Spring 2024



A Note from Dave:

Happy Spring to everyone!! Here in Burns the grass is starting to grow, we have Sandhill cranes in abundance, and the Canada geese are starting to arrive. Seems Spring is a bit earlier, and the precipitation pattern a bit different, than last year, but the moisture we have received will allow for adequate irrigation of our meadows and filling of water holes on the desert. Thankfully, calving conditions in 2024 have been much better than many people dealt with in Eastern Oregon in 2023.

EOARC was well represented at the Society for Range Management (SRM) annual meeting in Reno, NV January 28 to February 1.  Related, special thanks to Bryan Endress who organized and prepared the materials for the SRM Accreditation visit for the Range Program at OSU in the Animal and Rangeland Sciences Department.  This was not a small task!!  The OSU Range Program met all the minimum standards for accreditation – great job Bryan and the rest of the range faculty and programs at OSU.

Some additional events that EOARC was involved with recently include our annual EOARC Burns Advisory/Liaison Committee Meeting on February 12.  We had great attendance and awesome feedback from the committee.  We were also a participant at the High Desert Partnership’s 2nd Annual Youth Changing the Community Collaborative Career Fair.  The focus of this event was to share career opportunities and educational processes with high school students to help them achieve their future goals and potential pathways that can realistically lead them to jobs in Eastern Oregon.  In addition, in late March we held the annual EOARC Burns Artificial Insemination School for beef cattle in which we provided 3 days of training and instruction to students from across Oregon and Washington who all completed the course and received certificates of completion – I want to note a special thanks to Select Sires Member Cooperative and AgWest Farm Credit for the support and sponsorship.

EOARC received some awesome news from the college recently related to funding.  OSU and the College of Agricultural Sciences informed Bryan and I that we were successful in procuring $800K in Capital Improvement and Renovation funding for infrastructure projects at EOARC Union.

This edition’s Stakeholder Spotlight is Garth Fuller, the Eastern Oregon Conservation Director for The Nature Conservancy.  He has been a key partner, collaborator, and friend of EOARC for almost 20 years.  Garth is active in numerous natural resource projects and initiatives and is a valued member of the EOARC Burns Advisory Committee.

On a sad note, EOARC lost a long-time member of our family.  Kenny Fite passed away on Feb. 19th at his house near Union doing what he loved – working with his cattle.  He retired from OSU as the EOARC Union Beef Herd Manager in 2019.  He will be missed and our thoughts are with Kenny Mark, Ryan, Lori, and the rest of the Fite family.

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.  Life is good in the Harney Basin at the moment with plenty of water spread across the meadows and more to come off, and decent green-up ongoing in the uplands.  I hope your winter and calving season have gone well.
I enjoyed seeing many of you at our stakeholder meeting in Burns this past February.  We are very appreciative of the fact that our stakeholder committee has been an integral part of the success of EOARC and it was great to have the opportunity to highlight our current activities and listen to your thoughts on ongoing and emerging management and science needs.  

For the second year in a row we were lucky to have the annual Society for Range Management (SRM) meeting within driving distance (Reno) and it was great to see many of you there.  EOARC was well-represented with nearly 15 employees in attendance and a multitude of invited research talks and workshops (see “Outreach and Educational Activities” section below).  One concerning point at this year’s meeting was that while ARS was well represented, some other federal agencies have been limiting staff participation.  I hope this trend reverses itself as the annual SRM meeting is a fantastic opportunity for these folks to interact with range professionals across the nation, and for us to talk with these customers about their management challenges and plan our science to help address those needs.

At the end of February I traveled back to Reno to participate in the Reno ARS stakeholder meeting. Charlie Clements has recently taken over the duties as Research Leader for the Reno ARS location and has done an outstanding job energizing the location staff and rekindling stakeholder outreach.  The Burns and Reno locations have considerable overlap in both research focus and stakeholder needs and we are looking forward to collaborating with them on future projects.   

Looking forward, EOARC will be hosting two range camps at the Northern Great Basin Experimental Range.  The first, Science in the Sagebrush Steppe (a.k.a. “College Range Camp”), is a 3-day learning experience open to colleges throughout the Pacific Northwest.  If all students who have committed (64 total) show up we should be at or surpass record attendance.  The second camp will be what we are calling “Range Camp for Working Professionals”, which will be similar to our college camp but with more of a topical focus on continuing education.  I want to give a shout out to Karen Moon and Angie Ketcher who kindly volunteer their time to assemble menus, buy groceries, and cook at these events.  They hit it out of the park every time and “range camp” just wouldn’t be the same without them. 

