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Seeding Agreement

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					SUCCESSFUL SEEDING FOR SAGE-GROUSE IN NORTHEASTERN WYOMING
       Prepared by The Northeast Wyoming Sage-grouse Working Group

                                              Introduction
                                              The Northeast Wyoming Sage-grouse Local Working
                                              Group was established in March 2004 with an
                                              organizational mission statement of “working cooperatively
                                              to benefit sage-grouse. The Wyoming Game and Fish
                                              Department established local working groups within the
                                              State in order to develop local conservation plans, design
                                              projects that benefit sage-grouse and other sagebrush
                                              obligate species, and to implement on-the-ground habitat
                                              and population related projects for the species. Originally,
                                              the Northeast Working Group included just the Powder
                                              River Drainage. The Cheyenne River drainage area was
                                              added to the operational region of the Working Group in
                                              September 2004.

The group includes 13 members representing major interests within Northeast Wyoming. Working Group
representation includes the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the Bureau of Land Management, the
U.S. Forest Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, County Conservation Districts,
agriculture, coal mining, oil and gas development, conservation groups, and sportsmen. Working Group
members represent their particular interests and provide liaison with the groups they represent.

Although the very best tool for sage-grouse conservation is habitat conservation, seeding and
revegetation can be powerful tools for enhancing and replacing sage-grouse habitat. To the best of our
knowledge today, and despite many other pressures on the bird, the more habitat the more sage-grouse.

Sage-grouse are sagebrush dependent in the winter and early spring, eating almost nothing but
sagebrush leaves. Thus, healthy, leafy sagebrush are essential for sage-grouse success. However,
sage-grouse will include other shrubs in their diet year-round, so a variety of shrubs, which make up not
only diet but provide protection and cover, should be included in any seed mix.

In the late spring and throughout the summer and fall, sage-grouse depend on a variety of forbs and
grasses, as well as the nutritious leaves of the sagebrush, four-wing, and winterfat, for reproduction and
growth. Shrubs and a mosaic of tall and short plants also provide secluded brood-rearing habitat. Sage-
grouse are particularly fond of dandelion and other succulent-leafed forbs. Insects also make up an
important part of the sage-grouse diet, particularly in summer and early fall. Sage-grouse do not eat
grain or seeds, so it is not necessary to tailor seeding and revegetation activities for these forages


A SEEDMIX THAT MEETS BLM AND USFS GUIDELINES
              AND A CONSIDERATION FOR PRIVATE LANDOWNERS

A good seed mix is composed of a variety of plant life-forms. Shrubs provide forage and cover from the
elements year-round. During the late spring and throughout the summer, sagebrush shelter nesting and
brood rearing habitat. Grasses provide structure and canopy for hiding and protection, while leafy green
grass provides some forage. Forbs (non-grassy, non-woody plants) are especially important to sage-
grouse during the hatching and brood-rearing period, as well as into the fall, when young grouse are
growing rapidly.



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Warm season grasses are considered by many as an essential element of the vegetation communities of
northeast Wyoming. However, from the point of view of the sage-grouse, warm season grasses are not
as necessary as the structure provided by the taller cool season grasses and the forage provided by the
forbs and shrubs.
The following seed mix is acceptable to the BLM and the USFS, and provides excellent forage and cover
for the sage-grouse. The species are readily available, although some are expensive. Expenses can be
controlled by seeding in mosaic patches, expecting the outward spread of vegetation and by substitution.
In certain situations, less expensive seeds substitute for more expensive species. If a good stand of
grass and shrubs already exists, forbs can be overseeded. And in some areas, mechanical disturbance
of the sod combined with overseeding have met with considerable success.
Grasses
     Western Wheatgrass                3# pls
     Green Needlegrass                 2# pls
     Bluebunch Wheatgrass*             2# pls
     Needle and Thread*                1# pls
Shrubs and Sub-shrubs
   Big sagebrush**                        .5# pls
   Fourwing saltbush                      .5# pls
Forbs**
    American Vetch                         1# pls
    Purple Prairie Clover                  1# pls
    Prairie Coneflower                     1# pls
  Total Pure Live Seed                  12 #
_______________
* It may be useful to substitute Blue Grama, Slender Wheatgrass, Little Bluestem, or Prairie Sandreed for these
   expensive species – check with your agency contact or use your own discretion (if you are not in a regulated
   situation)
** Very small-seeded and/or fluffy seeds that may require specialty seeding equipment or practices.


