Sampson Creek Preserve Seed Collection and Native Planting

Planting and seeding in the prescribed burn area in upland grassland and oak savanna habitat at the Sampson Creek Preserve.

In November Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds (KSNS) took part in a major native planting project for monarch butterfly habitat on the Sampson Creek Preserve outside Ashland, OR, near Emigrant Lake. The Sampson Creek Preserve is managed by the Selberg Institute as a nature preserve that encompasses nearly 4,800 acres of undeveloped grasslands, woodlands and forest. The preserve was a former cattle ranch and long-term cattle grazing has had an impact on the herbaceous native plant community in what is otherwise a stunningly beautiful and highly valuable habitat that borders the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. The Selberg Institute is taking steps to combat invasive species and restore the native plant diversity on the preserve.

Planting native plants for monarch butterfly habitat in the riparian area at the Sampson Creek Preserve.

The Sampson Creek Preserve planting is part of a larger project partially funded by a $193,786 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund. A coalition that included the Selberg Institute, Southern Oregon Monarch Advocates, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, BLM, and Lomakatsi Restoration Project secured the grant in order to do restoration work on a wide variety of sites in southwest Oregon, and across a large geographic area. Sites include Forest Service land in Agness, BLM/TNC land on Table Rocks, Forest Service land in Butte Falls, private land in the Colstein Valley and Ashland areas, as well as the Sampson Creek Preserve. This landscape-scale project is likely the largest effort to restore western monarch butterfly habitat in the West.

Planting native milkweed and other native herbaceous plants into the prescribed burn area at the Sampson Creek Preserve.

The overall goal of the project is to restore monarch butterfly habitat on 300 acres in southwest Oregon. The Sampson Creek Preserve portion of the project includes 40 acres of restoration within riparian habitat as well as upland, grassland habitat with an oak savanna component. Twenty acres of the grassland and oak savanna had a prescribed burn in the fall prior to planting and seeding. With help from KSNS, Southern Oregon Monarch Advocates (SOMA) and the Selberg Institute designed and implemented the planting and seeding at the Sampson Creek Preserve.

The planting at the Sampson Creek Preserve included a wide-variety of community partners, organizations, and volunteers: Pollinator Project Rogue Valley, Southern Oregon University students, SOMA, BLM botany interns, KSNS, the Selberg Institute, local monarch and pollinator advocates, and retired BLM and Forest Service staff, all pulled together to make it happen!

Maia Black, Executive Director of the Selberg Institute, mixing and planting seeds collected by Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds in the prescribed burn area.

Custom, site-specific seed mixing of native seeds collected at the Sampson Creek Preserve for seeding into the prescribed burn area.

Over the last two years KSNS has collected seed from various habitat types at Sampson Creek Preserve for growing out nursery stock and direct seeding. We collected seeds from 48 native species in 2017. See the full list here: 2017 SCP Seed Collection List

We took care to collect ethical amounts of seed from various collection locations on the Preserve to ensure the long-term viability of existing native plant populations. We collected, dried, and cleaned the seed, returning the seed to the Selberg Institute for the current monarch butterfly restoration work, and future restoration needs. It is important for local, genetically appropriate, site-specific native plant seed to be used for habitat restoration to ensure genetic diversity and local adaptation. We commend the Selberg Institute for their commitment to using local native plant seeds for their projects.

Over 7,000 native plants were planted for monarch butterfly habitat at the Sampson Creek Preserve, with a good portion of the seed used for the nursery-grown plants collected on-site at the preserve by Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds. The majority of the plants were milkweed for monarch caterpillars, but there was also a large, diverse selection of native nectar plants for adult monarchs planted as well. This work will benefit monarchs, but it will also benefit many other species of pollinator and wildlife at the preserve.

Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum), Tolmie’s cat’s ear (Calochortus tolmiei), Harvest brodiaea (Brodiaea elegans) seed collected at the Sampson Creek Preserve by Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds.

If you are interested in contracting Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds seed collection services for a project, please contact us early, as our summer seed collection season fills up fast!

After wildfire come wildflowers: A boon for pollinators

Wildflowers on the Siskiyou Crest following the 2012 Fort Goff Fire

An abundance of wildflower species growing along the Boundary Trail
in the Red Buttes following the 2012 Goff Fire, part of the Fort Complex Fire.

After wildfire come wildflowers: A boon for pollinators

BY SUZIE SAVOIE

Published: Winter 2017 Applegater Newspaper

People who hiked the Boundary Trail through the Red Buttes at the headwaters of the Applegate River after the 1987 wildfires reported massive floral displays on the Siskiyou Crest within the burned area. After the 2012 Fort Complex Fire, which also burned in the Red Buttes, I saw for myself the same thing: more wildflowers than anyone had seen in decades—and happy pollinators, too.

