Recovery of At-Risk Native Prairie Species

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$73,000
2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$74,000
Fund Source
Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund
Recipient
Martin County Soil and Water Conservation District
Recipient Type
Local/Regional Government
Status
Completed
Start Date
July 2011
End Date
June 2014
Activity Type
Assessment/Evaluation
Education/Outreach/Engagement
Inventory
Preservation
Restoration/Enhancement
Technical Assistance
Counties Affected
Martin
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011, First Special Session, Chp. 2, Art.3, Sec. 2, Subd. 04n
Appropriation Language

$73,000 the first year and $74,000 the second year are from the trust fund to the Board of Water and Soil Resources for an agreement with the Martin County Soil and Water Conservation District to collect, propagate, and plant declining, at-risk native species on protected habitat and to enhance private market sources for local ecotype native seed. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2014, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$73,000
Direct expenses
$73,000
Number of full time equivalents funded
1.8
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011, First Special Session, Chp. 2, Art.3, Sec. 2, Subd. 04n
Appropriation Language

$73,000 the first year and $74,000 the second year are from the trust fund to the Board of Water and Soil Resources for an agreement with the Martin County Soil and Water Conservation District to collect, propagate, and plant declining, at-risk native species on protected habitat and to enhance private market sources for local ecotype native seed. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2014, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$74,000
Direct expenses
$74,000
Number of full time equivalents funded
1.79
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Project Overview

PROJECT OVERVIEW
With less than 1% of the original native prairie remaining in the state, many locally-adapted prairie species are in decline and at-risk of being lost due to continued habitat fragmentation and land conversion. This poses challenges to efforts to preserve these species because seed sources for these plants are therefore also becoming fewer. Using this appropriation the Martin County Soil and Water Conservation District aims to help reverse this trend. Through partnerships with local seed growers and nurseries they will collect, propagate, and plant these declining and at-risk, locally-adapted plant species on protected habitat as part of restoration efforts in order to encourage and increase their presence on the landscape.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The project focus was to accelerate the local ecotype seed availability of declining species for use on restoration projects. This project was undertaken in large part because 90 of the 238 species documented so far in Martin County by the Minnesota County Biological Survey of 2009 are considered to be at-risk. Native seeds were collected from 118 species off 33 different sites and we monitored additional prairie remnants. This project protected remaining native populations and expanded populations to new sites, enhancing environmental conditions and improving habitat diversity for wildlife.

This project continuously proved to be a great educational opportunity. Each fall, area high school students were taught native plant species and assisted in native seed collection. High school athletic groups also volunteered with native seed collection. Over 250 people have been reached through one-on-one interactions. We have also heard repeatedly from these individuals that once they learn a little about native plant species, they continue to learn more independently and share the knowledge they have gained with others. We also educated landowners and students about identifying and distinguishing between native and invasive species. We have also gained a number of new volunteers.

Native seeds were planted on 22 protected sites. Sites that had been previously planted were monitored. Photographs were taken to document both the native stands and progress on the planted areas. A local conservation organization, Fox Lake Conservation League, provided land for plant propagation. From this site, we were able to propagate a variety of species, including Butterfly weed, Prairie phlox, Cream wild indigo, and others.

We also monitored the populations of Tuberous Indian plantain, Sullivant's milkweed, Small white lady slipper, Showy milkweed, Prairie bush clover and Eared false foxglove. Two additional Small white lady slipper populations were discovered during this project, bringing the total to three locations in Martin County. Martin SWCD visited and inventoried numerous sites with MCIA to source verify native stands and document populations on sites that will be planted.

Overall, this project greatly increased local ecotype native plant materials and increased the knowledge Minnesotans have of their environment.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Information from this project was discussed numerous times during the Martin SWCD weekly radio program. "Recovery of At-Risk Native Prairie Species" was written about six times in the county-wide Conservation Update. This project was also discussed repeatedly with area students, local conservation organizations, and other Soil and Water Conservation Districts. First Rite of Spring events were also held where local residents are invited to look at the first Pasque flowers and other early spring plant species. One-on-one interactions with local citizens also proved to be a very effective way to share information learned from this project. We also gained new volunteers who were interested in learning more about native plant species.

Project Details
Project Manager
First Name
Rich
Last Name
Perrine
Organization Name
Martin County Soil and Water Conservation District
Street Address
923 N State St, Ste 110
City
Fairmont
State
MN
Zip Code
56031
Phone
(507) 235-6680
Email
richard.perrine@mn.nacdnet.net