Team Members

Lisa Ellsworth

SageSTEP Project Co-Principal Investigator, Oregon State University

Dept. of Fisheries and Wildlife
Oregon State University
104 Nash Hall
(541) 737-0008
Corvallis, OR 97331

Lisa is first and foremost a conservation biologist, and believes strongly that strengthening the ties between people and place through education and outreach is one of our most important tools to conserve landscapes. She works as a research professor of fire and habitat ecology in the department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University and is a science communication fellow through the Wilburforce Foundation. Her research is focused on finding strategies to improve rangeland resilience to wildfire for both human and non-human inhabitants.

Beth Newingham

SageSTEP Project Co-Principal Investigator, ARS-Reno

Great Basin Rangelands Research
USDA Agricultural Research Service
920 Valley Road
Reno, NV 89512
(775) 784-6057 ext. 233

Dr. Newingham is a Research Ecologist with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service in Reno, NV. Her research focuses on linking plant and soil processes in the context of community and ecosystem ecology, fire, restoration, and climate change.

Scott Shaff

Project Manager, U.S. Geological Survey

Forest & Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
USGS, Biological Resources Division
3200 SW Jefferson Way
Corvallis, Oregon 97331
office: (541) 750-0942
cell: (541) 908-6908

Scott manages the day-to-day operations of SageSTEP West study sites, including field and laboratory work.  His principle duties include plot layout, coordinating and overseeing treatment application, fuels data collection, soil sampling, data management, and manuscript preparation.

Claire Williams

SageSTEP East Manager, University of Nevada Reno

Claire Williams is a Research Technician at UNR and manages the SageSTEP East network

Jenny Harris

SageSTEP West Crew Lead

Jenny Harris is a Research Technician at USGS.  She is the crew lead for the SageSTEP West network

Matt Reeves

USDA Forest Service

Human Dimensions Program
Rocky Mountain Research Station
USDA Forest Service
800 East Beckwith Avenue
Missoula, Montana 59801-5801
(406) 546-5875

Matt specializes in use of remote sensing and GIS to facilitate evaluation of contemporary issues facing US rangelands. He is interested in facilitating management and administration of the nations’ rangelands and is pursuing numerous efforts to improve the quality and usefulness of forest plan revisions. His research spans four themes: climate change, decision support tools, inventory and monitoring, threat assessment.

April Hulet

Brigham Young University

Brigham Young University
Department of Plant and Wildlife Science
275 WIDB
Provo, Utah 84602
office: (801) 422-3177
cell: (435) 590-1192


James McIver

Insect and Spider Ecologist, Oregon State University

Oregon State University
Eastern Oregon Agriculture Research Center
PO Box E
Union, Oregon 97883
(541) 910-0924

Dr. McIver conducts research on the ecology of arthropod predator-prey relationships, on the organization of foraging in ants, and coordinates the SageSTEP study.

Mark Brunson

Social Scientist, Utah State University

Utah State University
Department of Environment & Society
5215 Old Main Hill
Logan, Utah 84322-5215
(435) 797-2458

Dr. Brunson conducts research on social aspects of management change in rangeland and forest systems, including public acceptability and knowledge regarding wildland ecosystems and their management, adoption of new practices by public and private land managers, and the connections between biophysical and socio-demographic changes.

Gene Schupp

Plant Ecologist, Utah State University

Utah State University
Wildland Resources Department
5230 Old Main Hill
Logan, Utah 84322-5230
(435) 797-2475

Dr. Schupp’s primary research focus is the critical seed and seedling stages of plant establishment-the ecology of seed production and dispersal, seed survival and germination, and seedling survival and growth. The goal is to contribute to the development of an understanding of plant population and, ultimately, community dynamics by understanding processes controlling quantitative and spatial patterns of plant recruitment.

Jeanne Chambers

Plant Ecologist, USDA Forest Service

USDA Forest Service
Rocky Mountain Research Station
Forest Sciences Lab
University of Nevada
920 Valley Road
Reno, Nevada 89512
(775) 784-5329

Jeanne C. Chambers is a research plant ecologist with the USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station in Reno, Nevada, and Adjunct Professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her research focuses on understanding plant species, community and ecosystem responses to environmental changes resulting from disturbance, climate, or invasive species and in applying this information to problems in restoration ecology. Her current research centers on the uplands and riparian areas of the semi-arid Great Basin and is detailed at

David Pyke

Plant Ecologist, U.S. Geological Survey

Forest & Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
USGS, Biological Resources Division
3200 S.W. Jefferson Way
Corvallis, Oregon 97331
(541) 750-7334

Dr. Pyke studies the population ecology of native and invasive plants in the Intermountain West with an emphasis on restoring native plants on invaded landscapes. He also specializes in developing monitoring protocols for ecosystem integrity on wild lands.