Speaking of shout-outs, a big thank you to Garth Fuller with The Nature Conservancy, who is featured in this addition’s Stakeholder Spotlight.  Garth has been a huge supporter of EOARC and valued collaborator for many years.  He has played a key leadership role in enabling a variety of EOARC research and outreach programs.  And finally, thank you to Tammi, Lyle, Lynn, and Jorge (see below highlighted employees) for all you do on a daily basis to keep both EOARC and the research range running smoothly.  Your efforts are much appreciated. 

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:

A flush of sagebrush buttercup and a borderline unsettling amount of snow geese are reliable harbingers of spring in Burns. This also means that our field season is fast approaching, which is both exciting and terrifying. This year, the Burns TNC crew will focus on installing and monitoring more field trials of our carbon seed coatings, as well as kicking off a new study looking at nontarget effects of Indaziflam on plant communities. In conjunction with OSU, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR), and Umontana, we will investigate how this preemergent herbicide influences aboveground plant cover and density, seedbank dynamics, and toxicity across a gradient of soil type and annual grass invasion. These efforts will inform herbicide use case guidance around important first foods areas and will help us understand the benefits and impacts of this management tool on native plant recovery.

I have the pleasure of introducing TWO new members of the Burns TNC crew this month. First up, Anna Hosford is returning to the EOARC as our Mesic Restoration Specialist. Anna is no stranger to the EOARC, as she is originally from Burns and has worked previously for TNC as a member of our Innovative Restoration team. Anna will soon be graduating from Oregon State University with a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences with a specialization in traditional ecological knowledge. In Anna’s spare time she likes hunting, fishing, gardening, and adventuring with her dog Koda. Prior to her return to TNC, she worked with the US Forest Service in their fisheries department. In Anna’s new role, she will be focused on the design, implementation, and monitoring of a suite of riparian restoration projects in Southeast Oregon. This work will use low-tech, process-based solutions such as beaver dam analogues to reconnect floodplains in incised stream corridors to restore riparian corridor structure and function. 

We are also excited to welcome India Simons to our team as an Innovative Restoration Field Technician. Hailing from Dallas, TX, India received a BS in Sustainable Agriculture from UC Davis, and has since been working in a horticulture and precision agriculture lab. In her spare time, India enjoys gardening, hiking, cooking, and nature. Her wealth of knowledge and passion will be a huge asset this summer as we continue installing and monitoring scaled up demos of our herbicide protection seed coating work. 

As always, please reach out to cameron.duquette@tnc.org if there’s anything I can do for you!

Cameron Duquette
Rangeland Scientist, The Nature Conservancy

A Note from Bryan:


Greetings from Union!  As the seasons turn yet again, we are gearing up for another busy field season. On the personnel side, Dr. Trace Martyn has settled in and has been busy planning her research program, meeting partners and collaborators, and preparing for her first term teaching Rangeland Sciences classes. We are all really excited to see how her program develops! 

This Spring, we will continue to grow as more staff and students join Union. In May, Maya Kahn-Abrams will begin her position as a Faculty Research Assistant. She will be focus on the ecology and management of culturally significant rangeland plants in collaboration with our Tribal, agency, and non-profit partners. This is a grant-funded position that will provide much-needed research and outreach support for this rapidly growing program. She comes from the University of Washington, where she is just completing her Master’s degree in Plant Ecology. 

We also welcome a new Rangeland Sciences PhD student, Hla Naing. Hla hails from Mynmar and his dissertation research will focus on landscape patterns of mule deer forage availability and quality as part of our collaborative research with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. While Hla may be new to the area, he brings a wealth of experience on wildlife management, habitat modelling, and plant-ungulate interactions. Finally, we continue to partner with the Eastern Oregon Agriculture and Natural Resource Program and will be hosting 3 undergraduate interns over the next several months.  

On the infrastructure side, we continue to make updates and improvements. The Native Plant Research Propagation Facility should be finished this summer, and both Trace and I eagerly await its completion so that we can begin planned research on seed ecology, germination, and plant restoration.  We have also received generous support from the College of Agricultural Sciences to update infrastructure across the station including HVAC improvements to our office and a much-needed remodel of the ‘granary’ which is a critical space that supports our farm and beef cattle operations. We are excited about the changes and appreciate the support of the College in updating and improving the infrastructure at the Station! 