The diversity and color of wildflowers responding to the Fort Complex Fire was truly staggering. Before the fire, much of the area was covered in dense stands of montane chaparral. The Fort Complex Fire burned in a natural mosaic of high-severity fire in the montane chaparral, burning off large patches and encouraging a lush growth of wildflowers where the chaparral had once been. The wildflowers benefited from the wildfire.

After the Fort Complex Fire, wildflowers were blooming at the base of burned-off woody shrubs, responding to the lack of shrubby competition. Typically, before the fire, bluehead gilia (Gilia capitata) was seen only in the occasional rocky bald, but after the fire it carpeted the Boundary Trail in a spectacular display. Indian paintbrush (Castilleja spp.) and Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum) bloomed in abundance—some areas were so thick with blooming Oregon sunshine that you could see the golden-yellow hue from miles away. Parish’s nightshade (Solanum parishii) also appeared more abundantly. This species is strongly fire-adapted and often associated with chaparral habitat. Considered relatively rare in Oregon, this species is more abundant in California. Chinese houses (Collinsia spp.) were found in dense masses on thin, rocky soils throughout the fire-affected area; however, it was phacelia (Phacelia spp.) that stole the show. Where stands of montane chaparral were consumed by high-severity fire, the area was transformed into flower fields dominated by phacelia.

Over the next couple of years, we are likely to see the same amazing wildflower response within the fire-affected areas of this year’s Miller Complex Fire, which burned throughout the headwaters of the Applegate River as well as in the Red Buttes Wilderness. The majority of the Miller Complex Fire in the Applegate watershed burned at low to moderate severity, but some places, such as Azalea Lake in the Red Buttes Wilderness, did sustain some high-severity fire effects in the fire-adapted lodgepole pine forest. The trail into Azalea Lake will surely be a carpet of wildflowers within a couple of years, and it will be a boon for our native pollinators, creating colorful pollinator habitat out of the ashes.

Wildfires are a natural and necessary part of the ecosystem in the Siskiyou Mountains. Because the flora is fire-adapted—having evolved with natural lightning-caused wildfire and indigenous burning over millennia—many species of wildflowers respond positively to wildfires and often produce larger plants and more abundant flowers.

Wildfires can rejuvenate the landscape. Many plant species need the heat of fire to reproduce or their populations will dwindle. For example, knobcone pinecones can remain closed for 80 to 100 years without fire, and rare Baker’s cypress seeds are also released from their cones from the heat of wildfire. Intense heat can break down seed coats and clear away competing vegetation, allowing wildflower seeds to germinate and the plants to thrive and grow. Recent studies have shown that chemicals from charred wood in the soil following wildfire also stimulate seed germination and plant growth. The seeds of many wildflower species can lie dormant in the soil for decades and then germinate by the millions following wildfire. The plants may have been there long ago, but the area has since turned into chaparral or forest; after a fire the seeds finally have the right opportunity to germinate.

Wildfires enhance the world-class biodiversity in the Siskiyou Mountains. The massive floral displays following wildfires are not only beautiful but are also bountiful feasts for hungry pollinators reliant on nectar and pollen from wildflowers for food. Wildfires can increase the available food for native bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, and other pollinators.

I look forward to continuing my exploration of the fire-affected areas in the Miller Complex Fire over the next couple of years. The flowers are going to be bee-eautiful!

Suzie Savoie, Conservation Chair, Siskiyou Chapter Native Plant Society of Oregon

 

An abundance of wildflower species growing along the Boundary Trail
in the Red Buttes following the 2012 Goff Fire, part of the Fort Complex Fire.

Pollinator habitat restoration on public land along the Applegate River

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest has been implementing pollinator habitat restoration projects on public land along the Applegate River. Over the last two years many sites along the Applegate River have been planted with native flowering plants beneficial to native pollinators such as bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, beetles, and pollinating flies and wasps. Monarch butterfly conservation has been a particular focus of the project, and many of the native plants will provide crucial nectar resources for monarch butterflies as they migrate along the Applegate River.

Many of these pollinator plants have been grown at the Forest Service’s Dorena Nursery, from seeds collected by Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds (KSNS). The seeds were collected from native pentemons, buckwheats, milkweed, western verbena, bluehead gilia, bush penstemons, and bicolor annual lupines that grow in the vicinity of the project areas, making the seed ideally suited for site-specific habitat restoration. Some of the seed was used for growing containerized plants at the nursery for out-planting, and some of the seed has been direct seeded at the project sites.

At KSNS, we are happy to be part of this important work. We have also volunteered to help plant some of the plants alongside Forest Service staff, Southern Oregon Monarch Advocates, Applegate Neighborhood Network, and local Applegate community members. We look forward to seeing these areas with abundant flowers and pollinators in the near future, and we hope our public land managers continue implementing projects that benefit native plant and pollinator conservation.

 

Growth and Survival of Two Western Milkweed Species

Asclepias speciosa with monarch butterfly

Are you the type of person who wants detailed, highly informed information about native plants and native plant propagation?

