Conservation Seed Workshop:
"Partnerships for Native Plant Materials Development"
Sponsored by American Seed Trade Association
and the USDA-NRCS Plant Materials Program / Bureau of Land Management / U.S. Forest Service
Held in conjunction with the Plant Conservation Alliance Bimonthly Meeting
USDA South Building
March 15-16, 2007
This workshop will seek to improve the partnerships among government agencies, non-profit groups, and the commercial sector for the improvement of native plant development for conservation, reclamation, and restoration activities. The topics included will review what is being accomplished and what needs to be done to improve and increase the use of native plants.
The focus of these discussions are policy-oriented to examine the “big picture” that different entities operate by. By examining the needs of end-users, the plant selection process currently being used, and the realities of the commercial sector to produce appropriate materials, it is hoped that discussions will lead to a better realization of the entire process, and an outcome of finding better ways to meet the needs for conservation and native seed.
Importance to NRCS, USFS, and BLM
ASTA is an important partner with NRCS and the Plant Materials Program. The members of ASTA are responsible for growing and delivering the bulk of the native seed used in USDA conservation programs as well as seeding other government lands (e.g., Forest Service and BLM). It is also important to BLM and the USFS who require native seed, and more often local ecotypes, for their projects. It is essential that the ASTA and these agencies work closely to ensure that native seed supplies for conservation programs do not fall short of anticipated needs.
This workshop will attempt to:
- Bring groups involved in native and conservation seed issues together for 1-1/2 days to discussion important issues for both groups.
- Identify the justification and need for specific types of native plant materials (local ecotypes, cultivars, etc) and how they are used in government programs and revegetation activities.
- Identify to government agencies some of the critical and pressing issues important to the native conservation seed industry.
- Develop a better relationship between ASTA members and government requirements so that future communication will be less hindered.
- Identify several actions items which can be accomplished within the next 12 months which will bolster relations between the groups involved and lead to better delivery of products and services.
Thursday, March 15
Moderator: Bob Escheman
9:00 am Introductions and Welcome
Mark Rey, Under Secretary, Natural Resources and Environment, USDA
Leslie Cahill, ASTA
9:15 am Workshop Purpose and Goals
Don Hijar, ASTA
Bob Escheman, NRCS
Perspectives from the end users: needs and criteria
9:20 am Program Update from NHQ
Bob Escheman, NRCS
Peggy Olwell, BLM
9:45 am Presentation of Findings from Local Ecotype Report (presentation)
Kayri Havens, Chicago Botanic Garden
10:30 am Working with native species in OR/WA (presentation)
Joan Seevers, BLM
11:00 am Seed Transfer Zones for Native Plants (presentation)
Brad St. Clair, USFS
11:30 am Working with native species after wildfires (presentation)
Vicki Erickson, USFS
12:00 pm Lunch 1:00 pm Working with native species in the Mohave Desert (presentation)
Ramona Garner, NRCS
1:30 pm Pragmatic Principles for Developing Restoration Plant Materials (presentation)
Tom Jones, ARS
2:00 pm Ethanol from Waste and/or Switchgrass Biomass
Steve Flick, Show Me Energy Cooperative
3:00 pm Break 3:30 pm Communicating Science to Government and Society (presentation)
John Bonner, CAST
4:00 pm 20007/2008 BLM (presentation) and FS Budgets
Peggy Olwell, BLM
Larry Stritch, USFS
Production of native species: Perspectives from the seed trade
4:30 pm Discussion and Q&A on Local Ecotypes 5:15 pm Adjourn for the day
Friday, March 16
Value to Seed Growers of participating in Plant Conservation Alliance
Andy Ernst, Ernst Conservation Seed
8:45 am Brief recap and summary of Thursday’s presentations to set the stage for discussion
Escheman, Olwell, Stritch
Facilitated Discussion (summary)
- How can Federal agencies who are using native plant materials, especially local ecotypes, provide more uniform guidelines and consistency to what kinds of plant materials they require for revegetation activities (species selection, origin of materials, etc).
- Is there an economic threshold for producing local ecotype seed specific to a region? Are there enough nurseries in the industry to currently meet the geographic needs for seed?
- How can Federal agencies who are developing and releasing plant materials work towards selections which meet the broad range of uses needed by customers?
12:00 pm Meeting adjourned