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BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT TECHNICAL PROTOCOL FOR THE COLLECTION, STUDY, AND CONSERVATION OF SEEDS FROM NATIVE PLANT SPECIES for SEEDS OF SUCCESS (Updated July 1, 2015) Table of Contents Table of Contents Introduction a. Program History b. Program Goals Training, Communication, and Annual Reporting a. Training b. Communication c. Annual Reporting Target Species Species Excluded from this Program Storage and Distribution... 7 Table 1. Seeds of Success (SOS) germplasm proportioning for long-term back-up and working collection samples Permission to Collect a. Collecting on BLM Lands b. Collecting on Non-BLM Lands Assessing Populations for Collection a. Preliminary Site Visits Sampling Strategy Seed Collection Techniques Identification and Herbarium Specimens a. Verification by a Local Taxonomist b. Nomenclature Field Documentation a. Seed Collection Reference Number Format Photos Post-Collection Seed Care Packaging and Shipping a. Packaging of Seed b. Shipping Seeds for Cleaning (for BLM and federal agencies) c. Shipping Seeds for Storage (for non-federal partners that have cleaned seed) d. Shipping Herbarium Vouchers to the National Herbarium and Elsewhere e. Requesting Return of Seed from Bend Appendix 1. Program Contacts: National Coordinating Office Appendix 2. Program Contacts: Seeds of Success Collectors Appendix 3. BLM Seeds of Success Field Data Form Appendix 4. Seeds of Success Return Request: Clearance Form Appendix 5. Seeds of Success Annual Report Appendix 6. Offices and Herbaria Selected to Receive Herbarium Duplicates from the Seeds of Success Program Appendix 7. BLM Offices and Mail Stop/Collector Codes Appendix 8. CPC National Collection of Endangered Plants Appendix 9. References Topic Index 1. Introduction This protocol outlines the procedures for making seed collections for Seeds of Success, part of the national Native Plant Materials Development Program. The purpose of the Seeds of Success program in the United States is to establish a national, high quality, accurately identified and well documented native plant species seed collection. All seed collections made following this protocol can be used to support development of geographically appropriate native plant materials for restoration and emergency fire rehabilitation. Each seed collection should comprise of a significant representation of the genetic variation within the sampled population. The national collection acts as the basis for off site (ex situ) conservation and, where and when appropriate, can be used for study and multiplication in the native plant materials development program. 1a. Program History The Bureau of Land Management and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew s Millennium Seed Bank originally participated in the Seeds of Success (SOS) program under the terms of a cooperative agreement signed by both parties in May 2000, with a renewed agreement signed in November In the first year of the program there were 23 different collection teams in the United States for Seeds of Success. Since the original signing of the agreement, SOS has grown to include: Chicago Botanic Garden; Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center; New England Wild Flower Society; New York Department of Parks and Recreation, Greenbelt Native Plant Center; North Carolina Botanic Garden; and the Zoological Society of San Diego. Today there are more than 65 collection teams; this group plus the cleaning, storage and funding organizations is collectively referred to as the SOS Partners. Phase 1 of the Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) Project was completed in 2010, 10 years after it began. At that point, the nature of the Seeds of Success program changed as funding from Kew was no longer distributed to U.S. partners. Instead of making one seed collection for each of the species on the Kew list, SOS shifted its collection strategy to making multiple collections of restoration and rehabilitation species to have genetically representative seed from across their range. In June of 2008, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by the Bureau of Land Management, Chicago Botanic Garden, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, New England Wild Flower Society, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, North Carolina Botanical Garden, and the Zoological Society of San Diego. The MOU ratifies Seeds of Success as a national native seed collection program in the United States coordinated by BLM. The MOU is available on the SOS website (http://www.blm.gov/sos). 1b. Program Goals The goal of SOS is to provide wild collected seeds to researchers for common garden studies and other native plant materials development projects within the national Native Plant Materials Development Program. The goal of the Native Plant Materials Development Program, led by the Bureau of Land Management, is to ensure a stable and economical supply of native plant materials for restoration and rehabilitation efforts on public lands. The Seeds of Success 3 collection program is the first step in this process of developing native plant materials. During Phase 1 of the Millennium Seed Bank Project ( ), there was a goal of collecting 10% of the world s flora. With SOS as the U.S. partner, MSB was able to reach this goal. Estimates have shown that between 10 and 20 collections of a single species, across its range, are needed to develop genetically appropriate ecotypes, thus this is a collection goal for each species collected by SOS. Processing and storage partnerships have been formed to achieve the program s goal of native plant materials development so that SOS collectors can make collections throughout the range of targeted species. 2. Training, Communication, and Annual Reporting 2a. Training It is extremely important that groups and individuals collecting seed for SOS are well trained so that plant populations are not harmed during the collection process and the protocol is followed to ensure data integrity The training course, Seed Collection for Restoration and Conservation has been developed to provide comprehensive training for SOS seed collection partners. Before starting an SOS team, or making SOS collections, it is highly recommended that at least one lead botanist (all team members are welcome) participate in the training course. If you are founding a SOS team and need to train a collection team, contact the National Coordinating Office for more information. 