Seed Banking for Resiliency
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Plant Conservation Program recently received $3.5 million from the Department of the Interior Sandy Supplemental Mitigation Fund to support a seed collection program to provide locally adapted plant material to Hurricane Sandy restoration projects and begin developing an Eastern Seeds of Success program. LCC partner New England Wild Flower Society will work with BLM on this effort along with Mid Atlantic Regional Seed Bank and North Carolina Botanical Garden and Chicago Botanic Garden. LCC staff helped to coordinate this proposal through the Department of the Interior and BLM.
These three Seeds of Success partner organizations, will hire 28 interns and designate three seed collection coordinators to successfully make 1,400 seed collections. These seed collections will be used to establish germination protocols of thirty of the most common restoration species and be made available to coastal restoration projects funded through the Sandy Supplemental Mitigation Fund. It is recognized that genetically diverse plant material is essential for individual species and populations to adapt to environmental change. Project will target 30-50 foundation species in habitats affected by Hurricane Sandy, so that ongoing restoration projects have immediate access to the locally adapted, genetically diverse raw material needed to re-vegetate and facilitate resilience to coastal habitats. In order to ensure the continued use of native plant material in restoration projects throughout all Eastern habitats, this project will fund one Seeds of Success Eastern United States Coordinator that will be a liaison between federal, state, local and private land owners. Because only 4% of land in the Eastern United States is owned by the federal government, it is necessary to form partnerships among various land owners and managers in order to ensure the future availability of locally adapted seed for ongoing restoration projects.