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BLM Plant Conservation Program: Its Role in Sage Grouse Conservation

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Presentation on theme: "BLM Plant Conservation Program: Its Role in Sage Grouse Conservation"— Presentation transcript:

1 BLM Plant Conservation Program: Its Role in Sage Grouse Conservation
Peggy Olwell BLM Plant Conservation Program Lead Colorado Plateau Native Plant Program Meeting April 8, 2014

2 Overview Native Plant Materials Development Program
Sagebrush for Conserving Sage- Grouse Climate Change Interagency Seed Summit 3rd National Seed Conference (planning stages)

3 FY2001 House Appropriations Conference Report Language
“The managers direct the agencies to develop a long-term program to manage and supply native plant materials for use in various Federal land management restoration and rehabilitation needs. The managers recommend that the interagency native plant conservation initiative lead this effort.” Native Plant Materials Development Program Funding committed by DOI/BLM FY2001 – FY2014 ~$70 Million

4 Native Plant Materials Development Process

5 USGS Colorado Plateau Research Station
Great Basin Native Plant Project USDA Rocky Mountain Research Station University of Idaho University of Nevada-Reno OSU Malheur Experiment Station University of Utah Rio Mesa Center University of Wyoming BLM Field Offices Chicago Botanic Garden Interns USDA FS Bend Seed Extractory USDA ARS Western Plant Introduction Station USDA ARS National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation Smithsonian Institution NRCS Plant Materials Centers Palmer PMC (AK) Tucson PMC (AZ) Lockeford PMC (CA) Upper Colorado PMC Aberdeen PMC (ID) Bridger PMC (MT) Los Lunas PMC (NM) Great Basin PMC (NV) Corvallis PMC (OR) Pullman PMC (WA) Growers Special K Ranch BLM Public Land Institute for Applied Ecology Truax Company, Inc. This is the BLM Native Plant Materials Development Process and there are 6 integrated parts of this process. I have color coded the diagram and have highlighted a few of the more than 500 partners working with the BLM. Native Seed Collection: BLM and its Seeds of Success partners have made over 15,000 collections of native seed using the Conservation and Land Management Intern Program with Chicago Botanic Garden. For example, we have had collecting teams in every field office in Wyoming! All seed collected by BLM is sent to the USDA Forest Service Bend Seed Extractory where they clean each collection, test its viability, package and ship it to ARS Western Plant Introduction Station for short-term storage and use in the development of native seed and for long-term conservation storage at ARS National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation. Evaluation and Development: Evaluating potential native plants for use in native seed development is done at the eco-regional level: BLM works very closely with the Forest Service in the Great Basin and with the USGS in the Colorado Plateau on these respective Ecoregional Native Plant Programs. BLM spends over $1.5 million/year with these two partnerships. Field Establishment: BLM works very closely with 10 of NRCS Plant Materials Centers across the west. For example: CA BLM, WY BLM have several projects with Lockeford PMC and the Upper Colorado Plant Materials Center in Meeker, CO Private Grower Production: BLM has procured seed from more than 75 private growers and seed companies. Seed Storage: Seed is a living entity and requires specific environmental conditions to remain alive… sagebrush for example requires refrigerated storage to keep its viability for longer than 6 months. Restore Native Plant Communities: BLM has collaborated with private sector, such as TRUAX COMPANY, located in New Hope, Minnesota. Jim Truax began reengineering the standard rangeland drill in The Rough Rider rangeland drill evolved and with it several key improvements in native seed planting technology including 1) metering and planting seeds of different sizes and shapes at the same time and at different depths; 2) minimizing soil disturbance and reducing damage to residual biological soil crusts and native species; 3) planting surface seeded species between rows of drilled species; and 4) planting into heavy litter without plugging. This partnership has been mutually beneficial, increasing the effectiveness of research treatments and highlighting further equipment modification needs for rugged western terrain. Recently, Truax has been adding GPS to the drill to monitor both equipment utilization and seed placement. BLM Seed Warehouse System Boise Regional Seed Warehouse Ely Regional Seed Warehouse Other Partner Seed Warehouses Growers State Seed Certifying Agencies

6 Map from 3 Feb 2014

7 Seeds of Success Collections by REA 2001-2014
Collection Count Central Basin and Range 1546 Chihuahuan Desert 273 Colorado Plateau 789 Madrean Archipelago 170 Middle Rockies 114 Mojave Basin and Range 625 North Slope 45 Northern Great Basin 1104 Northwestern Great Plains 127 Seward Peninsula 123 Sonoran Desert 272 Southern Great Plains 240 Wyoming Basin 622

8 Seeds of Success Collections
By State State Collection Count Alaska 614 Arizona 749 California 2277 Colorado 887 Idaho 623 Montana 94 Nevada 1528 New Mexico 367 Oregon 1974 Utah 1521 Washington 243 Wyoming 768 Active in all western states