2b. Communication SOS has three primary means of communication between the National Coordinating Office, collectors and other partners. These include the SOS website, SOS listserv and monthly Collectors Call. Web: The website may be viewed at and includes information about targeted species, collection guidance, training materials and contact information. List: SOS has an list for discussing the Seeds of Success program. You must be subscribed to the list in order to post or send a message out to all the subscribers. Anyone is allowed to subscribe to the group, so if you know of someone who is interested, feel free to tell them about the list. To subscribe to the list, send an to with the following information in the body of the message (not the subject): SUBSCRIBE 4 You will then receive an that you will need to reply to in order to confirm your subscription. After you confirm your subscription, another will be sent with instructions on how to use the list. Call: On the first Tuesday of every month, collectors are invited to participate in the Collectors Call, a conference call for all SOS Partners. This is a forum for discussion to raise issues and questions with other collectors and the National Coordinating Office. The conference call number cannot be posted on the website; contact the National Coordinating Office for details and to submit agenda items. Reminders, cancellations, and agendas will be posted to the SOS list. 2c. Annual Reporting Collectors Call Time 12 noon EST 10 am MST 11 am CST 9 am PST 8 am AKST When each collecting team has finished for the season, they must complete an annual report. A template and example is available on the SOS website and will be circulated at the end of each collecting season. The annual report is intended to summarize the collecting season, collections, difficulties and highlights, as well as improvements to be made for the upcoming year. This report is to be submitted to the SOS National Coordinating Office. Additional comments may be submitted to the National Coordinating Office at anytime throughout the year. 3. Target Species Initially, collections sent to the Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew included only one collection per species. These species were on the Kew list. Today, the collection focus of the SOS program is on species needed for restoration and rehabilitation projects, also called the restoration list. Species from both lists may be collected as long as they contribute to SOS programmatic goals. Teams may make multiple collections of species on their restoration target list as long as they are capturing unique populations in each collection. Collecting teams are encouraged to work with local federal land managers to develop and execute priority target lists. Projects using SOS seed may include emergency fire rehabilitation and restoration, waterway stabilization, landfill and corporate land recovery, wildlife habitat, threatened and endangered species habitat, and roadside revegetation. Thus we collect primarily common native workhorse species appropriate for restoration and stabilization. In addition, BLM is continually identifying species of priority restoration value needed for native plant materials development. Teams collecting for BLM should work with their BLM colleagues to ensure that collections are being made of these high priority species. Today with a goal of making 20 collections across the range of a species, researchers need to 5 develop seed transfer zones for restoration species. Each team should be working from a regional restoration target list. Regional restoration target lists should be compiled by federal land managers, native plant materials development and conservation researchers, and any other native plant stakeholders. Target species lists should be developed at the ecoregional level by SOS partners and the National Coordination Office. SOS currently uses Omernik Level III Ecoregions for seed collections ecoregional distinction. Seeds of Success manages target species information on a website hosted by the Bureau of Land Management at Ecoregional lists of species using Omernik Level III Ecoregions are accessible on the web to assist collectors in choosing target species. Information on target species that were assigned to collecting groups for the MSB project are also available on the web. These targeting lists track which SOS collecting groups are making restoration collections for the different species. All collectors should coordinate with the SOS National Coordinating Office to develop regional restoration target lists. This is best done via to the National Coordinating Office. You may also contact the National Coordinating Office to request a subset of data, which can aid in compiling a unique target list and building on existing collections. 4. Species Excluded from this Program The species excluded from Seeds of Success include: Any native plant species listed as Threatened or Endangered, under the Endangered Species Act. Any Candidate, or any species Proposed for listing, under the Endangered Species Act. Any species listed as G1 or G2 by a State Heritage Program. Any species listed as S1 or S2 by a State Heritage Program will not be collected in the state listing it as S1 or S2. Any species designated as a BLM State Director Sensitive Species that have been ranked G3 or S3 by a State Heritage Program and is included in the CPC network collection. (See Appendix 8) BLM Field Office Botanists should carefully coordinate with the CPC Garden that collects in their region to make sure that G3 and S3 species are not overlooked in the collection by both groups, or are not inadvertently collected by both groups. Any species included in Appendix I of the Convention in the Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). Any species not native to the U.S. Any agricultural or food crop species. All species in the genus Quercus. All species in the genus Vitis. All known recalcitrant seeds. 6 In the U.S., the Center for Plant Conservation collects and stores the seeds of rare, threatened and endangered plant species; and the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation in Fort Collins, Colorado stores many accessions of crop relatives. Both of these organizations are cooperating with the Seeds of Success program. 