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January 20, 2006
In Reply Refer To:
1745 (220) P
Instruction Memorandum No. 2006-073
Expires: 09/30/2007

To:              All Field Officials

From:          Director

Subject:      Weed-Free Seed Use on Lands Administered by the Bureau of Land Management
Program Area: All programs which place seed, or approve the placement of seed on public lands. 
Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) describes Bureau of Land Management (BLM) policy for the quality of seed purchased by BLM for use on public lands.
Background:   The BLM Manual Section 1745 (1992) establishes policy and guidance for transplantation, augmentation, and reestablishment of habitat on public land utilizing native, and when necessary, introduced plant species. This action will comply with all Federal and State regulations, restrictions, and requirements governing the release and distribution of non-native exotic plants, including weed seeds.
BLM’s Partners Against Weeds – An Action Plan for the Bureau of Land Management, January 1996, outlines BLM’s plan to prevent and control the spread of noxious and invasive weeds on BLM lands. In addition, the 1999 Executive Order No. 13112 on Invasive Species states that each Federal agency shall not authorize, fund, or carry out actions that are likely to cause or promote the introduction or spread of invasive species in the United States.
The BLM obtains/purchases native or introduced plant seed, from seed producers and collectors for stabilization, rehabilitation, or restoration of public land. Prior to BLM accepting seed from any source, all seed must be tested for noxious weed seed at official state seed analysis labs.   Noxious weed seed is not allowed in certified seed according to individual State’s Department of Agriculture seed law and the Federal Seed Act. It has been acceptable for the seed lot (excluding species on the State and Federal noxious weed seed list) to contain from 0.5 percent to 2.0 percent of other “weed” seed depending on the State. “Other weed seed” is defined as any non-noxious weed seed, such as cheatgrass (downy brome) or Russian thistle, in the State(s) of concern. When purchased, all seed must also be of certified quality or source-identified.
Policy/Action: All Field Offices are required to use seed on public lands that contain no noxious weed seed and meets certified seed quality. All seed to be applied on public land must have a valid seed test, within one year of the acceptance date, from a seed analysis lab by a registered seed analyst (Association of Official Seed Analysts). The seed lab results shall show no more than 0.5 percent by weight of other weed seeds; and the seed lot shall contain no noxious, prohibited, or restricted weed seeds according to State seed laws in the respective State(s). The seed procured for use on public land will meet the Federal Seed Act criteria. Seed may contain up to 2.0 percent of “other crop seed” by weight which includes the seed of other agronomic crops and native plants; however, a lower percent of other crop seed is recommended. Copies of the seed lab test results, including purity and germination (viability) rate, must be forwarded to the appropriate BLM office prior to seed application. If the seed does not meet the BLM and State/Federal standard for noxious weed seed content or other crop seed allowances, it shall not be applied to public land. All seed test results must be retained in the seeding project file.
The BLM State contracts for seed may be more restrictive with “other weed seeds” of concern as deemed necessary.
All donated seed or seed used for “mitigation or restoration” by contractors per a reclamation plan must meet BLM’s noxious weed seed policy prior to use on public lands.
An exemption will be allowed for small reclamation projects, less than 20 acres or not to exceed 200 pounds of seed, which have an approved BLM reclamation or rehabilitation plan or permit. The seed will be accepted if accompanied by an official seed analysis report that provides documentation to show no noxious weed seed per State(s) weed law and no more than 0.5% other weed seeds. For this exception, any one of three seed test documents will be accepted:
1.     A certified “blue” tag or tags.
2.     An independent seed lab test.
3.     A seed lab analysis supplied by a vendor either by seed lot or by seed mix.
Straw or mulches applied as part of seeding, stabilization, rehabilitation, or restoration projects on public lands must be certified to be weed seed-free.
Timeframe: Effective immediately.
Budget Impact: Approximately 80% of the seed used on public lands is purchased during a National Seed Buy (three times a year average) via a national seed contract. Under this contract, the seed must be tested prior to acceptance and payment. Therefore, there will be no new costs associated with the National Seed Buy. For offices and programs not currently testing their seed for noxious weeds or are approving project proponents to apply seed on public land without first testing for noxious weeds there will be a slight increase in the cost of seeding treatments. A typical seed test costs between $120-220 per lot for purity, germination, and noxious weed seed analysis.
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: None.
Coordination: Coordination for this IM has been with WO-200, WO-220, WO-230, WO-270, WO-310, ID-930,
Contact: If you have any questions on policy, please contact Jack Hamby, National ES&R Program Lead, at (202) 452-7747 or via email at Jack_Hamby@blm.gov. Questions pertaining to seed test, viability, seed lot tags, or weed seeds should be directed to Scott M. Lambert, National Seed Coordinator, Idaho State Office, at (208) 373-3894 or by e-mail Scott_Lambert@blm.gov
Signed by:
Authenticated by:
Lawrence E. Benna
Robert M. Williams
Acting, Director
Policy and Records Group,WO-560

Last updated: 10-21-2009