The High Plains Environmental Center Story

We have been growing native plant from seed since 2009. In many cases the seed is locally collected thereby preserving unique local geno-types. This year will be the fourth consecutive year for a large-scale project collaboration between HPEC and VOC. It can be difficult to obtain sufficient numbers of native plants for large restoration projects. For that reason we are referring to the native plant nursery that we a constructing as a “habitat factory” which will produce tens of thousands of plants a year.

VOC joined us once again in 2011 with 65 volunteer ages, 3 through 70, planting 2500 of the plants that we grew, in order to restore a wetland area. For the first few weeks the weather was dry and we had to water the new transplants by hand but when the adjacent farmers tail water, returning to the lake from irrigated fields, hit the wetland plants they exploded and put on amazing growth.

As weeds are eradicated and areas get cleaned up we seed them with native grasses. Each year we add new restored areas. But the process of re-establishing native grasses from seed on dry land is slow work requiring a lot of patience as it can take several years to establish.

The wetland mitigation area was created in 2007 in order to replace a wetland that was disturbed during development in another part of Centerra. Over several years this area has established very well and has become one of the highest value habitat areas at HPEC

 

Again, this area was anything but “pristine” and was once totally inundated with weeds such as Canada thistle