An unusual three-way partnership hopes to find ways to more effectively replant and restore High Desert land scarred by wildfire.
OSU-Cascades, the National Park Service and the Worthy Brewing Garden Club have joined forces to develop a plant propagation center in Bend that can be used by public land managers all over the west.
Professor Matt Shinderman, a natural resources instructor at the Bend Oregon State University campus, says the partnership is a natural linking of resources and expertise.
“The problems that we are all hoping to resolve are all large, complicated problems,” Shinderman said.
Tom Rodhouse, an ecologist with the National Park Service, describes the challenges land managers face when trying to replant areas after a fire has burned through, or in other situations when they’re trying to restore critical habitat.
“It’s a really interesting logistical challenge. we need many, many bags of seeds, lots of these container plants that you see around. ready to go. and they need to be the right choices for the landscapes that need them at the time they need them,” Rodhouse said.
Rick Martinson, who runs the Worthy Brewing Garden Club — which has been reorganized as a non-profit organization — says tracking the specific genetics of various local plants can help predict which plant types will grow best in which areas. Matching plants with locations and types of ecosystems can benefit restoration efforts.
“Having the genetic stock for those locations is really important, too. The plants are really adapted to that specific environment. It can be the same species but the genetics can vary widely depending on location. So we’re trying to match the genetics within the location and that’s going to impact the success rate significantly,” Martinson said.
Long range plans include having a series of plant-propagation centers, Like the one being developed in Bend, in various locations around the west.