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News Release

NRCS Plant Materials Center Supports Reseeding After Wildfires

Loren St. John, Team Leader, Aberdeen PMC

Additional Contact:
Alexis Collins, Public Affairs Specialist, 208.685.6978

Harvesting a seed field of Recovery western wheatgrass at the Aberdeen PMC

Boise, Idaho, September 6, 2013– For restoring land burned by wildfire, reseeding is often a necessary solution. The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service supports post-fire reseeding by providing Foundation seed through the Plant Materials Center in Aberdeen, Idaho.

At the Aberdeen Plant Materials Center, plants with a potential to help protect and heal damaged landscapes are grown, tested, and evaluated. The center evaluates and selects plants with desired traits, and develops the seed source to release as Foundation seed.

“Foundation seed comes from plants that are evaluated to ensure they can become established and perform under specific conditions,” said Loren St. John, Team Leader at the Aberdeen Plant Materials Center.  “We then grow and process Foundation seed which is made available to certified seed growers that produce the large amounts of commercial seed for sale to landowners and managers.”

“Soil in burned areas may contain native plant seeds, but where a fire burned hot the seeds in the soil also burned. For those areas, seeding is very likely to be needed,” St. John said. The Aberdeen PMC has released plants that help stabilize burned soil such as ‘Bannock’ thickspike wheatgrass, ‘Appar’ prairie flax, ‘Goldar’ and Anatone selection bluebunch wheatgrass, and ‘Nezpar’ Indian ricegrass.

Vegetation is important to prevent erosion after soil disturbances. Plants shield soil from the impact of raindrops and roots hold soil in place. Helping plants return quickly to burned landscapes reduces the potential for erosion, provides forage for livestock, and cover and food for wildlife. 

The Aberdeen Plant Materials Center serves the diverse landscapes of the Intermountain West including southern Idaho, northern Nevada, eastern Oregon, western Utah, and western Wyoming. In addition to providing Foundation seed to help restore burned lands and a booklet to help small landowners restore land affected by fire, the center develops fact sheets, plant guides, and other technical materials related to plants used for natural resource conservation in the Intermountain region.

For more information on the Aberdeen Plant Materials Center visit us on the web at


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