EOARC Newsletter - Winter 2024



A Note from Dave:

Hope you all enjoyed the Holiday Season!!  It has been a warm winter here in Burns with a good bit of rain but little to no snow pack in the mountains – what a difference a year makes!! Hopefully we get some late season storms that lay down some high elevation snow to support our irrigation season.  

EOARC faculty attended the annual Oregon Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) meeting in Pendleton – congratulations to EOARC Union Advisory member, Matt McElligott, who was elected OCA President!!  Matt has been, and continues to be, an effective advocate for the beef industry and public lands/natural resource management.  In addition, EOARC participated in the Oregon Beef Council’s annual research meeting that was held in Corvallis at OSU’s Oldfield Animal Teaching Facility and organized the 2023 Research Report that highlights Oregon Beef Checkoff funded research projects.  Some other outreach events that the OSU faculty at EOARC have participated in recently include helping organize and present a Threat Based Strategic Conservation program with the Prineville Local Implementation Team, and participated in the OSU Cascades Field Day where students learned about EOARC/Northern Great Basin Experimental Range research & outreach programs.

I do want to offer a special thank you to OSU President Jayathi Murthy and College of Agricultural Sciences Dean Staci Simonich for visiting both EOARC Burns and Union.  President Murthy took the time to meet with faculty, staff, and stakeholders which was greatly appreciated by everyone.  Her commitment and attention to eastern Oregon is great to see as this is only the second time in the 25 years that I have been at EOARC that the OSU President has visited our facilities.    

On another outreach front, EOARC Burns donated a steer to the OSU Steer-a-Year program that is advised by Animal and Rangeland Sciences Faculty member Matt Kennedy and managed by the ANS 405 students.  In addition, some of our local ranches (Roaring Springs Ranch, Hammond Ranches, and Southworth Bros. Ranch) brought cattle to EOARC for donation to the program and we helped make sure the calves got safely to Corvallis.

Our Stakeholder Spotlight for this issue is Tom Price who co-chairs the EOARC Union Advisory Committee.  Tom is active in numerous community organizations and is a long-time supporter of OSU, EOARC Union, ranching, and natural resource management.  Be sure to checkout out his bio later in this newsletter.

Sadly, Ralph Hart, past Livestock Agent for Union County, passed away recently.  I just wanted to take the time to remember and acknowledge his support of agriculture as an extension agent in Idaho (1958 to 1969) and Oregon (1969 to 1989).  He was honored by the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences as a Diamond Pioneer in 2009.

If you have any comments or suggestions about what you would like to see in future editions of the newsletter please feel free to contact Shellie Tiller (shellie.tiller@oregonstate.edu) and she will work with us to try get all requests addressed.

I hope you are all well!

David Bohnert
Director, Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center (Burns and Union Stations)
Oregon State University

A Note from Chad:

Greetings from Burns and I hope you and your family had a great Holiday Season.  As David points out in his write-up this year is quite the contrast to last year.  Last year we had snow on the ground here in Burns by November 8 and it lasted into April…this year a quick scan out my window, and of recording stations around the Harney Basin indicates very little snow in the mountains, but, roughly average precipitation on the year due to prodigious rainfall.  I guess we’ll take the moisture however we can get it.

This fall we enjoyed a visit from the ARS Pacific West Area Director, Tara McHugh, and Associate Area Director, John Dyer.  Tara and her leadership team make it a priority to visit the more than 20 ARS Pacific West Area locations and while here they made it a point to interact with our staff and present time in service awards to a number of Burns ARS employees.  We greatly appreciate their servant-based and people-focused approach to leadership of the Pacific West Area, and their considerable effort to make the trek to Burns and other remote ARS locations. 

In our “Recent Publications” below is a citation and web link for the recently published “A Managers Guide for Understanding and Managing Flowing Waters in Sagebrush Ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest”.  This publication is the culmination of a five-year effort by OSU, ARS, The Nature Conservancy, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and other partners to come up with a user-friendly and practical approach for assessing and managing riparian ecosystems. Riparian ecosystems are complex, but the reality is that they need to do two things well to be functional: 1) have adequate streamside vegetation and 2) have a functional channel.  In this publication we simplify riparian management by using those two properties as the basis for stream assessment and determining management needs.  A companion field guide will be available online and in print by the next edition of this newsletter.  Special thanks to Vanessa Schroeder for handling the details of review and publication, and for Michal Stauder for the associated video products. 

