Reintroduction of golden paintbrush to Oregon: 2012 annual report
This project supports the recovery of C. levisecta through full-scale reintroduction to prairie sites in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. This is a three-year project that begins with trial plantings at several
This project supports the recovery of C. levisecta through full-scale reintroduction to prairie sites in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. This is a three-year project that begins with trial plantings at several locations to identify suitable locations for the species’ growth, followed by monitoring and additional plantings. This interim report summarizes information from the first full year of work. A Reintroduction Plan for this species identifies population establishment in the Willamette Valley as a conservation need and provides guidance for the reintroduction process (Caplow 2004).
Our adaptive management approach using small plantings at many sites as bioassays to rank sites for future plantings has provided for an efficient method of improving planting success as the project moves forward. After one year of minitoring our experiemental plots we have found several interesting results. First, both planting plugs and seeding appear to be viable methods of establishing C. levisecta populations in the Willamette Valley. Either method may be used in future restoration efforts, and should be chosen based on labor and seed availability. Second, plug plantings and seedings in uplands were much more successful than in wetlands. Wetlands appear to be inappropriate habitat for C. levisecta in Oregon, despite indications from historic collections that wetlands might have been a common habitat for the species. The third and most significant finding of this project to date is that perennial plant diversity improved C. levisecta survival at the microsite scale, while annual plant diversity reduced plant success.
We suggest that new planting sites emphasize locations and microsites with high perennial plant diversity to improve survival of C. levisecta. Seeding with diverse natives may be improve microsite scale diversity and increase the success of C. levisecta reintroductions in Oregon prairies.