Take care and please do not hesitate to reach out at any time,

Bryan Endress
Assistant Director EOARC - Union

Stakeholder Spotlight - Garth Fuller


The Nature Conservancy (TNC) first teamed up with the EOARC thirty years ago, starting what has been a long-standing cooperative approach to addressing the challenges of sustainable management and restoration of sage-steppe ecosystems in rangelands of eastern Oregon. 

My own history in this relationship started in 2004, when I became the Eastern Oregon Conservation Director for TNC. I had been working for TNC in the Midwest and Great Plains, learning the ropes on prairie and woodland management and restoration. Building partnerships to tackle cross-boundary projects, controlled burning, weed treatments and reseeding grasslands occupied my mind and hands. Moving to Oregon, I supervised our conservation on working land efforts at places like the Zumwalt Prairie Preserve, where our grazing and stream restoration work stretches for more than 30,000 acres and plants and wildlife can thrive along with cattle. Before working for TNC I had completed an MS in Sustainable Development and Conservation, and I enjoyed the opportunity to stretch into larger landscapes and include more public land management considerations into our projects.

By 2006 our organizations (TNC, OSU, and ARS) had solidified shared commitments to using science and an evidence-based approach to support sound management decisions and TNC added a staff position at the Burns Station. We now have 4 full time staff, and several seasonal positions supporting this work. Successful fund-raising efforts advanced projects that have ranged from supporting the Threats-based management guide to innovations in seed coating technologies where staff members from our organizations form cross-cutting teams to work together on shared objectives. 

A favorite EOARC memory of mine comes from my early days on the Burns Advisory Committee. I think it was in 2011 when Tony Svejcar (the ARS Research Leader at the time) invited me to accompany he and Chad Boyd to attend the USDA’s Pasture, Forage, and Rangeland Systems Customer Workshop along with fellow Advisory Committee member Mark Doverspike. I didn’t think we were an unlikely pair of “customers”, but you should have seen the confusion on some people’s faces when we sat at the table with ranchers and public land managers and asked for the same investments in agency resources to tackle our shared priorities. It was an interesting time.  

The team members from our organizations have changed over the years, but our shared sense of purpose and commitment remains strong. If you are interested in seeing evidence of this progression over the years, check out this publication from 1994 that name-drops TNC on the last page and this great video clip that highlights Chad’s narrator skills in explaining the current challenges and possible solutions related to annual invasive grasses, herbicides and seed coating technologies. 

I have learned a tremendous amount from the scientists and staff at the EOARC and the members of the Advisory Committee. The greatest lesson to date is that working together is our best chance to succeed in the quest of building and sustaining resilient rangelands in eastern Oregon, for people and nature.

OSU Employee Spotlight

Lyle Black - Trades/Maintenance Worker

It’s always said “A jack of all trades and a master of none.” Lyle is, however, a master of most. Lyle never takes short cuts and refuses to do things anyway but properly and completely! I have known Lyle for forty years and have rarely ever witnessed a task or project that he did not know how to do and do well.  Lyle and his wife Connie have two children, Jeff and Rebecca, and many grandchildren. Lyle loves spending time with his family. Lyle is the best Grandpa in the business! He enjoys taking his kids and grandkids hunting and exploring and has attended many of the sporting events that they have participated in. Lyle has worked at EOARC-Burns for 20 years.  He has been an invaluable asset to the station and dear friend to most of us.  We are lucky to have him and we hope he keeps working another 10 plus years!!

Lynn Carlon - Biological Sciences Research Technician

Lynn has lived and worked at the Northern Great Basin Experimental Range for nearly all of the 25 years she's been with EOARC. This is a very remote and challenging place to work and live and she has enjoyed every minute of it. Lynn has been a steady and true asset to the station. She has watered cattle, built fences, graded roads, and helped with countless trials and research. While she is most at home in the saddle, checking and moving cattle, she also finds time to sew, camp, and spend time with her family.  Lynn has three adult children: Mathew, Mark, and a daughter, Brandy, as well as three grandchildren. Lynn also has many animals ranging from several trustworthy dogs to curious goats.  You must open doors cautiously as there could be calves, baby pigs or chickens in there.

