I have only been in Carson City for a few weeks and I have already begun to learn about the land and plants that are found within this beautiful area. The main focus these first few weeks of our internship has been invasive noxious weeds, as well as graze land utilization allotments. Since the Carson City area has been in a drought for many years the amount of land utilization by grazers (cattle, deer, ect..) has become increasingly important. If a grazing allotment becomes over grazed and the plants are not able to re-establish or recover, then the land has an increased chance of being invaded by invasive plants and noxious weeds. An example of a current invasive plant that has a drastic effect on grazing allotments would be Medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae).
(Image obtained from google images)
Medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae) is an invasive and aggressive species within Nevada as well as other surrounding states. This grass will infiltrate an area where the native plant life has been eradicated or reduced from overgrazing, fires or cultivation. The presence of medusahead can reduce the carrying capacity of a lands livestock by 75%. The grazers within an allotment find medusahead to lack palatability. The lack of palatability is a result of the grasses’ rich silica content, as well as having a seed head with long awns that are stiff and slightly barbed, which cuts the mouths of any grazer attempting to eat it. Ouch, I am sure that if I were a grazing animal I would find this grass unpalatable as well.
With this invasive grass in mind it is then apparent how important it is that we as individuals become more aware of the cause and effect of land utilization within the whole country. It is also important for some individuals to realize that the BLM is not evil and does not reduce land utilization because it feels like it, there is a valid reason. All decisions are carefully discussed before any action takes place.