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Seed-by-seed; habitat recovery in the works
The San Juan County Land Bank and San Juan Preservation Trust recently announced a new cooperative venture: the Salish Seed Project.
Currently underway in Friday Harbor, the Salish Seed Project will produce plants and seeds of native island wildflowers and grasses for local restoration projects.
“Many of our local wildflowers are in decline," Land Bank steward Eliza Habegger said. "Learning how to raise them from seed to flowering makes us hopeful and proud. Most of the plant species selected for the project are impossible to find commercially.”
The Salish Seed Project will further both organizations’ efforts to care for and recover vanishing Garry oak savannah and prairie habitats for future generations.
“Both the Land Bank and the Preservation Trust share similar visions for restoration," Preservation Trust stewardship manager Kathleen Foley said. "By sharing facilities and resources, we can maximize the effectiveness our efforts to restore our beautiful Garry oak and prairie habitats.”
Initially, plants and seeds produced through the project will be used at restoration sites on Land Bank and Preservation Trust preserves, but the partners hope the project will make plants or seeds available for other conservation areas and to private landowners eventually.
Established in September 2013 at the Land Bank’s office in Friday Harbor, a wildflower nursery is now producing small plants, or plugs, of native perennials, bulbs, Garry oaks, and an assortment of other local plants.
This June, the San Juan Preservation Trust’s Red Mill Farm in San Juan Valley will become home to a new, larger nursery facility.
With support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Salish Seed Project’s nursery at Red Mill Farm will focus initially on producing seeds of the golden paintbrush, considered a threatened species by U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and plants that grow in association with paintbrush.
“Community involvement is central to the Salish Seed Project,” Habegger said. “We are seeking volunteers to collect seed from the wild, tend the nursery, and eventually plant in restoration zones on preserves.”
More info is available by contacting Habegger at 378-4402, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Foley, at 378-2461 or email@example.com.