Bruce Roundy

Plant Ecologist, Brigham Young University

Brigham Young University
701 East University Parkway Drive
4105 LSB
Provo, UT 84602

Dr. Roundy’s research projects include establishment ecology of weeds and native plants, vegetation disturbance thresholds for management of sagebrush systems, watershed responses to management practices, and increasing diversity of fire rehabilitation and other range seedings.

Eva Strand

University of Idaho

Director, CNR GIS Teaching Lab
Department of Rangeland Ecology and Management
University of Idaho
(208) 885-5779

Eva Strand is the manager of the University of Idaho GIS teaching Lab. Eva’s research focuses on the landscape-scale dynamics of woody encroachment in juniper/sagebrush-steppe rangelands. As part of her extensive research she has developed and modeled a new state and transition model of aspen succession.

Jason Williams

Research Hydrologist, USDA Agricultural Research Service

USDA Agricultural Research Service
Southwest Watershed Research Center
2000 East Allen Road
Tucson, AZ 85719

Dr. Williams’ research explores ecohydrologic feedbacks between vegetation, soils, and the atmosphere. Much of his current research centers on the effects of disturbances (e.g., plant community transitions and wildland fire) and conservation/restoration practices on vegetation, soils, and hydrologic and erosion processes spanning the rangeland to dry forest continuum in the western US. His research focuses on improving scientific understanding and providing land management agencies, private landowners, and other entities with knowledge, models, and other tools to better assess and manage wildland landscapes. His specific objective for this project is to characterize the hydrologic and erosion impacts of different levels of woodland encroachment and tree removal by fire and mechanical treatment methods. 

Benjamin Rau

Soil Scientist

USDA-Agricultural Research Service
Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit
Building 3702 Curtin Road
University Park, PA 16802

Ben Rau is a soil scientist for the USDA-ARS. His work with SageSTEP is related to vegetation shifts and ecosystem rehabilitation effects on total carbon and nitrogen budgets and plant-soil interactions in the Great Basin. Ben is coordinating the SageSTEP soil and vegetation chemistry studies.

Maddy Case

Research Ecologist, U.S. Geological Survey

Forest & Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
USGS, Biological Resources Division
3200 S.W. Jefferson Way
Corvallis, Oregon 97331
(541) 750-7334

Maddy’s research focuses on how environmental variability, disturbance, and global change influence vegetation change and ecosystem function in rangelands, and how management strategies can address these changes. She is leading projects on drought resilience and carbon storage using SageSTEP data.

Fred Pierson

Research Hydrologist, USDA Agricultural Research Service

USDA Agricultural Research Service
251 E Front Street, Suite 400
Boise, Idaho 83702

Dr. Pierson’s research explores hydrologic impacts of rangeland management and restoration activities. His specific objective for this project is to characterize the hydrologic and erosion impacts of different levels of juniper encroachment and juniper control methods of fire and mechanical cutting.​

Mike Pellant

Great Basin Restoration Initiative

Bureau of Land Management
Idaho State Office
1387 S Vinnell Way
Boise, Idaho 83709
(208) 373-3823

As Coordinator of the Great Basin Restoration Initiative, Mike Pellant works to develop and implement partnership-based management strategies to restore areas of high values, reduce the effects of annual grasses and noxious weeds in others, and reverse the destructive cycle of wildland fires and weeds.

James Grace

Research Ecologist, U.S. Geological Survey

U.S. Geological Survey
National Wetlands Research Center
700 Cajundome Blvd.
Lafayette, LA 70506
(337) 266-8632

James Grace is an ecosystem analyst who specializes in the use of model techniques, such as structural equation modeling, in order to better understand the relationships among variables within ecological systems.

Keirith Snyder


Great Basin Rangelands Research
USDA Agricultural Research Service
920 Valley Road
Reno, NV 89512
(775) 784-6057 ext. 245

Kim Rollins

Economist, University of Nevada, Reno

University of Nevada, Reno
Department of Resource Economics
Mail Stop 204
Reno, Nevada 89557-0105
(775) 784-1677

Dr. Rollins’ work explores economic problems associated with allocation of public goods, incentive mechanisms for optimal conservation and use of environmental amenities, and valuation of environmental amenities.

Paul Doescher

Former Principal Investigator (Vegetation)

(Former) Oregon State University
Department of Forest Resources

Dr. Doescher’s work focused on restoration of shrub steppe and woodland communities in the Intermountain West, fire ecology, and ecological and physiological dynamics of plant species. He passed away in August 2017.

Richard Miller

Former Principal Investigator (Vegetation)

Oregon State University
The Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center
202 Strand Agriculture Hall
Corvallis, Oregon 97331-2218
(541) 737-1622

Dr Miller’s research explores (1) the impacts of juniper expansion on plant community dynamics and avian populations, (2) juniper woodland chronology, (3) dynamics and ecology of old growth juniper woodlands, (4) impacts of fire on plant community structure, composition, and on avian, small mammal, and lepidoptera populations, and (5) fire history of the sagebrush steppe.

