NATIONAL RANGE INVENTORY (NRI)
An extended agreement with NRCS increasing the program funding, finds the District on its fourth year providing assistance in the USDA National Rangeland Inventory (NRI) program. This program is federally mandated throughout the nation. The District provides assistance in the form of surveying and documenting designated points in southern California. Each point is an onsite data collection for grazing and range inventory. Each point is surveyed via 150 foot transects to collect environmental data including but not limited to plant life, land cover/use, landscape and soils, disturbance indicators and biomass/production, cover, density, and height. Points are revisited every 5 years.
The NRI program season resides in the spring and summer between the months of March and September, with annual training usually in February. Due to the Covid restrictions the NRI program was halted in the summer and fall of 2020. As the program is seasonal the months from winter of 2020 to March of 2021 were relatively quiet. In March of 2021with the annual training completed in February,to the end of June 2021 the NRI team was able to complete eight points, traveling hundreds of miles in not only San Bernardino County but Riverside and Imperial Counties as well,with many points requiring overnight stays. Some of the site points were desolate requiring hiking long distances to reach. The excessive heat and smoke from the many fires in California forced the field work to be relegated to early mornings and evenings for the safety of the team. With the two-year agreement between USDA NRCS and the Mojave Desert RCD, the NRI program will be funded until 2022. A new agreement is in the process to continue the NRI funding after 2022