Current REL Research Projects

Surface Disturbance Restoration on the Shortgrass Steppe

The objective of this study is to determine an optimal seed mix diversity level and corresponding seeding rate for reclamation purposes on the shortgrass steppe…READ MORE

Restoring Populations of Threatened Physaria Species in the Piceance Basin

Two federally threatened plant species are endemic to the Piceance Basin of Northwestern Colorado: Dudley Bluffs bladderpod (Physaria congesta) and Dudley Bluffs twinpod (Physaria obcordata). The purpose our research project is to explore possible approaches for establishing new populations of these species in suitable areas not needed for energy development in order to increase their overall abundance in the region…READ MORE

Potential Role of Insect Herbivores In Promoting Cheatgrass Dominance In Sagebrush Steppe

It is likely that insect herbivores, which are ubiquitous in sagebrush steppe ecosystems, exert an influence on restoration efforts and plant community composition through selective feeding on preferred plant species. The objective of this study is to determine whether a common, generalist grasshopper species (Melanoplus bivittatus) preferentially consumes native plant seedlings in situations where cheatgrass is present…READ MORE

Forest Management To Improve Mule Deer Habitat in the Piceance Basin

The goal of this study is to examine the effectiveness of mechanical treatments in improving the establishment of mule deer forage in the Piceance Basin…READ MORE

Using Native Ruderal Species in Restoration of Cheatgrass Invaded Communities

Our specific objective is to determine if restoration of native ruderal seed banks can be used to suppress the establishment and persistence of cheatgrass and facilitate establishment of native perennials on disturbed soils…READ MORE

Reclamation of Energy Development Impacts in the Piceance Basin

In 1976 a large interdisciplinary research project was initiated in the Piceance Basin of NW Colorado in order to provide basic and applied information that would aid in the reclamation of land disturbances associated with oil shale extraction…READ MORE