Are European livestock and American prairies compatible?


Working with the USFWS and USGS I compared butterfly species richness and relative abundance using Pollard-Yates style transect counts within different grazing regimes on Valentine NWR in the sandhill prairies on north-central Nebraska. I did not find major differences in species richness and abundance between grazing treatments. However, I did document the presence of a rich and diverse butterfly community including several rare and uncommon species.


I am currently working in cooperation with private landowners, USFWS, and Greg Fitzpatrick to explore the impacts of grazing on the endangered Fender's Blue butterfly. Additionally, we are working to test variable grazing regimes to determine if grazing can be used as an effective tool for management of invasive grasses in prairies. Pre-grazing data was collected in the spring of 2012 and the study will be completed in 2013.