Jorge Lopez - Trades/Maintenance Worker

Jorge has worked for EOARC-Burns for three years.  He has been invaluable and is an excellent worker.  Jorge has been involved in all aspects of the station from cattle feeding and processing, to carpentry, concrete, and building repair and construction.  Jorge has been very helpful with building and maintaining the station. For example, one of his first projects for us was to build a drive through wash station.  If there is something he is unfamiliar with, he gets online and teaches himself. He seems to really enjoy making furniture also. We are delighted to have him! Jorge has three children with his wife Vicky.

ARS Employee Spotlight 

              Tammi Holliday - Program Support Assistant

Hello, my name is Tammi Holliday. I started in June of 2023 as the Program Support Assistant for USDA-ARS. Purchasing, payroll, orientation and onboarding of new employees are a few of my responsibilities.  I'm learning more and more every day. I’m very excited to be here and be part of the EOARC team. I know I have so much to learn and am up for the challenge.

I grew up in Burns and six days after high school graduation, moved away, thinking that I would never want to come back. I lived in various locations though out Oregon and ended up in the Willamette Valley. In 2015, Harney County started becoming the place I wanted to come back to. It took a few years, but in 2017 everything fell into place and within a month we sold our house (24 hours on the market!), bought one in Hines, and were traveling over the mountain one more time to come home. My husband, daughter, and I love being here. The adjustment from city to country was a really easy one for us.

When I’m not working, I keep busy with going on vacations (they are my favorite) to hopefully someplace warm and with a beach, gardening, and hiking around to see the beauty that Harney County offers that I don’t remember as a child.


 Congratulations Dr. Rory O'Connor - SRM Outstanding Young Range Professional Award

Dr. Rory O’Connor has built an impactful research program addressing topical rangeland management challenges impacting the western US and beyond.  His work on woody plant expansion in prairie ecosystems serves as a framework for managers to incorporate both fire and grazing in shrub management plans.  His ecological drought research is used to help guide post-fire Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation efforts on sagebrush rangelands and is a component of the Land Treatment Exploration Tool.  Dr. O’Connor’s current research as a Rangeland Ecologist with USDA-Agricultural Research Service in Burns, OR includes linking plant physiological traits with plant materials development, development of a “Carbon Security Index” for envisioning rangeland carbon as a dynamic resource and for adjusting management practices to increase likelihood of carbon retention over time, and he and colleagues provided the first peer review-published research on the practical application of virtual fencing systems on sagebrush rangelands.  Dr. O’Connor is consistently sought out by land managers, producers, and policy makers as a science professional capable of translating his research into tangible management direction.  Within SRM he serves as an Associate Editor for REM, a Director for the PNW Section, has organized multiple sessions at annual meetings, is past President of the Young Professionals Conclave, helped organize local high school range camps, and served eight years as a member of the Student Activities Committee.  Dr. O’Connor’s contributions to rangeland science/management and service to SRM and the professional world around him, make him more than deserving of the SRM Outstanding Young Range Professional Award. 

•     Dr. O’Connor developed a “Carbon Security Index” for envisioning rangeland carbon as a dynamic resource and for adjusting management practices to increase likelihood of carbon retention over time.

•    Dr. O’Connor and colleagues provided the first peer review-published research on the practical application of virtual fencing systems on sagebrush rangelands.  This work has expanded to include the use of virtual fencing systems to manage livestock use of riparian areas, use of livestock grazing for strategic fuels management, and management of post-fire grazing in burned sagebrush landscapes.

•    The work of Dr. O’Connor and colleagues is creating a new paradigm of plant materials development by incorporating physiological traits into the selection process.

•    Within SRM, Dr. O’Connor serves as an Associate Editor for REM, as a Director for the PNW Section, has organized multiple sessions at annual meetings, is past President of the Young Professionals Conclave, helped organize local high school range camps, and worked tirelessly for 8 years as a member of the Student Activities Committee.  

•    Dr. O’Connor enjoys mentoring and views it as an important activity within research and rangeland science. He has mentored 4 undergraduate research projects, 5 Masters-level student research projects, and is currently serving on a Masters student graduate committee.


