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Colorado Plateau Native Plant Initiative

Currently, there is a deficiency in site-adapted native plant materials for the Colorado Plateau region. Seed from the majority of key local native species is not available in sufficient quantities for large-scale projects nor is information related to the growth characteristics and cultivation techniques of these species known. In addition, new technologies for the successful wildland establishment of diverse native communities are needed.

Boundary Map of the CPNPI

Recognizing these needs, representatives from the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, State Wildlife Agencies, Northern Arizona University, and the Uncompahgre Plateau (UP) Project have met to discuss the formation of the Colorado Plateau Native Plant Initiative (CPNPI); an interagency, multi-state, native plant materials program.

In 2009, the BLM hired a coordinator, Wayne Padgett, for the CPNPI effort. The CPNPI will develop priorities similar to the Great Basin Native Plant Selection and Increase Project and will build upon the successes of the UP Native Plant Program. The synergy of this regional effort will make the best use of limited time and resources and assist the CPNPI efforts in meeting our goals and objectives.

Our vision is a Colorado Plateau that supports native plant communities and their associated species for future generations.

1. Develop an adequate supply of native plant materials to facilitate the enhancement, recovery and/or restoration of landscapes.
2. Develop methodologies to ensure successful establishment and persistence of native plant materials.
3. Cooperate with public and private entities in the sharing of information.

1. Create and maintain an organizational structure to administer the CPNPI.
2. Identify partners’ current and future needs and develop a strategic plan that addresses these needs.
3. Compile and evaluate known information.
4. Evaluate existing and potential facilities and resources.
5. Determine genetic adaptability of current program species.
6. Establish a network of growers.
7. Develop long-term strategies for the production and research of native plant materials.
8. Identify adaptable management prescriptions for different landscapes and species.
9. Ensure adequate monitoring and evaluation of restoration and rehabilitation efforts.
10. Establish demonstration areas and sponsor tours, workshops and symposiums.
11. Develop outreach material, publications, website, etc.

Why Act Now?
Recent major wildfires and declining wildlife populations highlight the need to enhance, recover and/or restore ecosystems within the Colorado Plateau. A stable and significant supply of native seed is needed to facilitate the restoration and rehabilitation of native plant communities within these wildland burned areas, fuels reduction treatment areas, depleted rangeland, wildlife habitat, energy development areas and for noxious weed prevention. To produce this quantity and quality of native plant materials, a coordinated, regional effort is essential.

Why Participate?
The development and production of native plants is a substantial and long-term commitment. The CPNPI partners will benefit from a comprehensive and coordinated interagency program that pools resources and maximizes efficiency. The program will build upon the established UP Native Plant Program and will coordinate with the Great Basin Native Plant Selection and Increase Project.

Current Progress
As the awareness of the need for viable native plant communities has grown, local efforts have been made across the Colorado Plateau to produce and research native species. One such program is the UP Native Plant Program. Since 2002, the UP Native Plant Program has been working to develop an adequate supply of seed for a variety of species native to the Colorado Plateau for use in restoration activities on public and private lands. This program, like many others in this region, takes its direction from the US Department of the Interior and the US Department of Agriculture in their 2002 Report to Congress: ’Interagency Program to Supply and Manage Native Plant Materials for Restoration and Rehabilitation of Federal Lands’ and the 'Seeds of Success' Program initiated by the BLM in 2001.

The primary elements of the program will include: the production of native plant materials; basic and applied research on native species; and training and dissemination of information on restoration activities and native plant communities. The program has over 50 species in either study or production fields. The CPNPI will expand upon this and other local and state programs.

Estimated costs per species for collection, research, increase and release are $15-25K/year. The average timeframe for the development of a species ranges from 4-12 yrs. (Estimates are based on annual operating costs for the UP and the GBRI.)

To learn more about the CPNPI, you can contact: Wayne Padgett at Wayne_Padgett@blm.gov

To download this information in pdf format, click here.