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Long Range Plans

State Plant Materials Long Range Plan - 2008-2013

National Plant Materials Manual, Part 540, Operation and Management, Subpart A, Plant Materials Operations, Section 540.1 Plant Materials Long Range Planning

I. Introduction

The mission of the Plant Materials Program (PMP) is to develop and transfer plant materials and plant technology to meet customer needs for the conservation of natural resources. The purpose of the PMP is to carry out specialized activities in resource conservation as part of the overall program of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to:

  • Assemble, select, improve, test, and release plant materials for conservation use;
  • Determine techniques for the successful use and management of conservation species
  • Facilitate the commercial increase and production of conservation species; and
  • Provide for development and transfer of applied science technology.

The state plant materials Long-Range Plan (LRP) identifies and prioritizes customer, resource and program needs. The LRP presents proposed action items to address identified needs. The state LRP is consistent with goals and objectives identified in the National PMP Strategic Plan (2006-2010).

The goals and objectives for the PMP are referenced in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Strategic Plans. The goals and objectives for the NRCS PMP are:

Strategic Goal 1
Identify and evaluate plants, develop technology for their successful establishment and maintenance to solve natural resource conservation problems; including protecting soils, improving air and water quality, and enhancing wildlife resources.

    Objective 1.1 Conserve and enhance soil resources using plant science technology.
    Objective 1.2
    Improve water quality and quantity using plant science technology.
    Objective 1.3 Improve air quality using plant science technology.
    Objective 1.4 Enhance fish and wildlife resources using plant science technology.

Strategic Goal 2
Provide plant materials and technology that is economically feasible for solving conservation problems.

    Objective 2.1 - Provide for and promote commercial production of NRCS plant releases to ensure that adequate seed and plants are available for use in cooperative conservation programs.
    Objective 2.2 - Maintain and improve the productivity of agricultural lands and watersheds through plants and plant management technology.
    Objective 2.3 - Increase the alternative uses and specialized uses of conservation plant releases to meet emerging needs.

Strategic Goal 3
 Provide equal access for all Americans to the PMP

    Objective 3.1 - Deliver products and services fairly and equitably.
    Objective 3.2 - Promote the products of the PMP through effective marketing and program delivery.
    Objective 3.3 - Increase the use of plant materials to address issues of human health, safety, culture, and aesthetics.
    Objective 3.4 - Prioritize the training of career interns to prepare them for assuming key positions in the PMP.

II. LRP Development

This LRP was developed in accordance with the National Plant Materials Manual, Part 540.12. This LRP serves as a guide for directing plant materials activities within the state. This plan will be used along with the respective plans of the other states within the service area to develop the Plant Materials Center LRP. This plan may also serve as a reference to develop specific action items which will be incorporated into the state’s annual Business Plan.

The State Plant Materials Committee is responsible for identifying customers, resources, and program needs. The state plant materials committee is comprised of NRCS employees and partners who have an interest in plant materials work. A complete listing of the State Plant Materials committee members can be found in Appendix A.

III. Resource Information

Texas is composed of thirty-four Major Land Resource Areas (MLRAs). A map and general description of these areas can be found in Appendix B. Detailed information relative to land use, climate and MLRA information can be found in the USDA Agricultural Handbook 296 MLRA Land Resource Regions, Agricultural Handbook 296.

Climate: USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 6a to 9b occur within the state of Texas (Appendix C.) Annual average precipitation rates vary from 8 inches in El Paso to over 60 inches in Beaumont (Appendix D.)

IV. Plant Materials Objectives, Problems, Needs, and Opportunities

The priority plant materials needs of state fall into several defined categories.

Objective 1.1 Conserve and enhance soil resources using plant science technology
Problem: Excessive soil erosion and degradation of water quality from non-point source water contaminants from mine land, saline sites, and other critically eroding sites.
Resource Concern: Reduce agricultural and rangeland soil erosion and water degradation.

Opportunities:

  • Develop or identify plants with quick establishment characteristics.
  • Co-operate with partners to develop and evaluate demonstration sites that address soil erosion issues.
  • Evaluation of plant materials that are adapted to disturbed sites with shallow soils and droughty conditions (saline, sodic, mineralized).
  • Evaluation of native plant materials that are adapted to wet or flooded sites and can dispense wave action to conserve and protect constructed dams.

Objective 1.2 Improve water quality and quantity using plant science technology.
Problem: Degradation of water quality by non-point source contamination from soil erosion, nutrients, pesticides and untreated/unconfined waste material.
Need: Develop plant materials and procedures that provide good establishment and uptake of nutrients and pesticides or assist in breakdown in filter strips, constructed wetlands and waste disposal areas.

