Upland Vegetation Assessment and Strategic Management Plan

The RWD conducted an upland vegetation assessment to understand the current conditions associated with the Pueblo's upland habitats and to understand the spatial and temporal characteristics of vegetation patterns and soil erosion and water infiltration rates on the Pueblo. The project was funded over a four year (1999-2002) period by both the USEPA and the Pueblo. The upland vegetation assessment resulted in: 1) the establishment of 145 permanent upland vegetation and erosion monitoring plots; 2) the characterization and mapping of twenty-two plant associations that cumulatively included two hundred and twenty-five plant species; and 3) the development of a herbarium that includes over 300 plant vouchers.

Information derived from the upland vegetation assessment was used by the RWD to develop a strategic upland vegetation management plan that prioritizes plant association management and defines management practices that will improve the quality and condition of these associations. This ecosystem approach to managing land insures the sustainability of available quality habitats for current and future generations. Management practices identified within the Pueblo's upland vegetation strategic management plan include: 1) increasing the cover of desirable herbaceous vegetation to minimize soil erosion; 2) decreasing the density of woody species to reduce soil erosion and minimize the risk and consequences of catastrophic wildfires; 3) minimizing off road driving impacts through community education; 4) developing and implementing livestock grazing management plans; and 5) controlling livestock activities through the distribution of water sources and erection of fences.

For photos, see the Rangeland & Wildlife media gallery.