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Native Vegetation Establishment Q and A

How should local seed source be considered as part of a bidding process?

When submitting bids for seed and plants, it is recommended to send a copy of the Native Vegetation Establishment and Enhancement Guidelines to vendors, as well as specific seed mixes/list of plants needed.  It is recommended to send bids to as many qualified vendors as possible.  When considering bids, local staff should consider both the ability of vendors to meet guidelines and seed and plant costs.

What is the decision making role of local staff?

After becoming familiar with the state guidelines, local staff have the authority to make decisions about appropriate vegetation for projects.  Local resource staff with expertise about native seed and plants can also help with the decision making process, and specific questions can be directed to the BWSR Vegetation Specialist at

Is the closest seed and plant source always the best?

It is important that the source of seed and plants is known/verified when selecting local sources.  “Yellow tag” seed is promoted as a means of source verification.  All other factors being equal, the most local source is preferred to protect local adaptation of species.  However, it is important that site hydrology, soils and other site condition be matched with the seed source to the extent possible.

How are DNR ecological regions used for source sequencing?

The Minnesota Ecological Sections and Subsections Map show general ecological changes within the state.  When obtaining seed and plants, the ecological sections and subsections map can help in the decision making process about appropriate sources.  Local resource staff should use their judgment about when it is appropriate to cross ecological section and subsection boundaries.

What lands can local seed come from?

It is encouraged that partnerships be developed with private landowners, as well as local, state, and federal agencies to obtain high quality local seed.

Are local sources more important for some plant species than others?

There are around 2,400 native plant species in the state and methods of pollen and seed dispersal can vary widely.  Common methods of seed dispersal include wind, water, animals, birds and insects.  Local resource staff should be involved to assess which species have the greatest genetic sensitivities and provide recommendations for their use.  Information will be provided as more research is available on the genetic sensitivities of individual native plant species.

What are some methods of obtaining local seed?

The use of local seed has been practiced for many years by organizations/agencies such as the Nature Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Minnesota DNR; in most cases their projects have involved the use of “wild harvest” (seed collected from remnant plant communities).  In some cases seed vendors can conduct “wild harvest” for specific projects.  In other cases, work crews from the Minnesota Conservation Corp, school groups or volunteers have been involved in the collection of seed for projects.  Innovative methods of obtaining local seed are being added to BWSR’s “What’s Working” website.

Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources

520 Lafayette Road North, St. Paul, MN 55155 | (651) 296-3767 | Fax (651) 297-5615 | TTY (800) 627-3529

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