For this addition of the EOARC newsletter, our ARS employee spotlight focus is on Dr. Peter Olsoy.  Peter has been very active since joining the Burns team as a scientist last Spring.  He has already been successful in working with collaborators to secure a Joint Fire Sciences grant that will fund research looking at how we can use remote technologies such as drones and satellites to more efficiently characterize fuel amount and composition on rangelands. Rangeland research and management has changed dramatically during the last 10 years due to the advent of remote sensing technologies.  Peter’s fuels work, along with other projects he is pursuing will help the Burns location and the stakeholders we serve to use these technologies to better manage the large scale challenges like wildfire and invasive annual grasses that rangeland managers are facing across the sagebrush biome.  

Thank you to Shellie for all of your work in getting the newsletter together, and as always, please feel free to reach out to me any time we can be of help.

Chad Boyd
Research Leader, Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center, Burns
USDA-Agricultural Research Service

A Note from Cameron:


When people say that winter has crept up on them, they usually just mean that it has arrived too quickly. However, in Eastern Oregon winter sneaks down from the mountains, crawls down over the juniper covered foothills, and eventually descends into the valleys. I’ve been watching the frost slowly descend over the past month until it finally reached my doorstep. Though it hasn’t been as frigid as last year, the rain and freezing fog of the past few weeks makes me eager for days to start getting longer so I can watch winter turn around and begin to climb back up the hill.

While the humid and muddy conditions don’t make dog walking fun, it does bode well for the success of our newly installed seed technology demonstration. Our largest seed coating demo to date was installed at the end of September at the base of the Pueblo mountains using a standard range drill and coated seed of two workhorse species in Great Basin restoration, bluebunch wheatgrass and bottlebrush squirreltail. Many thanks to our partners at ARS the BLM, and the Oregon Desert Land Trust (ODLT) for innumerable hours of assistance with logistics, planning, and installation. With a little precipitation and a little luck, we hope to demonstrate the efficacy of herbicide protection in restoration activities using equipment and workflows typical of BLM activities.

We also were fortunate to participate in ODLT work planning and scoping activities for the coming year. We are excited be a part of the important conservation work at Trout Creek Ranch, including planned low-tech, process-based riparian restoration and virtual fence activities slated for the coming year. I look forward to watching this massive effort continue to evolve as the Land Trust applies principles of sustainable working lands conservation at the large scales characteristic western cattle operations.

I’m also excited to be kicking off a collaboration with the University of Montana and EOARC Union to conduct research on nontarget effects of the preemergent herbicide Rejuvra. While there has been much enthusiasm for and demonstrated promise of this preemergent herbicide to control invasive annual grasses while promoting existing native plants, we still do not understand the impact of Rejuvra on native seed banks and long-term plant community composition. While we know that this product is highly effective at reducing annual grass cover, ‘burning through’ annual grass seedbanks, and giving native bunchgrasses multiple years of growth opportunity with reduced competition from annuals, we do not understand how this positive effect balances out with potential reductions in native seedbanks and important food resource plants. With a focus on first foods and native perennial bunchgrasses, this project will help to quantify the recruitment dynamics in herbicided rangelands. Our results will inform foraging activities, refine herbicide best-use case recommendations, and allow producers to evaluate this new tool against other management options for annual grass control, such as dormant season grazing.

Have a safe, peaceful, and healthy holiday and please don’t hesitate to reach out if I can be of assistance!

Cameron Duquette
Rangeland Scientist, The Nature Conservancy

A Note from Bryan:


Greetings from Union and Happy New Year! It has not quite felt like winter around Union yet, but we will see what the new year brings.

