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Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

The Great Basin Native Plant Project

Photo of Matt Fisk (Left) and Francis Kilkenny (Right) plant bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata) at the Atomic City experimental study site near Atomic City, Idaho. Nancy Shaw, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Matt Fisk (Left) and Francis Kilkenny (Right) plant bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata) at the Atomic City experimental study site near Atomic City, Idaho. Nancy Shaw, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Snapshot : Demand for native plant seed is increasing, especially in federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service. The BLM is guided by Executive Orders and Congressional direction to increase, where feasible and practical, the use of native plant seed. Invasive species, shifting fire regimes, and rapid climate change increase the need for researchers and land managers to develop sound management and successful restoration practices.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Kilkenny, Francis F. Richardson, Bryce A.
Jensen, Scott L.  
Research Location : Great Basin: Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, California, Oregon
Research Station : Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS)
Year : 2016
Highlight ID : 1058

Summary

The Great Basin Native Plant Project (GBNPP) seeks to increase the availability of genetically appropriate native plant materials and to provide the knowledge and technology required for their use in restoring diverse native plant communities across the Great Basin. The Plant Conservation Program of the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Grassland, Shrubland, and Desert Ecosystem Research Program of the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station initiated this multi-state, collaborative research project in 2001.

Researchers with the GBNPP focus on genetics, species-specific seed zones, rapid testing and provisional seed zones, and the establishment of a common garden network to assess the suitability of native seeds for different climates. The most robust seeds become the foundation for restoration projects to rebuild ecosystems after big wildfires, such as those currently wiping out vast sagebrush expanses in Nevada, Idaho and Utah. The GBNPP also focuses on sharing knowledge about successful seeding of native species with land managers. Scientists report findings through publications such as annual reports, plant guides, journal articles, and brochures, as well as through face-to-face workshops and conferences with scientists and managers. National success continues through a nationwide network of native seed collectors, a network of farmers and growers working to develop seed, a network of nurseries and seed storage facilities to supply adequate quantities of appropriate seed, and a network of restoration ecologists who know how to put the right seed in the right place at the right time.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Andrew Bower, Olympic National Forest
  • Bob Karrfalt, National Seed Laboratory
  • Charlie Schrader-Patton, Remote Sensing Applications Center
  • Holly Prendeville and Brad St. Clair, Pacific Northwest Research Station
  • Berta Youtie - Eastern Oregon Stewardship Services
  • Beth Leger and Kent McAdoo, University of Nevada
  • Clint Shock, Matt Orr, and Kathryn Alexander, Oregon State University
  • College of Western Idaho
  • Derek Tilley, Natural Resource Conservative Service
  • Erica David, Perth, Australia
  • Jeremy James, University of California
  • Kari Veblen, Kris Hulvey, and Eric Thacker, Utah State University
  • Keith Snyder, Doug Johnson, Beth Newingham, Shaun Bushman, Kirk Davies, RC Johnson, Thomas Monaco, Matt Madsen, Jim Cane, and Tom Jones, U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service
  • Kevin Grady, Troy Wood, Paul Dijkstra, Catherine Gehring, Egbert Schwartz, and Hillary Cooper, Northern Arizona University
  • Kevin Gunnell and Jason Vernon, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
  • Marie Ann DeGraaf and Marcelo Serpe, Boise State University
  • Mark Kimsey, Anthony Davis, and Kent Apostol, University of Idaho
  • Matt Germino, Todd Esque, Daniel Shyrock, and Lesley Defalco, U.S. Geological Survey
  • Mikel Stevens and Jason Stettler, Brigham Young University
  • Native seed industry
  • Plant Conservation Alliance
  • Private contractors and land owners
  • Robert Cox, Texas Tech University
  • Truax Company, Inc.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Bureau of Land Management