Squaxin Island Tribe's Natural Resources

Squaxin Island Tribe's Natural Resource Department Weblog

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Science-based strategies and unique partnerships to restore endangered species to South Sound Prairies

October 23rd, 2014 by Erica Marbet Comments Off on Science-based strategies and unique partnerships to restore endangered species to South Sound Prairies

This talk is being given by Sarah Hamman of the Center for Natural Lands Management.
I’m jumping in a little late to blog this talk, but here we go.
Prescribed fire is a very important tool to remove scotch broom and non-native grasses from South Sound prairies. They have over fifty trained fire fighters (fire setters) who work on prescribed burns. Over the past decade, they have learned how to use fire to its greatest benfits. From 50 acres in 2005 to over 2500 acres burned in the past year. A hot headfire removes scotch broom. A low intensity low severity burn increases bare ground and stimulates germination. Once they complete a fire, they put seed on the ground. They have been adapting farming and agricultural practices to try to get as many native species on the ground as possible. Each species takes a different strategy.

They have been able to greatly increase the poundage of native seed production over the past decade. Field germination rates of native species are typically less than 25%, many less than 10%. Very low germination rates, which one of the reasons why these species are struggling in the first place.

The checker spot butterfly is very picky about where it germinates. It needs golden paintbrush, Indian paintbrush, and plantain. That went by fast. I need to check the exact name of those three species.

Women from the Sustainable Prisons Project helped grow plants and tend to butterflies in studies of butterfly preference.

Understanding the most efficient effective strategies for each step of restoration will help restore prairies successfully in the Pacific Northwest.

Some important, unique partnerships have been key to forwarding prairie restoration here. Joint Base Lewis McCord, Department of Corrections, Universities… The list was so long, that I could not write it out.

Tags: South Sound Science 14