The goal of the Uncompahgre Plateau Native Plant Program is to develop an adequate supply of a variety of seed species native to the Colorado Plateau for use in restoration activities.
Native seed is currently not available for many key native species needed for large-scale restoration projects in the Colorado Plateau Region. A significant amount of high quality seed is needed to facilitate the restoration and rehabilitation of wildland burned areas, depleted rangeland, shrublands, woodlands, big game winter range and sage-grouse habitat. The Native Plant Program is facilitating the collection and propagation of native seed to make it available to agencies and private landowners for this restoration work.
The Native Plant Program has selected principal species considered suitable for a variety of ecosystems and restoration prescriptions. Wildland collections of these native species have been made and the seed was provided to Plant Material Centers to establish ‘foundation fields’. Seed from these fields was then provided to qualified growers for commercial production. Native seed of several priority species is available from certified commercial fields to federal and state agencies and private landowners in sufficient quantities to begin seeding restoration projects in the Colorado Plateau Region.
The Program uses a comprehensive approach involving research and applied studies to ensure successful propagation and wildland seeding of native species. Studies include: Plant Life History, Seedbed Ecology, Competition and Spacing Studies, Natural Recruitment, Species Adaptability, Seed Rearing, Wildland Stand Management, and Field Application Techniques. These studies have been or are being carried out at facilities around the west including: The Great Basin Station, UT; Colorado State University, CO; Brigham Young University, UT; Snow College, UT; Meeker Plant Materials Center, CO; FS Lucky Peak Nursery, ID; Lone Peak Nursery, UT and private growers.
The Program was expanded in 2004-05 from the Uncompahgre Plateau (an area of 1.5 million acres in SW Colorado) to encompass the Upper Colorado Plateau area. Partners now include: USFS Regions 2 and 4, USDI BLM Colorado and Utah State Offices, and Colorado and Utah Division of Wildlife Offices. The UP is now participating the Colorado Plateau Native Plant Initiative.