About the program
As the most biologically diverse and the most frequently overused component of Nevada rangelands, riparian areas have attracted a great deal of management attention. Different groups, such as ranchers, recreationalists and federal agencies, have varying uses for the areas, which leads to a considerable need for educating and focusing people on proper management to allow the continued diversity of uses while preserving the areas. Generally, if riparian areas function properly, all land users benefit, and this provides a great opportunity for teaching about riparian restoration, including enhancement of water quality, habitat for listed or important species, forage for livestock, and water for agriculture. Repeatedly, riparian management is identified as a top need in natural resource-oriented needs assessments, especially in northern Nevada.
Nevada Creeks and Communities is an interagency and interdisciplinary program designed to meet Nevada's need for riparian management education. The program team teaches workshops and submits proposals; writes articles and publications; and works with landowners, land users, and interest groups and agencies. The program and its team have taught about maintaining healthy riparian areas for 21 years and have held more than 85 formal classes.
As a result of the team's Proper Functioning Condition (PFC) classes in Nevada, the EPA has embraced Proper Functioning Condition as a fundamentally useful tool for improving water quality, taught Proper Functioning Condition to tribes in California and Arizona, and hosted regional Proper Functioning Condition classes in Las Vegas. The work of Carol Evans, BLM Elko fish biologist and active team member, and the Shoesole Holistic Management Team have been highlighted by several national awards. Proper Functioning Condition concepts are also being integrated into numerous EPA publications and outside publications with lead authorship by EPA personnel with whom Extension collaborates.
Riparian PFC assessment promotes use of common terms, definitions, and methods to identify opportunities for positive change from reasonable investments, enhance local management, and solve problems by people most affected. Integrated Riparian Management uses PFC assessment to prioritize management needs for adaptive management with monitoring for riparian objectives. The program team provides free training on these topics to landowners, federal, state, and local agency personnel, tribes, industry, conservation interests, and others.
Partners included Bureau of Land Management, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Nevada Department of Wildlife, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Saval Ranch, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, Lincoln County Conservation District, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada, U.S. Forest Service, Newmont Mining, Nevada Cattlemen’s Association, Sawtooth National Forest, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Riparian Service, Shoesole Holistic Management Team, Carol Evans and Chris Ross.
Program team strategy
Advancing cooperative riparian stewardship
Sustainable riparian-wetland resources as a foundation for resilient ecosystems and communities.
Empower land managers, owners and stakeholders to work together to sustain riparian-wetland resources
Operating principles & practices
- Promote a stepwise and adaptive approach to integrated riparian management by linking physical function to desired values.
- Work across ownerships/jurisdictions, recognizing ecological and social connections within watersheds while engaging affected interests.
- Foster collective, on-the-ground action by enhancing knowledge, skills, relationships and trust.
- Support state-of-the-art tools, clear and current information, direction, training, and coaching.
- Link agency policy and stakeholder decisions to on-the-ground implementation.
- Ensure strategy effectiveness through ongoing evaluation and adaptation.
Strategies & objectives
- Teach riparian Proper Functioning Condition assessment and other Integrated Riparian Management classes.
- Coach interdisciplinary teams.
- Collaborate with the National Riparian Service Team for mediation classes.
- Collaborate with the National Riparian Service Team for Integrated Riparian Management classes such as PFC for Professionals, Riparian Grazing Management, Multiple Indicator Monitoring, etc.
- Collaborate with others for specialty workshops about riparian issues such as tamarisk, plant identification, willow restoration, riparian weed management, re-vegetation after weed control, range management school, Cooperative Permittee Monitoring, etc.