OPTIONS AND ADDITIONS
Seeds can be mixed and matched for specific conditions, situations, and pocketbooks. Several options
and additions can be considered, as can selecting certain species for certain conditions.
Grasses or Grass-like
   Blue Grama                         2# pls
   Slender Wheatgrass                 2# pls
   Canby Bluegrass                    1# pls
   Junegrass                          1# pls
   Side Oats Grama                    1# pls
   Sun Sedge                          1# pls
   Pasture Timothy***                 1# pls
Shrubs and Sub-shrubs
   Winterfat                          1# pls
   Snowberry                          1# pls
   Silver Sagebrush                   1# pls
   Silverleaf Buffalo Berry           1# pls
   Skunkbrush                         1# pls
   Wax currant                        1# pls




                                                                                                                  2
                                                  Forbs (the more the better)
                                                       Alfalfa***                    2# pls
                                                       Aster                         1# pls
                                                       Blue Flax                     1# pls
                                                       Dandelion***                 .5# pls
                                                       Echinacea                     1# pls
                                                       False Dandelion               1# pls
                                                       Hairy Golden Aster            1# pls
                                                       Native Daisy                  1# pls
                                                       Penstemon                     1# pls
                                                       Sunflower***                  1# pls
                                                       Falcata Alfalfa***            1# pls
                                                       Yellow Sweet Clover***        1# pls
                                                  _________________________
                                                  ***Introduced species are not approved for use by
                                                  BLM/USFS, but they may be very handy in your
                                                  situation. Some introduced species may outcompete
                                                  desirable native species.



                                                  SITE SPECIFIC OPTIONS
                                                  Clayey Sites
                                                      Buffalo Grass                2# pls
                                                      Gardner Saltbush             2# pls
                                                      Golden Banner                 1# pls
Sandy Sites
   Prairie Sand Reed              1# pls
   Big Bluestem                   1# pls
   Little Bluestem                1# pls
   Prairie Rose                   1# pls
   Indian Rice Grass              1# pls

Moist Sites
   Alfalfa                         1# pls
   Bluegrass                       2# pls
   Milkweed                       .5# pls
   Snowberry                       1# pls
   Basin Wildrye                   1# pls
   Garrison Creeping Foxtail***    1# pls

GRAZING
No seeding program can be successful if not
combined with grazing management. In fact, grazing
management is an essential component of habitat
protection. However, grazing management does not
mean no grazing or less grazing. Timing and impact
are the keys to proper grazing management.

There is not complete agreement among experts
about the need to defer grazing after seeding. Some experts believe deferring grazing until the young
plants are dormant is sufficient; some call for two complete years of deferment. If you are anxious for


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success and controlled grazing is not your specialty, the best likelihood for success is to avoid grazing
newly seed areas for two full years. Where this is impossible, grazing should be deferred until after the
growing season is over. In no case should livestock be allowed to remain on a newly seeded area
following a rainstorm – the churning and subsequent hardening of the soil surface is very hard on young
plants.



TIPS FOR SUCCESS
 Minimize disturbed areas. Narrow corridors where topsoil
  has not been disturbed may not need seeding with
  sagebrush as it will come in from adjacent areas.
 Save and replace topsoil whenever possible, or as
  required. It is a great seed resource.
 Use certified Pure Live Seed (PLS) with as high a purity
  as possible and recent testing of “live.”
 Seed as soon as possible after disturbance, but avoid
  times that are likely to be followed by extended dry, hot
  weather or when frost kill of young seedlings is likely.
 A smooth and firm seedbed is usually best - minimizing
  rocks, litter, and large clods. On the other hand, a rough,
  pitted seedbed can sometimes help to establish shrubs
  and forbs.
 Establish good seed-to-soil contact.            This is very
  important, especially for the smaller seeds, which will dry up and quickly die after they have sprouted
  if their roots are not in close contact with the soil. A culti-packer or a roller works for good contact.
 Use a specialty drill or specialty practices for small and fluffy forb and shrub seeds. A Truax or a
  Brillion drill is designed for forb and shrub seeds, but a grain drill can work. Separate the box into
  compartments with cardboard inserts and put the small fluffy seeds into their own compartment. Let
                                                                         the seed tubes dangle, add a little
                                                                         oats or millet to help the seed
                                                                         flow, and make sure the packer
                                                                         wheels are working.
                                                                       Restrict grazing where possible
                                                                        for two seasons after planting.
                                                                        Controlled grazing can help
                                                                        establish grasses, but may deter
                                                                        forb and shrub establishment if
                                                                        care is not taken with length of
                                                                        grazing time.
                                                                       Use amendments like fertilizer
                                                                        and mulch with care, as they may
                                                                        enhance grass production at the
                                                                        expense of forbs and shrubs.
                                                                       Spot spray for weeds, as blanket
                                                                        spraying may kill what you are
                                                                        trying to plant – especially forbs
                                                                        and shrubs!!



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NOTES
    Your agency contact (BLM, USFS) may have additional requirements – this brochure is not
     meant to substitute for them. Landowners should visit with the NRCS and local conservation
     district for best practices in rangeland seeding.


    Mowing can stimulate and diversify decadent sagebrush stands. Use this tool when practicable.


    This brochure was designed for northeast Wyoming and may not apply to other areas.




REVEGETATION REFERENCES

Handbook of Western Reclamation
Techniques


Sharing Solutions for Successful
Plantings in the Northern Great Plains




     CONTACT THE NRCS OR YOUR CONSERVATION DISTRICT FOR MORE INFORMATION




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