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MTPMC

Bridger Plant Materials Center (MTPMC)
Serving the States of Montana and Wyoming

Established: 1959
Size: 140 acres
PMC Operation: NRCS
Land Ownership: Conservation Districts in Montana and Wyoming

Bridger Plant Materials Center staff assist park personnel with native plant community restoration project at Devils Tower National Monument, Wyoming

The Bridger Plant Materials Center (MTPMC) provides plant solutions for conservation problems across the diverse ecosystems of Montana and Wyoming. The topography ranges from the mountains in western Montana and Wyoming, to rolling flat plains, desert basins, and plateaus in the remaining areas. Agriculture, resource extraction, and tourism continue to be the basic industries, utilizing the vast majority of the land in Montana and Wyoming.

The Center focuses on the need to reduce soil erosion from cropland, improve soil health, enhance pollinator habitat, improve woody plant establishment, extend the grazing period, improve species diversity in rangeland and reclamation plantings, reduce erosion and noxious weed invasion after forest fires and invasive species removal, assist underserved groups with Outreach activities, develop propagation and production techniques for native species, increase forage production, revegetate acid and heavy-metal contaminated soils, and increase the productivity of salt-affected sites.

New plant solutions have been developed for establishing forbs in conservation plantings, extending livestock grazing periods, low-water landscaping, restoring woody plants to native range and riparian areas, propagating native species and culturally significant plants, and reclaiming disturbed areas from mining, wildfire, and road construction.

The Bridger Plant Materials Center has selected and released 31 conservation grasses, forbs, shrubs, and trees extensively used throughout the northern plains.

Highlights

REVEGETATION OF DISTURBED LAND

Re-establish diverse native plant communities to promote ecosystem function
  • Selected and released six forbs, seven shrubs, three trees, and 15 grasses for maximizing soil potential, enhancing wildlife habitat, and resisting weed invasion.
  • Twenty-five years of interagency cooperation with the National Park Service on the propagation and production of locally indigenous plant materials to revegetate roadside disturbances.
  • Improving Sage Grouse Habitat Through Revegetation and Rangeland Management which promotes sage grouse conservation in areas dominated by sagebrush.
  • Collaborative research partnership with ARS Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory to develop revegetation techniques after removal of Russian olive removal from along Montana and Wyoming riparian areas.

INCREASED ENERGY DEMANDS

Reduce energy inputs with conservation plants
  • Critana thickspike wheatgrass and Rosana western wheatgrass have been seeded to tens of thousands of acres and act as carbon sinks in coal mine reclamation.
  • Tall wheatgrass evaluated for potential use as a biofuel feedstock and previous releases such as basin wildrye may hold future promise.
  • Creating Native Landscapes in the Northern Great Plains and Rocky Mountains provides landowners an option to reduce and conserve water, reduce air pollution, and decreased use of fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Selection of two nitrogen-fixing legumes that reduce the amount of synthetic fertilizer needed for good crop production.

PRODUCTION AGRICULTURE

Reduce soil erosion in cropland and improve productivity
  • Dryland Pastures in Montana and Wyoming is a guide for farmers and ranchers to assist in species selection, seeding techniques, and grazing management.
  • New cover crop research initiative investigating individual species and mixes for improving soil health.
  • Developed 11 native species adapted to saline conditions for rehabilitating salt-affected areas.
  • Alternate-row plantings demonstrating the benefits of improved productivity with less input expense.
  • Montana Native Plants for Pollinator-Friendly Plantings highlights the importance of establishing nectar and pollen sources, shelter and breeding environments for pollinators and other beneficial insects.
  • Seasonal Forage Quality of Five Tame Pasture Grasses on Dryland Pastures in Montana demonstrating the optimum nutritional value of common agronomic grasses over the growing season.

Bridger Plant Materials Center
98 South River Rd
Bridger, MT 59014-9718
Telephone: 406-662-3579
Fax: 406-662-3428