BLM adds native-seed warehouse at Ely
Nature unloaded a double whammy on the Bureau of Land Management staffers who buy native-plant seeds for restoration of vegetation in areas damaged by fire.
They’re hoping, however, that a $4.8 million warehouse under construction in Ely will simplify matters.
Mark Coca, a vegetation management specialist with the BLM in Reno, says drought and fire throughout the West in the past couple of years pushed prices for native-plant seeds to their highest levels in recent memory.
Drought-stressed plants produce far fewer seeds, he says. At the same time, widespread fires resulted in dramatically higher amounts of plant material to restore damaged areas.
“There was a huge demand suddenly for a lot of seed,” Coca says.
To smooth some of the spikes in demand — and price — the BLM is building a 16,717-square-foot facility in the White Pine County Industrial Park.
The warehouse will be capable of storing up to 900,000 pounds of seed — including 100,000 pounds in cold storage. Sagebrush seed in particular requires cold storage after its harvest in late autumn.
The BLM will focus on storage of seeds for the Great Basin and Mojave ecosystems at the Ely warehouse. A warehouse at Boise handles seeds for other Western ecosystems.
The Ely facility, which employ two fulltime workers and seasonal staff, also will include seed-mixing equipment. It’s expected to be completed this spring.
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