|Eastern Mojave Vegetation||Beaver Dam Flat, Lincoln County, Nevada.|
Beaver Dam Flat is a rangeland site, converted to crested wheatgrass, which has returned to
Wyoming sagebrush domination. It is located at an elevation of 5,600 feet above sea level. The topography is flat and bounded by small hills to the north and south. In the upper elevations, the woodland suitability groups dominate the landscape. Slopes increase and soil surfaces become more rocky and/or gravelly. Rock outcrops increase throughout. Where unburned, the woodland soils are stable, with no outward signs of erosion observed. The soils are stable with no obvious signs of erosion observed. Blue grama grass and topography are the primary reasons noted for soil stability in the area.
The National Resources Conservation Service ecological range site at Beaver Dam Flat Supplemental Key Area is a Loamy 8-10 inch p.z. — 029XY006NV (Wyoming Sagebrush/Ricegrass-Needleandthread). Cover data was collected at Beaver Dam Flat (Key Area 2). The majority of the cover comes from Wyoming sagebrush (24%). Perennial grasses total 3%. Forbs contribute a mere 0.71%. None of the forbs were mat formers, just small single-stemmed plants. Douglas' rabbitbrush and broom snakeweed totaled 0.6% respectively. Cheatgrass accounted for 0.04% of cover. Litter for the site accounted for 10.68%. Other species observed but not represented in the cover plot included blue grama, prickly pear (Opuntia spp.), globemallow (Sphaeralcea spp.), and phlox (Phlox spp.).
The area of Beaver Dam Flat was chained, plowed and seeded in 1956. A total of 1,590 acres of Beaver Dam Flat on the Haypress Allotment and neighboring Barclay Allotment were mechanically treated (plowed and chained) and seeded with crested wheatgrass and yellow sweet clover (Melilotus spp.). Fifty years of succession has resulted in the seeding reverting to a Wyoming sagebrush dominated site. The crested wheatgrass on the Haypress Allotment is all but gone and Wyoming sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata var. wyomingensis) dominates the site with a small component of perennial grasses, forbs and other shrubs to accompany it.
In the mid-1990's, some of the old seeded area on the Sheep Flat allotment was mowed with a brush-hog type rangeland mower to decrease the sagebrush in the seeding. A prescribed burn was implemented on the neighboring Barclay Allotment on Beaver Dam Flat in 2005. In areas where the BLM installed fire control lines, small mat-forming buckwheats (Eriogonum caespitosum) have proliferated forming good soil cover and adding diversity to the area. Native perennial grasses have increased in places as well, indicating that burning could stimulate soil-protecting herbaceous species.
Sagebrush flats generally speaking are in a downward trend due to decadent sagebrush stands and encroachment by junipers. The brush is getting taller and less robust while herbaceous species are slowly decreasing due to extreme competition with sagebrush for sunlight and nutrients. The interspaces are progressing toward being unoccupied because of the extensive subsurface sagebrush root systems. The herbaceous species include squirreltail, western wheatgrass (Agropyron smithii), crested wheatgrass, Indian ricegrass (Achnatherum hymenoides), cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum), vetch (Vicia spp.) and annual forbs. Other shrub species also include Douglas' rabbitbrush, one unidentified shrub, and broom snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae).
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Date and time this article was prepared:6:08:46 PM, 10/6/2017.