Robin Tausch

Former Principal Investigator (Vegetation)

USDA Forest Service
Rocky Mountain Research Station
Forest Sciences Lab
University of Nevada, Reno
920 Valley Road
Reno, Nevada 89512
office: (775)784-5329
cell: (775) 426-9110

Dr. Tausch’s research explores 1) the paleoecology of Great Basin upland ecosystems to determine how plant communities have changed in response to Holocene climate change; 2) more recent vegetation changes by focus on how the spatial and temporal patterns of the expansion of pinyon-juniper woodlands is influencing the community dynamics and fire patterns of the affected sagebrush ecosystems; and 3) how current spatial and temporal patterns in vegetation and fire are likely to change into the future in response to climate change. 

Steve Bunting

Former Principal Investigator (Fuels)

University of Idaho
Department of Rangeland Ecology & Management
Moscow, Idaho 83844-1135
(208) 885-7103

Dr. Bunting’s research focuses on the effects of fire and fire management in arid and semi-arid ecosystems, including sagebrush steppe and western juniper woodlands. The overall goal of the research is a better understanding of the function of disturbance, and particularly fire, in the dynamics of rangeland ecosystems.

Dale Johnson

Former Principal Investigator (Soils)

University of Nevada, Reno
Natural Resources and Environmental Science
Mail Stop 370
Reno, Nevada 89557
(775) 784-4511

Dr. Johnson’s research explores (1) biogeochemical cycling, including the influence of atmospheric pollution, climate change, and fire, and (2) soils. His current soils research interests are soil-soil solution chemical interactions, factors affecting organic carbon accumulation and loss, nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus transformations, and trace gas emission from soils.

Steve Knick

Former Principal Investigator (Wildlife)

​USGS, Biological Resources Division
Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
Snake River Field Station
970 Lusk Street,
Boise, Idaho 83706
(208) 426-5208

Dr. Knick’s research explores shrubsteppe systems in the Intermountain West. He has investigated the role of human and natural disturbance in shaping ecological systems, the effects of habitat fragmentation on passerine bird communities, resource selection by animals, the use of satellite imagery to determine landscape attributes of semi-arid regions, and spatial and temporal modeling of ecological systems.  He developed the SAGEMAP website, the primary web-based portal for spatial data and information for research and management of sagebrush ecosystems.

John Tanaka 

Former Principal Investigator (Economics)

Department of Renewable Resources
University of Wyoming, Dept. 3354
1000 E. University Avenue
Laramie, WY 82071
307-460-8558 (cell)

Dr. Tanaka’s specialty is Resource and Environmental Economics and his current research interests include the economic effects of livestock grazing management practices in riparian areas and public land policy and economic issues surrounding rangeland sustainability and rural communities.  For SageSTEP, Dr. Tanaka will help lead the development of ranch level models to determine the economic impact of changing seasons of use and loss of forage resources (and development of alternative forage resources) in response to alternative land management strategies over time; refine ranch-level economic models by adding environmental components (weather, wildlife trade-offs, etc.) to the analysis; and work with range and fire ecologists, rural sociologists, regional economists, natural resource economists (non-market valuation), land managers and others to determine the policy implications of alternative land management strategies for juniper- and sagebrush-dominated rangelands.

David Turner

Former Principal Investigator (Statistics)

USDA Forest Service
Rocky Mountain Research Station
Logan Forestry Sciences Lab
860 North 1200 East
Logan, Utah 84321
(435) 755-3576

Dr. Turner specializes in the application of modern statistical design and analysis techniques to natural resource problems.

Mike Wisdom

Former Principal Investigator (Wildlife)

USDA Forest Service
Pacific Northwest Research Station
1401 Gekeler Lane
La Grande, Oregon 97850
(541) 962-6532

Dr. Wisdom has conducted research on threats to sagebrush habitats and species and is editor of a new book, “Habitat Threats in the Sagebrush Ecosystem: Methods of Regional Assessment and Applications in the Great Basin.” For information on ordering this book, please visit the Alliance Communications Group website.

Brice Hanberry

Research Ecologist, UDA Forest Service

Rocky Mountain Research Station
USDA Forest Service
8221 Mt. Rushmore Rd.
Rapid City, South Dakota 57702

Analysis and management of disturbance effects including fire and fire exclusion, climate change, and land use on terrestrial ecosystems, natural resources, and wildlife at multiple scales, with particular focus on open oak and pine ecosystems. Oak and pine savannas and woodlands are part of a continuum between grasslands and closed forests. The unique bipartite characteristics of grasslands with a tree overstory are not recognized and therefore, undervalued for conservation and management.


Lisa Ellsworth
Project Co-coordinator
Dept. Fisheries & Wildlife
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR  97331
(541) 737-0008

Beth Newingham
Project Co-coordinator
GB Rangelands Research
USDA Ag. Res. Service
Reno, NV  89512
(775) 784-6057 ext. 233

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