In late October, Dr. Trace Martyn, joined our faculty and we are really thrilled to have her at the Station. Trace is a new tenure-track rangeland ecologist with a teaching and research appointment. She will be teaching several classes including Wildland Plant Identification and Rangeland Restoration and Management, in addition to developing a research program on rangeland ecology and restoration.  Trace is getting settled and is in the process of meeting faculty, partners, and stakeholders as she plans her research program. Be sure to reach out and welcome her to the team (trace.martyn@oregonstate.edu)!

In January, we are again partnering with OSU Extension as well as the Eastern Oregon Agricultural and Natural Resource Program at EOU to host a calving school at Union station for both producers as well as undergraduate students. Including students in extension programing provides great experiential learning opportunities for students, and we appreciate everyone’s willingness to create opportunities for both producers and students.  We also continue to maintain the Eastside Ecology Forum (EEF) in partnership with the Pacific Northwest Research Station. EEF is a biweekly seminar series for scientists, managers, natural resource practitioners and others to share and discuss research, projects, issues, and topics relevant to agriculture and natural resource in region. You can learn more about EFF, watch past presentations, and sign up for email notifications for upcoming talks on our website

We have a couple of new research efforts we are embarking upon in the coming months. We received a grant from the Oregon Water Enhancement Board (OWEB) to utilize virtual fence technology on the East Moraine Community Forest (EMCF), in Wallowa County.  The 1,791-acre property is located adjacent to Wallowa Lake and the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area. Wallowa County purchased the land in 2020 as a community property to be managed and showcased as a multi-use landscape. The EMCF hosts a multitude of plant and wildlife species, sustains a managed forest, serves as a grazing resource to livestock producers, and is visited by hundreds of people each year who navigate the six-mile-long trail system that overlooks majestic Wallowa Lake. We will be working with Wallowa County, OSU Extension, and Wallowa Resources to implement virtual fence technology to manage grazing at EMCF and this project will serve as a great showcase of this new and exciting technology.

We are also beginning new research on mule deer forage and habitat quality in partnership with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.  This five-year project will characterize mule deer forage quality and quantity in summer range in relation to ecological, management, disturbance, and environmental factors. As part of this work, we will hire new staff and bringing on at least one new graduate student. Stay tuned for updates as this project gets off the ground. 

I hope you all have a wonderful winter and please don’t hesitate to reach out anytime.

Bryan Endress
Assistant Director EOARC - Union

Stakeholder Spotlight - Tom Price


I am honored to be at the table and participate on the advisory committee of the EOARC at Union, Oregon.  I became familiar with the station in the mid 1970’s, when Dr. Marty Vavra was the Director of the station conducting research and gain testing bulls.  Now 50 years later under the current leadership, I envision a valuable research and training facility that could be recognized throughout the western landscape.

For those of you who don’t know me, I was raised in West Texas and New Mexico.  Our family was in the dairy and beef feeding businesses.  I graduated from Colorado State University with BS and MS degrees in animal science, with particular emphasis in animal breeding and physiology. After college I was employed by American Breeders Service and headquartered at the bull stud in Wisconsin.  For eight years I held various positions in the beef department traveling throughout North America and Latin America working with cattle breeders to develop bulls for AI service, and assisting ranchers to implement improved breeding programs. 

In 1982 my wife, Judy and I moved our family to Eastern Oregon where we started a new career.  Beginning in Pendleton and now in Baker City, Oregon, we operate InterWest Ranch and Farm Management, Inc., a management and consulting company.  Working throughout the western United States, we are engaged in assisting ranches and agribusinesses with ongoing management. Our emphasis has particularly been cow calf operations with holdings of private and public lands.  Our success in assisting these ranches has been a result of building trusting relationships with ranch owners, and finding and retaining high quality ranch managers and employees.  It has been a privilege to work with so many fine land owners, and to train and to be trained by talented employees. 

In the course of working with these cattle operations and because of my cattle breeding background, I started Price Cattle Company in 1984 with the objective of producing breeding bulls suited for large scale range operations.  Starting with an elite group of Angus heifers of Wye Plantation breeding, we have expanded our Angus program to include Simmental and Gelbvieh genetics to produce Composite Angus breeding stock.  We operate in several Oregon counties--summer in Union and Baker and winter in Morrow and Umatilla counties.  Each February we hold our annual bull and heifer sale, promoting cattle with genetic emphasis on maternal traits, structural soundness, and marbling.

