Planting Sagebrush

plantingsagebrush-ND_402x267At the fringe of sage grouse range in North and South Dakota, there’s a lack of sagebrush among the plowed farmlands and non-native grasslands. That’s why SGI is helping to fund seed collection from the wild, growing plants in nurseries, and planting sagebrush in grasslands. From 2010 to 2013, people planted 3000 seedlings in Bowman and Slope Counties of North Dakotas, with 500 more planted in South Dakota. Managers are carefully monitoring survival rates. Success of plantings varies, depending on soil type, nutrients, precipitation and existing vegetation.

Similar efforts are underway in parts of Montana where sagebrush is in short supply. There, a small grants program of the BLM and the Montana Association of Conservation Districts with SGI dollars funded the Montana Conservation Corps project, where teens collected sagebrush seeds in eastern Montana in 2012. The Little Big Horn College also received a grant to collect seeds to grow and restore historic habitat on the Crow Reservation.

To find out more about this option, please talk with your local NRCS staff. For an excellent discussion and restoration guidelines, see Restoring and Rehabilitating Sagebrush Habitats, by David Pyke.

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