Photo of field data collection for the AIM project, by Caitlin Lawrence, INR

As part of a cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), INR is collecting terrestrial habitat data for sage grouse conservation areas in eastern Oregon.  The project is part of our effort to assist in the implementation of the Governor's Sage Grouse Conservation Plan, and is part of the BLM’s Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring (AIM) program, a strategy the BLM developed to monitor the status and trends of the millions of acres of public lands they manage.  In 2019 and 2020, INR rangeland ecologists Michael Russell and Caitlin Lawrence will lead a crew of 14 students and recent graduates as they collect flora and habitat data at more than 400 BLM sites.

INR is also collaborating with the BLM and the University of Montana’s Natural Heritage Program to collect habitat assessment data in eastern Idaho, and with NatureServe to collect terrestrial data relevant to BLM’s fire plan in northwestern California.  The AIM program provides standardized protocols for ecological data collection. It is modeled after two other large resources inventory efforts, the FIA (Forest Inventory and Analysis) program of the US Forest Service, and the NRI (Natural Resources Inventory) of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.