Kert, R. Young, Rangeland Brush Management Specialist
Department Affiliation: Animal and Range Sciences Department, Extension Animal Sciences & Natural Resources
I started in mid-January 2016 as the Ext Rangeland Brush & Weed Specialist for NM. My experience with invasive plants began on our farm in western Idaho where we raised beef and dairy cows. Later, college and work experience would continue my relationship with invasive plants. I studied rangeland related coursework at Treasure Valley Community College, Eastern Oregon University, Oregon State University, and Brigham Young University. My research work during graduate school focused on brush and weed ecology and management. I had the opportunity to work with several plant species especially juniper, piÃ±on, cheatgrass, medusahead, bluebunch wheatgrass, and squirreltail. I practiced my training as a licensed professional pesticide applicator for Washington County in Idaho where thistles were a common target among other noxious weeds.
My natural resource work continued as a rangeland management specialist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in southern Idaho. I served the public by working with private landowners to develop resource management plans and apply best management practices to conserve natural resources. Some of the improvement projects I worked on included revegetation, livestock water development, fencing, confined animal feeding operations, rotational grazing plans, irrigation systems, wetland restoration, wildlife habitat, and biological weed control. I listened to local landowner concerns and engaged the public at soil and water conservation district meetings and cattleman association meetings.
Most recently, I worked as an NMSU Assistant Research Professor (postdoctoral) under direction of the USDA Agricultural Research Service, Jornada Experimental Range. I led development of the Chihuahuan Desert Rapid Ecoregional Assessment funded by the Bureau of Land Management. In these landscape assessments, we synthesized current scientific understanding of the ecological structure and function of the ecoregion and the effect of ecological drivers (e.g., invasive plants, climate change, grazing, human use, urban and industrial growth, fire, and restoration practices) on the condition of several ecosystems and wildlife species. We used conceptual models, structured decision making, geospatial layers, and narratives to discuss the ecology and management of the ecoregion and address land management questions.