Weather-Centric Restoration Tools

Rangeland restoration practices in the Intermountain western United States are typically implemented in a single planting season for the purposes of Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation (ESR) after wildfire. This necessarily links restoration and rehabilitation success to the probability of a single year providing sufficiently favorable microclimatic conditions for desirable plant establishment. It is currently difficult to evaluate how ESR and rangeland restoration practices might be impacted by weather variability, or what kind of expectations there should be for success given the high likelihood of establishment failure in any given season or year.

Field research studies in rangeland restoration are also typically of limited duration and published results may not represent the full spectrum of conditions likely to be experienced at a given site. Spatial and temporal weather-analysis may enhance the interpretation of historical planting data, support expanded inferences from short-term field studies, and facilitate meta-analysis of diverse field studies in rangeland restoration.

We describe access and use of new databases and tools that can be used for retrospective analysis of historical planting success, interpretation of field results within the context of natural site variability, and methodology for developing realistic expectations for long-term management planning in our highly variable environment.

This site accesses historical weather information on a 4-km grid for the 48 contiguous states (gridMet database), provides seedbed microclimatic simulations for post-fire seedbed temperature and water availability over time, and creates a site-specific restoration-climatology report that can be customized for location and soil type.

  • Historical Daily Weather
  • Restoration Climatology (report)

Future weather-related restoration tools will include:

  • Upgrading the current rangeland restoration climatology report to include site-specific NRCS soils and topographic information in the modeled output.
  • Upgrading the restoration climatology report to account for additional topographic effects of horizon angle (impacts of shading for valley locations).
  • Seasonal Forecast applications for real-time rangeland restoration and Emergency Stabilization (ES) and Burned Area Rehabilitation (BAR) planning.
  • Local and regional climate change implications for rangeland restoration, ES and BAR planning.
  • Guidance for integrating adaptive-management/contingency-planning into the NEPA planning process.