This Prairie Grassland Project Collected Native Seeds


BLM funded the partnership with private donations and the Society for Ecological Restoration, a conservation organization. The agency prioritizes native plants in restoration projects through the national native seed collection program; seeds from the region in question usually grow better than seeds brought from far away. But the seed supply is limited. “With the federal government wanting to put a lot of native plants there,” Velman said, “who better to tell us what’s on the ground than what’s on here forever?”

Last year, the grassland restoration project only collected seeds from federal lands, but this year, the council invited the program to also use tribal lands. There was a clear variation in the seeds collected from the two areas, possibly due to past grazing or fire. BLM’s plans next to the reserve are struggling at a time when it has become the worst thirst in at least 30 years. “Everyone was about to die in the second week of July,” Eisenberg said. But many of the tribe’s plots flourished until the summer, when most of the seeds collected were finally counted.

Twenty -three pounds of seeds were collected this year, stored in well -written paper bags, and shipped to the U.S. Forest Service’s cleanup facility in Oregon. BLM owns seeds collected on public lands, while seeds collected on tribal lands belong to the majority of the tribe, which agrees to keep the first 10,000 seeds of each species at federal facilities. in Washington and Colorado as part of the national native collection effort.

However, most of the seeds – there are 181,000 in just one pound of green needlegrass – will return to Fort Belknap. The tribal council could sell BLM seeds, use them to reclaim damaged land, or perhaps start their own seed -growing business. Project leaders hope to plant some of the seeds on the tribe’s lands in a few years, once the tribal council approves a restoration plan and the plans are ready for planting. Finally BLM plans to sow seeds in the region as well.

Pronghorn sighed from a dirt road, the white office turned white, as a group of energetic farm technicians headed to their first place in the sun, a field field in the southeast reserve. It was August, the end of the season, and they had to collect the game cameras they had prepared there to study the wildlife impact on the plants on the site.

The air was damp and smoke, bubbling with bug spray and sage, preceded by the morning rain. Tyrus Brockie, the junior farm technician, wore gaiters in his boots to protect against snake bites. He taught the ranch to his uncle, where he helped raise cattle. Brockie recently caught on to the scene: “Now I’m quiet in my morning [looking at the grasses], ”He said. He considered studying natural resources at Aaniiih Nakoda College: “This job is what I want to go and learn.”

Young participants in the rehabilitation program, who are paid, can progress from community members to entry-level, and eventually senior, farm technicians. Community members spent a week on the team this summer, as did 22-year-old Sakura Main, working with her younger sister and cousin. Senior technicians like Brockie work the entire eight -week season on the field. “I didn’t know the restoration of the grasslands was very important,” said Main, an enrolled member of Aaniiih. “If it’s in your yard, you don’t always notice it.”



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