Ranching and conservation practices go hand in hand. The love of our natural resources and their protection is a passion for most of us in agricultural production.  Over the years I have been privileged to serve in various capacities to help conserve wildlife and their habitat. 

For past 16 years I have served as Chairman of the Northwest Rangeland Trust.  Originally named the Oregon Rangeland Trust and supported by the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, we have expanded to include the states of Washington and Idaho.  Together with other talented members of the board including Co-chairman Bob Skinner and Executive Director Frank O’Leary, we have protected working landscapes by creating Conservation Easements on numerous ranches and farms.  These Conservation Easements are established to keep agricultural land in production and out of the grips of industrial and concrete development.  The benefits to individual landowners are not only financial but also knowing they are protecting the land in perpetuity for the love of agriculture, open space, wildlife, and recreation. 

My association with conservation organizations dates back to 1994 when I became an active regular member of the Boone and Crockett Club (B&C) headquartered in Missoula, Montana.  The B&C Club is now associated with numerous universities throughout the United States.  B&C has been a leader in the conservation arena since its founding by Theodore Roosevelt in 1887.  I have served as Conservation Chairman and now privileged to serve in the leadership role to present the B&C Conservation Stewardship Award to a deserving recipient during the North American Wildlife and Natural Resource Conference. 

Helping young people is a role we all know is important for our future.  I have found no better place to devote attention and resources than the Washington Family Ranch near Antelope, Oregon.  Most cattlemen will remember it as the Big Muddy Ranch once owned by the Rajneesh cult.  It is now owned by Young Life, a Christian organization headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The Outdoor Board of Directors of which I am a part, oversees the agricultural operations and recreational programs that benefit the kids and the environment.  This 64,000-acre ranch is not only a cattle ranch and beautiful natural resource within the John Day River corridor, more importantly it is a camp for kids to learn the story and good news of Jesus Christ.  Every year thousands of youngsters visit the camp for one week and begin a journey that can forever keep them grounded.  

My experience living and working in Eastern Oregon has been a blessing.  I am passionate about rural America where we have great neighbors and friendships are quickly made.  Having Eastern Oregon University and the Union EOARC nearby are wonderful assets to be developed and improved for the future of agriculture and our children. This endeavor needs our attention and support.  


October 31, 2023


Office Trick or Treat Parade.

OSU President Jayathi Murthy

Oregon State University President Jayathi Murthy; Katie Fast, OSU Executive Director of Government Relations; Staci Simonich, OSU Dean of College of Agricultural Sciences; Jen Humphreys, OSU Exec Assistant to Vice Provost for Student Affairs; and Rob Odom, OSU Vice President of University Relations and Marketing visited the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center (Burns and Union) while touring through Eastern Oregon. Murthy had interactive discussions with university staff, scientists, and stakeholders at both stations.  





EOARC Burns: In photo, left to right - OSU President Jayathi Murthy, Juliana Ranches, Petrina White, Stacy Davies, Skip Nyman, David Bohnert, Katie Wollstein, Katie Fast, Vanessa Schroeder, Dustin Johnson, Matheus Ferreira, Shane Otley, Shellie Tiller, Staci Simonich, Jen Humphreys, Rob Odom, and Michael Stauder.





EOARC Union: In photo, left to right - Jen Humphreys, Jeff Fields (TNC), Eric Quaempts (CTUIR), Rob Odom, Darren Clark (ODFW), Jayathi Murthy (OSU President), Brian Endress, Pat Kennedy, Katie Fast and Staci Simonich.





Trace Martyn - OSU 

Trace Martyn joined EOARC–Union Experiment Station in November 2023 as a new Assistant Professor of Rangeland Science at OSU. She divides her time between Union station and the OSU Agriculture and Natural Resource Program at Eastern Oregon University where she will teach classes including Wildland Plant ID and Restoration Ecology and Management in the upcoming Spring 2024 quarter. Her background includes a degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State, Botany from the University of Wyoming, and Theoretical Ecology from the University of Queensland. She has also worked for the Shortgrass Steppe LTER, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the University of Arizona, and the Yale School of the Environment.