Opportunities:

  • Evaluate plant materials that will function as a nutrient/pollutant filter.
  • Evaluate plant nutrient up-take and bonding.
  • Develop plant architecture data for use in nutrient uptake situations
    (stem size, stem density numbers, plant height, odor abatement etc.)
  • Evaluate native plant materials that will provide shoreline stabilization

Objective 1.3 Improve air quality with plant science technology.
Problem: Degradation of air quality through contaminants and air pollutants.
Need: Evaluate and develop plant materials and procedures that mitigate air pollution and contamination caused by erosion, livestock confinement, construction, and other environmental disturbances.

Opportunities:

  • Develop technical notes or supportive documents for management of all buffer practices.
  • Evaluate conifers as alternative to eastern red cedar in windbreak plantings.
  • Evaluate and develop technical notes or supportive documents for windbreak plant species for odor management around poultry production facilities.
  • Evaluate carbon sequestration benefits of herbaceous and woody plantings.

Objective 1.4 Enhance fish and wildlife resources using plant science technology.
Problem: There is a lack of diversity in native grasses, legumes and woody species that provide wildlife benefits.
Need: Evaluate and develop plant materials and establishment techniques for superior adaptation of a diverse list of native grasses, legumes and woody species that provide wildlife benefits.

Opportunities:

  • Evaluate native cool season grass species for adaptability and use as a food source for migratory birds and waterfowl.
  • Evaluate native herbaceous wetland plant species for adaptability and use as food for migratory birds and habitat for aquatic invertebrates.
  • Evaluate native legume species for adaptability and use as a food source for upland birds and wildlife.
  • Evaluate native grass species for adaptability and use as nesting habitat for upland birds.
  • Evaluate native woody plants for declining habitats, riparian and wetland areas.

Objective 2.2 Maintain and improve the productivity of agricultural lands and watersheds through plants and plant management technology.
Problem: There is a lack of diversity in native legumes and native cool season grasses that provide quality forage, wildlife benefits, and erosion control.
Need: Evaluate and develop plant materials and establishment techniques for superior adaptation of a diverse list of warm and cool season species for use in the state.

Opportunities:
  • Evaluate native cool-season grass species for adaptability into grazing systems.
  • Evaluate native legume species for adaptability and use in native grazing systems.
  • Evaluate superior establishment characteristics of native legume species.
  • Evaluate procedures to limit or reduce the potential of invasive plant species.
  • Continue work with threatened and endangered native species within the state.

Objective 2.3 Increase the alternative uses and specialized uses of conservation plant releases to meet emerging needs.
Problem: There is a lack of information available to further efforts in alternative uses of conservation plants and plant residue.
Need: Evaluate and develop plant materials and technology to support the alternative use of conservation plants and plant residue.

Opportunities:

  • Evaluate conservation plant releases and develop planting technology for potential use as cellulosic biofuel.
  • Develop planting technology to support biofuels crop rotation and maintained or improved wildlife habitat
  • Develop technology to support maintaining existing cover in expiring conservation program contracts.
  • Evaluate native legume species for adaptability and use as cover crops in reducing water erosion and as a source of nitrogen fertilizer.
  • Evaluate conservation plant releases and develop technology to support the integration of existing conservation plant releases into the ornamental horticulture industry to improve both the agriculture and urban landscape.

Objective 3.2 Promote the products of the PMP through effective marketing and program delivery.
Problem: There is a general lack of exposure of the PMP to NRCS employees and partners.
Need: Develop programs and promotional materials that highlight the PMP within NRCS and among our partners.

Opportunities:
  • Develop awareness and technical training for NRCS employees and partners outside the agency.
  • Evaluate and promote conservation plant releases which are suited to limited resource and small farm operations.
  • Provide quarterly newsletter to every NRCS employee and our partners within the service area.
  • Provide annual progress report of activities to any employee or partner that wants a copy.

V. Products

  1. Plant Materials Releases
    a) cultivar
    b) tested
    c) selected
    d) source identified
    e) germplasm

  2. Technology Transfer a) Progress Report of Activities
    b) Annual Technical Report
    c) Brochures
    d) Program aides
    e) Power point presentations
    f) Tours
    g) Training programs
    h) Video/DVD programs

VI. PMC Procedures and Operations

The National Plant Materials Manual outlines NRCS authority, policy and procedures for conducting plant materials activities. Each PMC’s activities are directed by its annual business plan and study plans. The PMC Manager is responsible for fiscal management and day to day operations at the Center.

Appendix A.

Texas Plant Materials Committee
State Resource Conservationist
State Conservation Agronomist
State Wildlife Biologist
State Rangeland Management Specialist
State Wetland Specialist
State Forester
State Coastal Ecologist
State Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative Coordinator
Zone Agronomist
Zone Wildlife Biologist
Zone Rangeland Management Specialist


Appendix B.

APPENDIX C.
USDA Plant Hardiness Map


APPENDIX D.

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Texas Plant Materials Long Range Plan 2008-2013 (DOC; 1 Mb)