The GYCC asked the Sustainable Operations Subcommittee to develop practical and achievable actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as ways to conserve water. One of the actions identified to accomplish both was xeriscaping. Two subcommittee members partnered with the MSU Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology to create a handbook tailored specifically to the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) that can be used by landowners, nurseries, garden shops, realtors or anyone who wants to landscape in a way that will use less water. The guide includes methods of landscaping to conserve water, along with some suggested low water-use plants that do well in the GYA. Photos of beautifully designed xeriscaping in the GYA may help to inspire landowners to successfully convert some or all of their landscaping to xeriscaping.
“Across the West, including the GYA, water is regarded as an incredibly valuable resource that we all share and have the responsibility to use wisely,” said Jane Ruchman, project leader for the xeriscaping guide and landscape architect for the Gallatin National Forest. “About half of the water that is used during the summer, especially in urban areas, goes toward maintaining our landscaping. There is a common misconception that xeriscaping means using only cactus and rocks, however it is possible to save water and still have attractive and functional landscaping,” she said.
The free guide is available online at http://www.fedgycc.org/documents/GYA.XeriscapeGuide.pdf.
The 62 MB brochure may be printed out double sided for easy reference and use. Also at 12 p.m. on Wed. July 17, there will be an informal public presentation and discussion of the guide at the MSU Bozeman Area Research and Teaching Farm, accessed from Garfield Street on the west side of the Bozeman campus. Some of the landscapers who contributed photographs for the guide may be present and attendees will be able to see the MSU test plots with various low water-use turf grasses and perennials.
“Ultimately this guide promotes the wise use of our water resources and that benefits all of us in the long run,” said Ruchman. For more information about the guide, contact Ruchman at (406) 587-6966.
ABOUT THE GREATER YELLOWSTONE COORDINATING COMMITTEE: The Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee (GYCC) includes federal land managers from national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges and Bureau of Land Management’s National System of Public Lands across the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA): the largest, essentially intact natural area in the lower 48 states. Together, these agencies manage 15 million acres of federal land. The committee was formed to pursue opportunities of mutual cooperation and coordination in the management of core federal lands within the GYA. Participating federal land managers administer three national parks (Yellowstone, Grand Teton & John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway), two national wildlife refuges (National Elk Refuge, Red Rock Lakes), six national forests (Bridger-Teton, Caribou-Targhee, Shoshone, Custer, Gallatin, and Beaverhead-Deerlodge), and Bureau of Land Management – administered lands in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
Information about the GYCC and links to member agency websites are available at: http://www.fedgycc.org/