological uncertainties. While the scope is broad, the project interfaces with individual land managers who annually provide refuge-specific information and receive updated decision guidance that incorporates understanding gained from the collective management experience of all cooperators.
Terry L Shaffer