5. Storage and Distribution Collections are cleaned, tested, and processed at a number of different facilities. Since 2003, BLM collecting teams have their seed cleaned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service Bend Seed Extractory while most non-federal partners clean their own seed. Long-term and working collection needs are being met by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. The National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation (NCGRP) in Fort Collins, Colorado is managing long-term collections, and the Western Regional Plant Introduction Station (WRPIS) in Pullman, WA is maintaining both long-term and working collections for distribution to researchers working on native plant materials development related topics. WRPIS serves as the processing center for Seeds of Success collections entering the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS). WRPIS has partnered with the Bureau of Land Management, Kew Millennium Seed Bank, and other Plant Conservation Alliance members for collection and conservation of native plant species in the United States. Although MSB Phase 1 has been completed, germplasm collection continues under the SOS program. WRPIS receives a portion, typically 10,000 seed, from each SOS collection cleaned at the USDA Forest Service Bend Seed Extractory. Accessions are sub-divided for -20⁰C back-up storage at the WRPIS in Pullman and the NCGRP in Fort Collins (Table 1). If seed quantity is sufficient, a distribution component is included in the 4⁰C working collection as outlined below. Table 1. Seeds of Success (SOS) germplasm proportioning for long-term back-up and working collection samples. SOS accession seed quantity Ratio to long-term storage at NCGRP - Ratio to long-term storage at WRPIS - Ratio to working collection 4⁰C 20⁰C 20⁰C 6,000 ½ ½ 0 6,000-7,500 2/5 2/5 1/5 7,500 30,000 1/3 1/3 1/3 30,000+ 2/5 2/5 1/5 7 6. Permission to Collect Permission is required for all seed collected for the Seeds of Success program. 6a. Collecting on BLM Lands Collecting seeds on public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management is categorically excluded in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Department of the Interior (DOI) 516 Manual is the official guidance for determining the level of NEPA required. BLM's CX list is incorporated into the DOI NEPA manual at 516 DM 6, Appendix 5, Section 5.4 (effective 5/19/92). In the Forestry program section of the BLM Categorical Exclusion list there are five categorical exclusions. The fifth exclusion applies to seed collection as follows: (5) Disposal of small amounts of miscellaneous vegetation products outside established harvest areas, such as Christmas trees, wildings, floral products (ferns, boughs, etc.), cones, seeds, and personal use firewood. BLM may give permission to other volunteer groups to collect for the Seeds of Success program on BLM managed lands. To comply with DOI privacy standards, individuals acting in a personal capacity may not be listed as a collector on the data form. Team leads should be listed when no other collector names are available. 6b. Collecting on Non-BLM Lands Collection may take place on private lands or lands managed by another federal agency (e.g. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA Forest Service, and Department of Defense) or state, county or municipal agencies, as long as landowner permission is provided. Document landowner permission on the field data form associated with the seed collection. Keep written documentation of permission to collect in your office s files when collections are made on lands other than those managed by BLM. 7. Assessing Populations for Collection It is essential that a knowledgeable botanist leads the collection team and is involved in identifying the most suitable population(s) for sampling. Choosing target populations will be up to the lead botanists and plant ecologists working at the BLM field office or other partner institutions. An ideal collection will be from a large number of individuals (100+) and will contain more than 10,000 viable seeds. Collections larger than 20,000 viable seeds are preferred; collections this large maximize the flexibility of the collection and allow for a portion of the collection be held at a second seed bank. Maximizing the use of the collection means that: Sufficient seed is available for germination and viability testing Samples are available for distribution to users for restoration, education or scientific purposes A substantial amount of seed can be conserved as a long-term safeguard against loss of the wild population 8 7a. Preliminary Site Visits Preliminary site visits are often necessary to assess the populations, confirm the identification with the collection of herbarium voucher specimens (see Section 10), and estimate the likely harvesting date and potential seed production. Where populations are suitable and the quality and quantity of seed is adequate, it may be possible to make collections of a number of different species from the same site. The following points should be considered before harvesting takes place: Ensure that the population is of wild origin, not planted or cultivated. For example, do not collect seeds of native species that were included in a seed mix as part of post fire management in areas that were burned and seeded. Native species that were not seeded in those areas could be collected. Small populations (less than 50 individuals) or those that will yield less than 10,000 viable seeds should not be collected with the expectation of seed being transferred to an in-house native plant materials development project, or returned to the collector. Instead, collections of less than 10,000 viable seeds shall be directly transferred to the SOS National Collection. Seed development can vary within and between populations of the same species. Monitor seed maturation and assess insect damage and empty seeds throughout the population before making the seed collection. It is strongly encouraged that seed collectors return to a population throughout the dispersal period to maximize the genetic diversity of samples. Collections taken from the exact same population may be combined into one accession (seed collection reference number) during a single collecting season. Collectors must ensure that no more than 20% of the viable seeds are collected on any given day, and that all combined material is from the same population and uses the same seed collection reference number or accession number. Please note that the material was collected on multiple dates on the SOS field data form. 8. Sampling Strategy It is important to maximize the number of alleles present within a collected sample by capturing the greatest proportion of alleles represented in the field population. According to Brown and Marshall (1995), at least one copy of 95% of the alleles occurring in the population at frequencies of greater than 0.05 can be achieved by sampling from: randomly chosen individuals in a fully outbreeding sexual species, or randomly chosen individuals in a self fertilizing species. The reproductive biology of most target species has not been studied, and the capture of rarer alleles would require a markedly increased sample siz
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