9 2012 Wildfires in Sage-Grouse Habitat
2 million acres of Sage-Grouse habitat burned Only 400,000 acres rehabilitated 1.6 million acres remain to be rehabilitated Background Information: BLM could only rehab 400,000 acres because of the Fire Expenditure Cap. BLM bought all sagebrush seed on the market in Fall 2012 that was available and ready for delivery. All commercially collected Sagebrush seed was from Utah sagebrush ecosystems being used in Oregon and California fire rehab projects (not the source identified seed preferred by field offices). Sagebrush seed ripens and is collected in mid November,- an additional 472, 000 pounds of commercial wildland collected seed became available in December, but BLM had no more fire rehab funds. Procurement at End of Fiscal Year is also an issue that needs to be addressed. Commercial Growers – there are barely any commercial growers of sagebrush seed – only one we know of is a Wyoming rancher who did supplemental irrigation in wildland stands. None of what we bought in 2012 for fire rehabilitation was cultivated sagebrush seed. For other grasses and forbs (wildflowers) we have source identified private sector growers. Failure of our process: Fire expenditure cap, end of fiscal year, under continuing resolution and sequestration hit- all reducing our capability to complete rehabilitation on the 1.6 million acres remaining.

10 Wyoming Big Sagebrush from 13 Locations Planted in Glenns Ferry, ID in 1987
Idaho Fish and Game shows how important it is to use local sagebrush seed for restoration and fire rehabilitation based on this study! However, it took almost 25 years to see the issue clearly for just one species of Sagebrush. Seed from 13 different sources/locations of Wyoming Big Sagebrush were all planted in Glenns Ferry, ID. For the first 5 years of the study they had very good survival rate and by year 10 the scientists started to see some of the non-local sources dying off. After 23 years, they only had 100% survival in the seed that was local from Glenns Ferry, ID … all other seed sources were 50% or below 50% survival- most sources being below 50%. Not all native seed is the same and the source of your seed material is important to the success of your restoration/rehabilitation project. From: Sands, Alan, and Ann Moser   ID Fish & Game Report

11 Seeds of Success Sage-Grouse Habitat Collections 2001-2013

12 Sage-Grouse Habitat Conservation & Improvement Projects Across the BLM
99 Projects in Total Across 7 Western States in 41 Field Offices - Native Seed Collection - Post-Fire Seeding - Propagation - Germination Studies - Monitoring - Grow Out 29 Projects with Federal Partners - USGS - Forest Service - NRCS - ARS - BIA - Fish & Wildlife Service 62 Projects with NGO Partners - Mule Deer Foundation - University of WY - Chicago Botanic Garden - Great Basin Institute - NV Sagebrush Ecosystem Council Examples of projects include: Bishop, CA BLM FO - Interns completing vegetation plots in nesting habitat to understand habitat used for nesting, in partnership with USGS, Nevada Dept. of Wildlife, California Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Chicago Botanic Garden. Four Rivers, ID BLM FO - Applied research investigating methods to increase microsite structure to increase seeding and re-vegetation success within low elevation sagebrush steppe, in partnership with USGS. Carson City, Battle Mountain, Elko, Winnemucca, and Ely, NV BLM Offices – Conducting ESR projects that use native seed materials to treat wildfire impacted areas in sage grouse habitat, in partnership with the NV Dept. of Wildlife. Spokane, WA BLM DO - Completed seed germination and growout protocol trials for 9 sagebrush forb species, including 6 that are critically important species for sage-grouse, established small trial fields with local grower Lakeview, OR BLM DO – Working on restoration trials with USDA ARS in Burns, OR on adapted management trials seeding native grasses in sagebrush areas infested with annual grasses Montana BLM SO - Utilizing Sage-grouse initiative funds to collect sage-grouse specific native plant seed. The NRCS has established partnerships with private land owners to allow of seed collection on private lands. The grant money is used to hire Montana Youth Conservation Corp teams to collect seeds form both public and private lands for the SOS program. These excess seeds are used on public and private lands for developing and enhancing sage-grouse habitat and connectivity.

13 Greater Sage-Grouse Habitat with State & Federal Correctional Facilities
BLM is working with the Institute for Applied Ecology in Corvallis, OR on a sagebrush grow-out program Sustainability in Prisons Project Network Potential to engage 24 correctional facilities across 10 states throughout the range of the greater sage grouse A pilot project is underway in Eastern OR where they are producing 10,000-20,000 sagebrush plants that will be planted into an area damaged by wildfire in 2012

14 National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
The Strategy identifies seven goals to help fish, wildlife, plants and ecosystems cope with the impacts of climate change. Goal 2: Manage species and habitats to protect ecosystem functions and provide sustainable cultural, subsistence, recreational, and commercial use in a changing climate. Strategy 2.3: Conserve genetic diversity by protecting diverse populations and genetic material across the full range of species occurrences.

15 Thank you and Questions

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