Trace is a plant community ecologist whose research has spanned understanding complex plant-plant interactions, modeling climate impacts on plant communities, quantifying impacts of granivory on seed-based restoration, and exploring the utilization of novel/under-used restoration practices such as seedballs and rock structures. She loves dryland systems and has worked in rangelands around the US and the world including: the shortgrass steppe in Colorado; sagebrush in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana; the Sonoran Desert in Arizona; the puña alpine grasslands in Peru; and the York gum-jam woodlands in Western Australia. 

Trace is currently building her research program at EOARC–Union. She hopes that her work can support sustainable and resilient rangelands through: (1) understanding the impacts of biotic (e.g. invasive plants) and abiotic (e.g. drought and heatwaves) disturbance on rangelands and (2) increasing the success of restoration through combining local ecological knowledge, theoretical modeling, and a breadth of restoration techniques/technologies. This is Trace’s first time living and working (and really being in) Oregon and she is excited to get to know the local landscapes and communities.

A couple of projects she is currently working on:
-    Interested in understanding the impacts of climate on big sagebrush growth, she is exploring correlations between annual big sagebrush ring growth and climate variables with collaborators at USGS and Yale School of the Environment. 
-    Curious about potential biases in different sampling efforts and techniques, she is currently working on building a raster-based simulated landscape with graduate students at Yale School of the Environment to explore these biases. She is building a simulation plant community and exploring how sampling via line-point intercept and visual cover estimation (e.g. Daubenmire quadrats) varies in the ability to capture species of certain covers (e.g. a large sagebrush versus a small annual forb), densities (i.e. few, rare plants vs many plants), and spatial distribution (i.e. randomly placed or spatially clustered/inhomogeneous).

When not coding at the computer or in the field, Trace enjoys taking getting out into nature and taking lots of photos (predominately of plants) as well as painting and restoring figurines.

Trace enjoys working with a variety of partners to address rangeland ecology management and restoration challenges. She is more than happy to meet and chat so please feel free to reach out to her at trace.martyn@oregonstate.edu.

Peter Olsoy - ARS


Greetings! I joined ARS-Burns in May 2023 as a Research Ecologist. Before that I was a postdoc in Boise, Idaho, and earned my PhD in Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences in 2019 from Washington State University.

My research focus involves testing and applying geospatial tools to address various rangeland management challenges. I’m a Co-PI on a project with USGS and OSU to develop methods to manage wildfire fuels along potential control locations (PCLs), where I am using drones to map vegetation structure and quantify volume and biomass of fuels. Additionally, I am interested in mapping invasive plant species with drones for early detection and occurrence of a wide range of weeds like cheatgrass, bur buttercup, medusahead, Russian thistle, and more. I’m currently wrapping up a project with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife on habitat selection, habitat monitoring, and management of greater sage-grouse, and I’m seeking collaborators in Oregon for future sage-grouse projects.

Outside of work I enjoy hiking and looking for wildlife, particularly birds. In my first 6 months living in Harney County, I’ve explored all the way from Myrtle Creek in Malheur NF to the Steens, ventured down to Fields for a milkshake, and drove out on the Alvord Desert. I try to find a new place to explore each weekend. At home, I have a 15-year-old long-haired dachshund named Charlie (pictured) and a 9-year-old cat named Misty.

If you’d like to discuss any of my projects, or have any ideas or applications related to drones or remote sensing in rangelands, feel free to reach out to me at peter.olsoy@usda.gov. I’m always happy to learn more about research and management needs.


In Remembrance - Ralph Daniel Hart

Mr. Ralph Hart, Union County Livestock Agent from 1969 to 1989 and
OSU Diamond Pioneer, passed away September 2, 2023.
EOARC remembers and recognizes his commitment to agriculture,
extension, and the youth of NE Oregon. 

