Tuesday, November 14, 2006 - 11:30 AM

Resiliency of Improved Grasses to Mechanized Training at the Yakima Training Center, Washington.

Timothy Cary, USA-CRREL, U.S. Army Eng Res & Dev Ctr CRREL, 72 Lyme Road, Hanover, NH 03755, Antonio Palazzo, ERDC-CRREL, 72 Lyme Rd, Hanover, NH 03755, Damon Roberts, U.S. Army-Yakima Training Center, 321 North 27th Avenue, 321 North 27th Avenue, Yakima, WA 98902, United States of America, Kevin Jensen, USDA-ARS-FRRL, 695 N 1100 E, Logan, UT 84322-6300, and Blair Waldron, USDA-ARS, For. & Rng. Res. Laboratory, Logan, UT 84322-6300.

The Department of Defense (DoD) must constantly balance its military mission and its commitment to stewardship on millions of acres of ranges and training lands. The military mission requires that vegetation, primarily grasses, be as resilient as possible to maintain realism and control soil erosion. Military training installations are some of the most intensively used lands in the United States, and military vehicular traffic is very destructive to vegetation. Damage to vegetation may, in turn, lead to soil erosion, sedimentation of streams and lakes, loss of training realism, and reductions in the carrying capacity of the land. In June 2005, we tracked three year old demonstration plots at Yakima Training Center with the Army’s wheeled combat vehicle (Stryker) to make straight tracks of 0, 1, and 4 passes perpendicular to rows of SERDP-improved germplasms and their currently available counterparts. We sampled several soil and plant parameters before and after tracking to determine resiliency of the improved grasses.  Preliminary results show that as tracking levels increase, soil compaction levels decrease with a decrease in plant cover.