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February 25, 2016   | 8:30 AM

Native Plants

Sage-grouse require diverse sagebrush-associated plant communities to survive and reproduce, however many of these habitats have been severely degraded. Because sagebrush habitat can be slow to recover naturally, sagebrush plant community restoration may be the only way to increase existing sage-grouse habitat in a timely manner. Native plant materials that underpin restoration efforts are being developed through innovative partnerships between research and management programs. This session seeks to highlight those projects.

Session Lead: Francis Kilkenny
U.S. Forest Service, Research Biologist, 322 E Front Street Suite 401, Boise, Idaho 83702;
Phone: 208-373-4376;

Speaker Information:

So, what is a seed zone anyway?
Francis Kilkenny
, USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station, 322 E Front Street Suite 401, Boise, ID 83702,

Dr. Kilkenny will speak about how seed zones and seed transfer guidelines are constructed from climatic, common garden and genetic data, and how they can be used in native plant material development for use in ecosystem restoration. Examples will focus on bunchgrasses native to the Great Basin and Intermountain West. Dr. Francis Kilkenny is a USFS Research Biologist and lead of the Great Basin Native Plant Project, an interagency project between the BLM Plant Conservation Program and the USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station. His research interests include the ecological and evolutionary impacts of climate change on native and invasive plant species, the evolution of local adaptation in native and invasive plant species, and the use of ecological genetics in restoration.

The synthesis of adaptive traits in big sagebrush to understand climatic adaptation and develop seed zones
Bryce Richardson
, USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station, 735 North 500 East, Provo UT 84606,

Dr. Richardson will demonstrate how growth, flower phenology, seed yield and survival traits of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) are associated with climate variables at the seed source, and will discuss how these adaptive genetic patterns are synthesized into seed zones, and how these zones are arrayed for contemporary and future climates. Dr. Richardson's research focuses on molecular and quantitative genetics of shrub and tree species. This research includes understanding the evolutionary relationships, population genetic structure, and adaptive genetic variation. Current projects include the following species: big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosissima) and aspen (Populus tremuloides). This research employs various genetic techniques: common garden trials to measure adaptive variation in quantitative traits, next-generation sequencing to develop molecular markers and annotate genes, and genecology to develop association between traits and climate variables to infer seeds zones for current and future climates.

The development process of 'Bannock II' thickspike wheatgrass
Joseph Robins
, USDA Forage and Range Research Laboratory, Utah State University, 696 North 1100 East, Logan, UT 84322,

Dr. Robins will speak about the development process of thickspike wheatgrass (Elymus lanceolatus) varieties for use as forage and in restoration in the Intermountain West. Dr. Robins is a plant geneticist with USDA Forage and Range Research Laboratory in Logan, UT. His research focuses on the development of perennial cool-season grasses for use in the Intermountain United States. Additionally, he researches the underlying genetics of complex phenotypes and the importance of genotype by environment interaction on the expression of phenotypes.

A collaborative effort between Federal and private partners to increase the availability of genetically appropriate native seed
Sarah Kulpa
, US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1340 Financial Blvd., Suite 234 Reno, NV 89502 Reno NV,

Sarah Kulpa will discuss the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service collaboration with the Great Basin Native Plant Project, Bureau of Land Management's National Plant Conservation Program, and BFI Native Seeds, to fund the evaluation and increase of locally adapted, genetically appropriate plant material for use in the restoration of Great Basin ecosystems. Sarah Kulpa is the botanist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service located in Reno, Nevada. Her work focuses on plant restoration and conservation issues related to Great Basin and Mojave Desert ecosystems throughout the state. Sarah received her M.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Science from the University of Nevada, Reno and her B.S. in biology from St. Michael's College.

The Presidential Memorandum on Pollinators and what it means for restoration and reclamation projects
John Proctor
, USFS Intermountain Region, 324 25th Street, Ogden, UT 84401,

John Proctor will speak on how the 2014 Presidential Memorandum on pollinators will be a component of all future Forest Service restoration and reclamation projects. He will discuss how the Forest Service is working with partners, including the seed industry, to establish a reserve of native seed mixes, including pollinator-friendly plants, for use on post-fire rehabilitation projects and other restoration activities to increase the quantity and quality of habitat. John Proctor is the Regional Botanist, Native Plant Materials Coordinator, and Invasive Species Coordinator for the Intermountain Region in Ogden, UT. He has over 15 years' experience managing Botany and Native Plant Material Programs in the Forest Service including 6 years as Forest Botanist on the White River NF, 8 years as Forest Botanist on the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest and Thunder Basin National Grassland and 2 years as the South Zone Botanist on the Rogue River National Fores. John has spent much of his career working to promote the development and use of adapted native plant materials in revegetation projects to help maintain ecosystem health, resiliency and productivity of NFS and adjacent wildlands.

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