Outreach, Educational Activities & More


Threat Based Management for Creeks, Streams & Rivers






New Management Guide Available - The publication "A Managers Guide for Understanding and Managing Flowing Waters in Sagebrush Ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest" is now available online through OSU Extension's website and hard copies will be available in early January 2024.  A link to the PDF is also available below in our Recent Publications.








OSU Cascades Field Day - We had a great time at the end of October with OSUCascades Intro to Natural Resources class. Students got a chance to learn about different topics in rangeland ecology and management from researchers at EOARC Burns. After an introduction to the Northern Great Basin Experimental Range, the students were sent off to learn about soils and carbon dynamics with Erik Hamerlynck and Rory O’Connor.  After “getting the dirt on carbon”, the students learned how to identify and monitor Great Basin plants by our amazing botanist Lori Ziegenhagen.  During lunch the students were able to ask questions about Great Basin ecology, what jobs are available in natural resources and how to get those jobs. After lunch the students learned about how to classify and manage landscapes using Threat-Based Land Management with Vanessa Schroeder and Dustin Johnson. The students really enjoyed the opportunity to get out into the field, do hands-on learning, and ask questions. OSU Cascades is teaching a great group of future natural resource professionals!



Youth Heifer Replacement Program Update - Since the last update, Cara has helped with bangs vaccination of our replacement heifers (which included L554) and she has been to the station multiple other times to work on halter breaking L554, putting the program tag into its ear, and is making excellent progress toward getting her heifer ready for the 2024 Harney County Fair.
Steer-a-Year - EOARC Burns sent one of our steers to campus for the Steer-a-Year program.  Special thanks to Roaring Springs Ranch, Hammond Ranches, and Southworth Bros. Ranch for also sending cattle. 
Threat Based Strategic Conservation - We had a great time working with the Prineville LIT (local implementation team) on Dec 12th to address Threat Based Strategic Conservation. We talked through the importance of scale in strategic collaboration and conservation, and as a group assessed the ecological, administrative and social considerations needed to enable success. What's Threat Based Strategic Conservation you ask? Learn more here: https://beav.es/qes.   

Recent Publications

Fire Needs Annual Grasses More Than Annual Grasses Need Fire
Smith, Joseph T., B.W. Allred, C.S. Boyd, K.W. Davies, A.R. Kleinhesselink, S.L. Morford, D.E. Naugle

Rangeland Ecosystem Services: Connecting Nature and People
Goodwin, Jeff, L. Porensky, P. Meiman, H. Wilmer, R. O'Connor et al
Rangeland Ecosystem Services: Connecting Nature and People

Biocrusts Indicators of Livestock Grazing Effects on Soil Stability in Sagebrush Steppe:
A Case Study from a Long-Term Experiment in the Northern Great Basin

Copeland, Stella M., L.A. Condon, R. Rosentreter, J.E.D. Miller, M. Kahn-Abrams

Grazing Intensity Effects on Herbaceous Community Composition in Burned Sagebrush Steppe
Bates, Jon D., K.W. Davies

Effects of Annual Weather Variation on Peak Herbaceous Yield Date in Sagebrush Steppe
Bates, Jon D., D.D. Johnson, K.W. Davies, T. Svejcar, S. Hardegree

Oregon Beef Council Report
Bohnert, David W., J. Ranches, D.D. Johnson, B. Endress 
OBC Report 2023 Edition.

Testing the Hierarchy of Predictability in Grassland Restoration Across a Gradient of Environmental Severity
Bertuol-Garcia, Diana, E. Ladouceur, L.A. Brudvig, D.C. Laughlin, S.M. Munson, M.F. Curran,
K.W. Davies, L.N. Svejcar, N. Shackelford

A Managers Guide for Understanding and Managing Flowing Waters in Sagebrush Ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest
D. Renner, J. Cupples, J. Austin, T. Barnes, C. Boyd, D. Johnson, V. Schroeder and A. Tyson
Threat-based Management for Creeks, Streams and Rivers



It’s always good to be thinking about preparing for wildfire. Check out the Extension Fire Program’s webinars, readiness checklists, and other resources related to wildfire preparedness here.

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