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Supporting the development and use of native plant materials for restoration on the Colorado Plateau (Fiscal Year 2020 Report)

March 31, 2021

A primary focus of the Colorado Plateau Native Plant Program (CPNPP) is to identify and develop appropriate native plant materials (NPMs) for current and future restoration projects. Multiple efforts have characterized the myriad challenges inherent in providing appropriate seed resources to enable effective, widespread restoration and have identified a broad suite of research activities to provide the information necessary to overcome those challenges (e.g., Plant Conservation Alliance 2015; Breed et al. 2018; Winkler et al. 2018). Many of the most complex information needs relate to identifying the appropriate sources of plant species that can successfully establish in dryland environments, like the Colorado Plateau, where precipitation is generally low and highly variable. Providing this information requires synergistic research efforts that build upon insight gained from earlier investigations. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Southwest Biological Science Center’s (SBSC’s) research activities that supported CPNPP in FY20 followed the FY20 Statement of Work to support a research framework that is continually adapting based on the needs of the restoration community and results from previous investigations; the long-term research framework is outlined in the 2019-2023 5-Year Research Strategy (hereafter referred to as the 5-year plan). This research framework provides support for the National Seed Strategy for Rehabilitation and Restoration (Plant Conservation Alliance, 2015), Department of Interior Secretarial Order #3347 (Conservation Stewardship and Outdoor Recreation), and Bureau of Land Management Leadership Priority #1 (Create a conservation stewardship legacy second only to Teddy Roosevelt).

Research activities in FY20 centered on landscape genomics, implementing a common garden experiment near Vernal, UT, conducting experimental treatments using the GRID (Germination for Restoration Information and Decision-making) framework, and collecting seeds and leaf tissues in the field in preparation for future experiments. These activities were supported by five biological science technicians. The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic delayed some aspects of the FY20 workplan, especially for contract laboratory services and the construction of the GRID garden in Flagstaff, AZ. However, goals were largely met, and the overall progress of research remains on track with respect to the 5-year plan. While Dr. Rob Massatti was the only scientist supported by the SBSC-CPNPP agreement in FY20, other scientists, including Drs. John Bradford, Seth Munson, Mike Duniway, Sasha Reed, Matt Jones, and Daniel Winkler, spent a considerable amount of time providing expertise and support for individual projects. Work activities performed in support of each goal are discussed in turn.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2021
Title Supporting the development and use of native plant materials for restoration on the Colorado Plateau (Fiscal Year 2020 Report)
Authors Robert Massatti, Daniel E. Winkler, Sasha Reed, Michael C. Duniway, Seth M. Munson, John Bradford
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Series Title Annual Report
Index ID 70222075
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center; Southwest Biological Science Center