Native Plant Restoration
The Native Plant Materials Program (NPMP) is in its seventh year in the BLM and is in direct response to Congressional direction to "supply native plant material for emergency stabilization and longer term rehabilitation and restoration efforts." The focus of the NPMP is to work with the private sector to increase the amount of seed available and the number of native species with seed available for these efforts.
In compliance with Congressional direction, BLM is developing an interagency long-term program to supply and manage native plant materials for use in rehabilitation and restoration efforts on federal lands. BLM is working closely with many other federal, state, local, and private parties through the Plant Conservation Alliance in the development of these materials which will both aid in restoring health to the public lands and promote multi-species conservation. The NPMP includes Seeds of Success (SOS), a seed collection program in the United States coordinated through the Plant Conservation Alliance in cooperation with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
In Fiscal Year 2007, BLM is dedicating $4.78 million to support native plant seed collection and production, storage facilities, developing public and private partnerships, and conducting education and outreach.
Native Plant Materials (NPM) development is a new science and a new business for BLM, the science community, and the seed industry with no existing business structure. This program has many challenges, not the least of which is that some of the western forbs and shrubs do not flower for four to five years after planted and developing a crop from them takes some time. Developing new plant material is a long-term process and requires several years of testing and evaluation to determine biological characteristics and cultural techniques for germinating and planting. Seed increase projects require several years to produce significant seed for large-scale rehabilitation and restoration projects. Every aspect of the native plant materials development program is evolving, from how to collect and grow native seed as a crop to how to harvest native seed. The BLM is working with private industry to rework machinery needed to sow and harvest the materials.
Working closely with the fire program, native seed now accounts for over 50% of the bulk seed purchased through the consolidated BLM seed buys. We now need to work closely with our partners to ensure that the native seeds planted are genetically appropriate for the project location--thus ensuring more success in rehabilitation/restoration.