Wildflower Restoration at the La Barranca Unit
By Michael Rogner, Associate Restoration Biologist
Threats to honeybees have received tremendous media attention recently due to colony collapse disorder. But the decline in pollinators goes far beyond this common species. An article published last month in the journal Trends in Plant Science documents how plant communities are being stressed by a global decline in the overall abundance of all pollinators.
River Partners has been adding many native wildflower species to our restoration projects in recent years in order to benefit pollinators. This spring, partnering with the US Fish and Wildlife Service at their La Barranca Unit in Tehama County, we began an experiment with six more flowering plants (Fitch’s spikeweed, hayfield tarweed, naked buckwheat, Oregon goldenaster, vinegar weed, and Wright’s buckwheat). These new plants are best suited to dry, gravelly areas where trees and shrubs will not grow. The plants were chosen based on their ability to be collected locally for seed, and because the individual plant species flower at different times within growing season, providing nectar sources over the span of many months. River Partners collected 23 pounds of seed which were broadcast over a five acre area.
With the addition of three new biology interns, River Partners began monitoring these plots in May. We will continue to monitor them throughout the year, and if all goes well we will be able to add multiple new species to our planting palate, as well as train interns on how to evaluate which species are suitable for the type of large scale restoration projects which we implement.
The above article originally appeared in the June 2013 issue of the River Partners Journal.