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Supporting the development and use of native plant materials for restoration on the Colorado Plateau (Fiscal Year 19 Report)

January 1, 2020

A primary focus of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) 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 low and highly variable precipitation is standard. Providing this information requires synergistic research efforts in which results from earlier investigations inform the design of subsequent investigations. The U.S. Geological Survey Southwest Biological Science Center’s (SBSC’s) research activities in FY19 followed an FY19 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 Department of Interior Leadership Priority #1 (Create a conservation stewardship legacy second only to Teddy Roosevelt). Research activities in FY19 centered on landscape genetics, collecting seeds in preparation for experimental common gardens, and planning and trials in support of experimental drought gardens. These activities were supported by three biological technicians, one of which was jointly funded by the Ecological Society of America for six pay periods. Most of the field-related activities, including plant trait measurement, seed/tissue collecting, and GRID (Germination for Restoration Information and Decision-making) experimental treatments at the Canyonlands Research Center near Moab, UT were assigned to these technicians. Contrary to the drought conditions the pervaded the Colorado Plateau in FY18, plentiful spring precipitation resulted in easily-collected plant tissue and seed collections. However, the cool and wet spring delayed the phenology of early blooming species, which caused difficulties for timing seed collecting. Furthermore, seed collecting for late blooming species was difficult because of lower than average monsoon precipitation. While Dr. Rob Massatti was the only scientist supported by the SBSC-CPNPP agreement in FY19, other scientists, including Drs. John Bradford, Seth Munson, Mike Duniway, Sasha Reed, and Daniel Winkler, spent a considerable amount of time providing expert guidance and support for individual projects. Work activities performed in support of each 5-year plan goal are discussed in turn.

Publication Year 2020
Title Supporting the development and use of native plant materials for restoration on the Colorado Plateau (Fiscal Year 19 Report)
Authors Robert Massatti, Daniel E. Winkler, Sasha C. Reed, Michael C. Duniway, Seth M. Munson, John B. Bradford
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Series Title Cooperator Report
Index ID 70210527
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southwest Biological Science Center