© U.S. Bureau of Land Management (Colorado Plateau Native Plant Program)

Materials Available

For the Growers 

It is a primary focus of the BLM’s National Native Plant Materials Development Program to stabilize the market for native seed, especially in western states where most of our efforts in ecosystem restoration occur. From 2005 through 2008 more than half of the seed bought for revegetation and restoration purposes by the BLM was native.  Again, this increase in percent of native seed purchases is currently limited primarily because of the limited availability of native seed.  In addition, however, because the BLM has historically used non-native seed for revegetation purposes, it continues to do so.  This cultural fact is being addressed through means such as this and other Native Seed Initiatives.

The Bureau’s seed-buying record is unpredictable, and has historically been dependent on the severity of the fire season.   What is predictable is that if the BLM has a large fire season, we will buy an abundance of seed.  We find that the industry is willing to produce the native seed needed for fire restoration, but in order to do so they need a more stable native seed market.  One focus of this program is to integrate the Bureau’s fire rehabilitation need with short-term reclamation and long-term restoration needs, thus providing a more stable market for the seed industry. 

BLM’s National Consolidated Seed Buy quantities between 1996 and 2008 showing pounds/percent native and introduce seed bought for restoration and revegetation purposes

In 1999, which was a year with many large fires, the BLM bought about twice the amount of non-native as native seed.  The availability of native seed was limited at that time and it was clear that efforts were needed to increase the available supply of native plant materials for future uses.  Between 2000 and 2008, the amount of native seed purchased by the BLM increased significantly.  The following figure illustrates the change in use of native seed over this time period.  In 2007, the BLM purchased over 7 million pounds of seed, primarily for restoration of burned areas throughout the West, with 56% of the total amount being native. The BLM’s goal is to stabilize the annual native seed buy quantities at approximately 3 million pounds to help stabilize the native seed industry.

Native Seed Network

Sellers of native plant materials are encouraged to list their materials on the Native Seed Network’s web page. The BLM is hopeful that all offices in the Colorado Plateau will go to this page to facilitate their use of native plant materials in restoration efforts. It is through this organization that we hope to create a “one-stop shopping experience” for both users and sellers of native plant materials.

Native Seeds Available for Growers

The NRCS Plant Materials Centers in Meeker, CO; Los Lunas, NM; and Aberdeen, ID provide information on native plant materials they have available through intensive research and development. In addition, the Uncompahgre Partnership has been evaluating several native species collected from the Colorado Plateau (See links below). Through their efforts, native plant materials are becoming available for commercial growers throughout the West.

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