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Study Says Sagebrush Landscapes Retain Snow Longer

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A new report says removing invasive junipers from sagebrush landscapes helps snow remain longer in the spring.

The Sage Grouse Initiative, which is led by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, based its report on research done by the Agricultural Research Service of the Department of Agriculture. During a six-year study in Idaho, researchers found that in juniper-dominated areas, snow was spread evenly and tended to melt uniformly. But in sagebrush, snow was blown into deep drifts, where it remained an average of nine days longer. The researchers say this increases late-season stream flow and benefits plants, wildlife and livestock.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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