If so, you may be interested in reading a recent study that looked at the growth of showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) and narrowleaf milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis) in nursery production. Collecting from various locations to increase genetic diversity for the study, Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds supplied the seeds of both species for this research. We are happy to be a part of the growing interest in research that will help the iconic monarch butterfly.

Read the study here:

Growth and Survival of Two Western Milkweed Species: Effects of Container Volume and Fertilizer Rate

 

Successful Native Seed Projects

Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds are used in many different applications each year.

From commercial nursery production, to large and small habitat restoration projects, roadside revegetation, botanical gardens, native plant research, and backyard pollinator gardens — you name it! It gives us great satisfaction to see all the hard work come to life!

What does it take? Seed site reconnaissance, collection, cleaning, processing, packaging, and lots of time goes into the production of our local, wildcrafted native seeds. We pour our hearts into it because it feels so good to watch these native plants grow, provide habitat and restore ecosystems throughout the region.

Please enjoy this slide show featuring a few of the successful projects where Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds were used in 2017. Another great season watching native plants grown from seed thrive!

Do you have a photo of the plants you grew from our seed? If so we’d love to see it! To another year of successful native seed projects! Yay!

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Workshops and Presentations

Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seed's hands-on native seed cleaning workshop at Sanctuary One

Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seed’s hands-on native seed cleaning workshop at Sanctuary One animal sanctuary in the Applegate Valley.

KSNS logo

Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds participates in many community outreach events, including presentations, panels, workshops, symposiums, small events, and large events that incorporate the use of native plants and native plant seeds into their themes or programs.

This week we had the honor of being invited to do a presentation at Sanctuary One animal sanctuary in the Applegate Valley in southern Oregon. After a one-hour Powerpoint presentation, “Using Native Seeds for Land Stewardship and Pollinator Habitat,” we provided some hands-on work with native seeds. Giving people, including kids, the opportunity to see the seeds, experiment with seed cleaning techniques and packaging the cleaned seeds allows for a deeper understanding of the native plants themselves and how they reproduce.

Workshop participants got to take seed home that they cleaned in the workshop to grow out on their own in the future. This workshop used basic household items to show that the collection and processing of native plant seeds can be done on a small scale without the need for expensive equipment.

Thanks to Sanctuary One for hosting such a great community event!

Contact us at klamathsiskiyou@gmail.com if you would like us to incorporate native plant propagation, native plant conservation, or native plant seeds into your program, workshop, event, or presentation in southern Oregon or northern California.

 

Seed Collection is in Full Swing

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Collecting seeds of meadow larkspur (Delphinium nuttallianum) in a high elevation meadow on the Siskiyou Crest.

The seed collection field season is in full swing. The high elevation wildflowers are putting on a spectacular display this year, making it is hard to decide if I want to go see the high country wildflowers or stay in the low country to collect seed. Sometimes I can get the best of both worlds, as some early-blooming species are already going to seed in the high country. We have been collecting species like meadow larkspur (Delphinum nuttallianum) and Siskiyou lewisia (Lewisia cotyledon) that are ready in the higher elevations.

Meadow larkspur (Delphinium nuttallianum) seed

Meadow larkspur (Delphinium nuttallianum) seed

Meadow larkspur (Delphinium nuttallianum)

Meadow larkspur (Delphinium nuttallianum)

Siskiyou lewisia (Lewisia cotyledon) seed

Siskiyou lewisia (Lewisia cotyledon) seed

Ch 2 or Bot. feature Ch 9 Lewisia Cotyledon

Siskiyou lewisia (Lewisia cotyledon)

It’s a busy time of year for us at Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds. We are in the field as much as we can be, and when we’re not in the field we are processing and cleaning seeds. This all takes a lot of time and effort. We will have a great selection of species to choose from this fall! Don’t hesitate to give us a heads up if you are interested in seed for a particular species. We can keep an eye out for it as we get around the Klamath-Siskiyou region collecting seeds from far and wide. Email: klamathsiskiyou@gmail.com

A time lapse video of cleaning Silver bush lupine (Lupinus albifrons) seed.

 

4th of July Wildflower Show in Ashland

Siskiyou Chapter Native Plant Society of Oregon is hosting the 4th of July Wildflower show in Ashland, Oregon

Siskiyou Chapter Native Plant Society of Oregon is hosting the 4th of July Wildflower show in Ashland, Oregon

Do you love the flora of the Klamath-Siskiyou? Come see over 300 species of wildflowers at the 4th of July Wildflower show in Ashland, Oregon.

Collected flowers are carefully arranged and identified for a quick and beautiful learning experience.

Want to help collect wildflowers for the show or help set up the show? No experience necessary. It’s a fun way to support native plant conservation and native plant awareness while learning along the way.

Thanks to the Siskiyou Chapter Native Plant Society of Oregon for putting on this fabulous show every 4th of July in Ashland, Oregon.

Volunteers needed for the 4th of July Wildflower show in Ashland, Oregon

Volunteers needed for the 4th of July Wildflower show in Ashland, Oregon