In its ongoing effort to improve the health and productivity of the public lands, including those recently affected by wildfire, the Bureau of Land Management has initiated a native seed collection effort that is part of an interagency “Seeds of Success” program. Starting with 12 collecting teams that quickly grew to 35 teams nationwide, the BLM and numerous partners carry out the Seeds of Success (SOS) initiative, which is the core of a National Native Plant Materials Development Program. SOS provides seeds from many species of plants to growers, researchers, and administrators of seed in the United States.
The BLM’s collecting partners include the Chicago Botanic Garden, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, U.S. Forest Service, and the Center for Plant Conservation, along with others. The collection effort complements measures the BLM is already taking to fight noxious and invasive weeds, as well as sustain healthy riparian, range, and wildlife habitat on public lands.
“In the midst of an intense wildfire season in our Western states, this partnership enhances the BLM’s ability to protect and rehabilitate the public lands under its management,” said BLM Deputy Director Henri Bisson. “Through Seeds of Success, our agency’s field offices will have greater capability to re-establish native species when restoring the land.”
Seeds of Success gathers between 400 and 600 wildland seed collections annually for both long-term conservation and immediate restoration needs. This October, 500 collections will be transferred from the U.S. Forest Service’s Bend (Oregon) Seed Extractory to the Department of Agriculture’s National Plant Germplasm System to join 1,300 existing collections in the system. Seeds of Success material within the germplasm system is freely available to researchers working on native plant materials development.
The BLM manages more land – 258 million surface acres – than any other Federal agency. Most of this public land is located in 12 Western States, including Alaska. The BLM, with a budget of about $1.8 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The Bureau’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The BLM accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, and cultural resources on the public lands.
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