In Remembrance - Kenny Fite






Kenny Fite’s life was marked by his commitment to ranching, proudly managing the EOARC Union cow herd, and leaving a lasting legacy in the industry. His integrity, strength, and dedication to family were the cornerstones of his life, making him an exemplary friend, husband, father, and grandfather.  He will be missed.  







Outreach, Educational Activities & More


Calving School - Chuck Estill, Dr. David Bohnert, and Dr. Juliana Ranches hosted a Calving School in Burns, Oregon, on January 25. During the program, the participants learned about the calving process and nutrition and management strategies for a successful calving season. During the hands-on portion of the program, participants learned how to properly deliver a calf in an abnormal position, which can affect about 5% of births.  The Calving school was also hosted in Union on January 26 with Chuck Estill, Dr. Juliana Ranches, Will Price, Peter Schreder and Francine Czerniawski. Over the weekend, more than 30 participants joined the program.  




Society of Range Management Annual Meeting - This past February, 14 EOARC employees traveled to Reno, NV to participate in the Annual Meeting of the Society for Range Management.  The annual SRM meeting is a great opportunity to get out the word on current EOARC research and outreach activities through oral and poster presentations, networking with colleagues from around the West, and by having a selection of recent print and video publications available at our EOARC booth in the Trade Show (see picture).  A highlight of this year was Rory O’Connor receiving the Outstanding Young Range Professional Award at the Awards Ceremony (see write-up above). Congratulations Rory!



Advisory/Liason Meeting - 2024 Annual Advisory/Liason meeting was held February 12th.  OSU and ARS both provided budget, personnel and programmatic updates as well as science and outreach updates.  Carbon and methane research and Threat Based Management Guide for Creeks, Streams and Rivers were spotlight topics.
Threat-Based Strategic Conservation - March 7, we (EOARC and Institute of Natural Resources) had the privilege of engaging with the Lakeview LIT and the TCC collaborative for a Threat-Based Strategic Conservation workshop. By the end of the day the group was well on its way to collaboratively producing a spatial strategy for maintaining/growing core sagebrush rangelands in a 2.98 million acre planning area. The group had great conversations around the relative urgency of future management activities and started to reflect on what social and administrative conditions needed in order to act.  https://sageshare.org/strategic-conservation/
Career Day - Youth Changing the Community Collaborative, a group organized by High Desert Partnership, held a Career Fair for Harney County high school students on March 14th.  This event was held at the Harney County Fairgrounds where students were able to engage with colleges, government agencies and private industry.
AI School - March 26-28 we held a 3 day workshop covering reproductive management of cattle.  Ag West Farm Credit and Select Sires Member Cooperative helped sponsor this workshop where participants learned bovine reproductive anatomy and physiology, artificial insemination (AI), estrus synchronization and gestational nutrition.  Every day there was live cow practice to provide intense training on AI and proper semen handling. 

Recent Publications

Drought Response in Herbaceous Plants: A test of the Integrated Framework of Plant Form and Function
Funk, Jennifer L., J.E. Larson, M.D. Blair, M.A. Nguyen, B.J. Rivera

Extreme Drought Impacts have been Underestimated in Grasslands and Shrublands Globally
Smith, Melinda D., K.D. Wilkins, M.C. Holdrege, R.C. O’Connor, et al.

Demography with Drones: Detecting Growth and Survival of Shrubs with Unoccupied Aerial Systems
Olsoy, Peter J., A. Zaiats, D.M. Delparte, M.J. Germino, B.A. Richardson, et al.

Spring-Applied Treatments Offer Another Window of Opportunity for Revegetation of Annual Grass−Invaded Rangelands
Davies, Kirk W., V.M. Schroeder, D.D. Johnson, L.N. Svejcar, D.R. Clenet

Effects of Electrolyte Supplementation on Performance and Physiological Responses of Preconditioning Beef Calves
Ferreira, Matheus F.L., G.P. Hernandez, A.C.R. Santos, D.W. Bohnert, N. Upah, J. Ranches

Wyoming Big Sagebrush Transplant Survival and Growth Affected by Age, Season of Planting, and Competition
Holfus, Corinna M., C.S. Boyd, R.C. Rios, K.W. Davies, S.M. Copeland, R. Mata-Gonzales

Long-Term Effects of Revegetation Efforts in Annual Grass−Invaded Rangeland
Davies, Kirk W., C.S. Boyd, L.N. Svejcar, D.R. Clenet



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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