Earlier this summer, several Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI) Rangeland Management Specialists visited the JA Ranch near Bowie, TX to inspect the operation and select monitoring sites for incorporation into the Ranch Sustainability Assessment project. Data collected from these sites will be used to inform the business plan that the Noble Foundation is assisting JA Ranch operators in developing. Three sites were selected, and preliminary data was collected for comparison with a second sampling schedule for October 2011. Soil samples were also collected at each of the three sites for analysis and classification. These samples were shipped to a soil lab in Oregon for further testing.
Monitoring site one (001) was set up on JA Ranch Field 16, which is a loamy prairie ecological site. Soils on this site run down to 36 inches, and roots were still present at this depth; high organic matter was also present. The transect runs due north and 2 photos were taken at the 0 point looking down the line. Photos were also taken at the random points along the transect where production will be clipped by species in October 2011. There are 5 random points that will be used on all 3 transects for this monitoring project which are 7,21,44,66, and 90.
Monitoring site two (002) was established in field 4 north of the large lake. This is a sandy loam ecological site; however, the soil scientist has some concerns on this mapping. This site had been recently sprayed for weed control. Transect was established in the same manner as the site 001 transect.
Monitoring site three (003) was established in field 33, south of the JA Ranch headquarters. This is a tight sandy loam ecological site that contained high organic matter. The soil scientist had some concerns over this mapping as well. The sampling transect was established in the same manner as those on the other two sites.