PINE RIDGE FIRE: NATIVE WINNER SEEDING TRIALS

Project Description

This research was designed to identify how potential “native winner” species perform in post-fire revegetation conditions where cheatgrass is present, relative to the native species and sources that are currently available. We also tested whether the ratio of grasses to forbs impacts the outcome of revegetation efforts in habitat degraded by cheatgrass. For this, we worked with the BLM Grand Junction Field Office (GJFO) following the July 2012 Pine Ridge Fire to establish three study blocks at a site with high percent cheatgrass cover, and monitored percent cover of sown and spontaneous pl...

Project Map

Publicly Accessible: Yes
County: Mesa County, CO

Project Sites

  • 3 study blocks established

Goals and Targets

Primary Motivations:

  • Other
    Identifying native species (especially forb species that support pollinators) that can help improve post-fire revegetation outcomes in habitat degraded by cheatgrass.

Primary Goals:

  • Identify native species, seed sources (cultivar and wild-collected), and seed mixes that may be able to improve post-fire revegetation outcomes using a robust experimental design: 3 blocks that each contain 3 plots of the following treatments: A. BLM Broad Site Mix: ~90% grasses/~10% forbs/~0.3% shrubs. This mix was applied to 3, 2x2m plots in each study block, for a total of 9 study plots. It used all species and sources that will be included in the seed mix applied aerially in early 2013, including 6 grass species (11 sources), 7 forb species (8 sources) and 1 shrub (1 source). Seed was sown at a total rate of ~750PLS/m2, which was the target PLS/m2 rate indicated in the BLM’s Burned Area Rehabilitation report (note that the rate that will likely be aerially applied will be closer to 575 based on PLS ratings for purchased seed and pounds of seed purchased). B. BLM/Native Winner Mix: ~90% grasses/~10% forbs/~0.3% shrubs. This mix was applied to 3, 2x2m plots in each study block, for a total of 9 study plots. It included 6 grass species (10 sources; 4 of which were NW and 6 of which were BLM), 14 forbs (14 sources; 11 of which were NW and 3 of which were BLM (from UP)), and 1 shrub (1 source). Seed was sown at a total rate of ~750PLS/m2. C. BLM/Native Winner Mix High Forb: ~66% grasses/~33% forbs/~0.3% shrubs. This mix was applied to 3, 2x2m plots in each study block. This included 6 grass species (10 sources; 4 of which were NW and 6 of which were BLM), 14 forbs (14 sources; 11 of which were NW and 3 of which were BLM (from UP)), and 1 shrub (1 source). Seed was sown at a total rate of ~750PLS/m2. D. Forb Monoculture: One of 16 forb species was applied to three 0.5x0.5m sub-plots in each study block, for a total of 9 study sub-plots. This included 6 BLM forbs and 10 NW forbs. Seed was sown at a total rate of ~750PLS/m2. E. Grass Monoculture: One of 15 grass species and 1 forb species was applied to three 0.5x0.5m sub-plots in each study block, for a total of 9 study sub-plots. This included 11 BLM grasses, 4 NW grasses, and one NW forb. Seed was sown at a total rate of ~750PLS/m2. F. Control: No seed sown.
    Progress: We were not able to find any treatment effect, and had difficulty tracking individual species/source success because of seed movement due to wind and water erosion, as well as the aerial application of seeds to our site following treatment applications. However, we were able to identify trends in different species, and were able to identify some forb species that aren't currently used in restoration activities that may be beneficial to include, including Machaeranthera (Dieteria) canescens, or hoary tansyaster.

Targeted Habitats:

  • Shrublands and Grasslands
    • Shrublands and Steppe

Targeted Species:

  • Aspen Fleabane Erigeron speciosus
  • Bottlebrush Squirrel-tail Elymus elymoides
  • Common Sunflower Helianthus annuus
  • Common Yarrow Achillea millefolium
  • Curly Bluegrass Poa secunda
  • Dusty Beardtongue Penstemon comarrhenus
  • Hairy False Goldenaster Heterotheca villosa
  • Heliotrope Phacelia Phacelia crenulata
  • Hoary Tansy-aster Machaeranthera canescens
  • Indian Mountain-ricegrass Achnatherum hymenoides
  • Pinnate Tansy-mustard Descurainia pinnata
  • Prairie Flax Linum lewisii
  • Red Globemallow Sphaeralcea coccinea
  • Sand Dropseed Sporobolus cryptandrus
  • Sulphur-flower Wild Buckwheat Eriogonum umbellatum
  • Western Wheatgrass Pascopyrum smithii
  • White-stem Stickleaf Mentzelia albicaulis
  • Woolly Plantain Plantago patagonica
  • Yellow Spiderflower Cleome lutea

Conservation Actions

Action Status Start Year End Year
Research Completed 2012 2016
Post-fire revegetation seeding trials

Outcomes

Is the success of this project's actions being monitored? Yes

Monitoring Activities
Vegetation surveys in 2013, 2014, and 2016

Lessons Learned and/or Suggestions for Similar Activities
See results in attached document for details on establishment of seeded species over time in our study plots.

Citation

Andrea Kramer. 2012-2016. PINE RIDGE FIRE: NATIVE WINNER SEEDING TRIALS. Chicago Botanic Garden. With support from the Bureau of Land Management Plant Conservation Program.

Quick Facts

Owning Organization

CPNPP

Managing Organization

Chicago Botanic Garden
(Non-Governmental Organization)

Contact Information

Andrea Kramer (Conservation Scientist - Restoration Ecology)
Chicago Botanic Garden

General Information

Project #: 508335
Last Updated: December 07, 2016

Project Relations

Partners

Jim Garner at Uncompahgre Project
Ken Holsinger at BLM Montrose Field Office
Nikki Grant-Hoffman and Anna Lincoln, at BLM Grand Junction Field Office
Paul Krabacher at BLM Seed Warehouse
Wayne Padgett at Colorado Plateau Native Plant Program

Links

Colorado Plateau Native Plant Program (CPNPP)
Native Plant Network
Native Seed Network
NRCS Conservation Plant Releases
Range Plants of Utah
SEINet (Plant distribution data)
USDA Fire Effects Information System (Fire effects on plants)
USDA Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN)
USDA PLANTS Database (General plant information)
Utah's Watershed Restoration Initiative

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