The Willamette Valley Native Plant Partnership (WVNPP) was formed in 2012 with a long-term mission of providing native plant materials to partners to protect and restore the native ecosystems of the Willamette Valley Ecoregion. Our vision is to increase the availability and affordability of genetically diverse and ecologically appropriate native plant materials for use in the Willamette Valley, help stabilize and support the local native seed marketplace and provide a foundation for successful restoration and healthy, thriving native ecosystems.
The WVNPP established with the goals of pooling resources and coordinating production efforts to improve native plant material availability and lower costs for the Willamette Valley Ecoregion. A regional approach to the coordination of native plant materials development, production, and restoration contributes to a more cohesive valley-wide effort to conserve and restore increasingly rare habitats such as wetlands, oak savanna, and upland prairies.
The WVNPP is a group of public, private, and non-profit organizations that use native plant materials for restoration and revegetation in the Willamette Valley. Membership is open to any organization with a stake in restoration, revegetation, or mitigation with native plant species in the valley, including plant materials users, producers, and any other interested organization or individual. The main objective of the Partnership is to pool our resources and coordinate production efforts to improve plant material availability and costs for the entire ecoregion. We collect native seed from remnant prairies, provide it to producers for contract production fields, then distribute the harvested seed to partners for use on projects. No wild-collected seed goes directly onto a restoration site.
Willamette Valley Ecoregion
The Willamette Valley Ecoregion is a Level III ecoregion designated by the Environmental Protection Agency, and includes the Willamette Valley of western Oregon and adjacent foothills, along with a small portion across the Columbia River in the Vancouver area of southern Washington (EPA 2006, ODFW 2006). It is one of the smallest ecoregions in the United States with an area of approximately 5,800 square miles; the Oregon portion encompasses 5,308 square miles of land between the Coast Range and the Cascade Mountains (ODFW 2006). Twenty to 40 miles wide and 120 miles long, elevations range from 780 feet at the southern end south of Eugene to near sea-level at Portland (ODFW 2006).
The Willamette Valley has a variety of habitats that comprise a unique community of native plant species and ecosystem functions, and a high percentage of these habitats have been converted to agricultural, industrial, and residential uses (ODFW 2006). Due to these intensive land uses, Willamette Valley prairie and oak habitats are among the most endangered ecosystems in North America. Over ninety percent of upland prairie and oak savanna/woodlands and over 99% of historic wet prairies in the valley have been converted to other uses (USFWS 2010). Consequently, there has been a drastic decline of native plant and wildlife species dependent on these habitats. The Willamette Valley has more rare and listed species than any other ecosystem in Oregon (ODFW 2016). Listed species in the Willamette Valley include streaked horned lark (Eremophila alpestris strigata, threatened), Fender’s blue butterfly (Icaricia icarioides fenderi, endangered), Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha taylori, endangered), golden paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta, threatened), Kincaid’s lupine (Lupinus oreganus, threatened), Nelson’s checkermallow (Sidalcea nelsoniana, threatened), Willamette daisy (Erigeron decumbens, threatened), white-topped aster (Sericocarpus rigidus , threatened), peacock larkspur (Delphinium pavonaceum, threatened), and white-rock larkspur (Delphinium leucophaeum, threatened).
The Willamette Valley Native Plant Partnership (WVNPP) was founded in 2012 by 24 restoration organizations and native plant producers to cooperatively coordinate and fund the production of high quality native plant materials for us in restoration, revegetation, and mitigation projects in the Willamette Valley Ecoregion. There are currently 32 restoration and production members of the WVNPP. The WVNPP is house at and coordinated by the Institute for Applied Ecology (IAE), and funded by restoration partner contributions and grants. Below is a summary of the progress the WVNPP has made towards reaching its goals outlined in the 2013-2017 strategic plan:
- Developed a Memorandum of Understanding
- Secured over $700,000 of funding
- Collected seed over 5 years with 75 pounds of wild seed collected from 27 species
- Hire, trained and supervised seed collection crews from 2013-2016 and 2018-2019
- Recruited, trained, and supervised seed collection volunteers and interns
- Received contributions of 4.9 pounds of wild-collected seed from two partners – the City of Eugene and Oregon Metro
- Developed a process for distributing WVNPP seed to members
- Entered 21 native species into production to improve quality and genetic appropriateness of native plant materials
- Developed a supported a Species Selection Committee to provide recommendations to the WVNPP on species selection, annual collection plans, and how to resolve taxonomic, genetic, and geographical issues that arise
- Developed guidelines for the genetic refreshment of WVNPP seed production fields, where appropriate
- Distributed 1,920 pounds of seed from 15 native species