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Are you planning for future seed needs?

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Seed Bank has developed a new survey of Native Plant and Seed Use in the Eastern United States to help them understand how best to support real-world needs of professionals in conservation and horticulture.

Commercial shortages of genetically-appropriate native plants and seeds are common in the Eastern United States, and that presents a recurring obstacle to conservation projects ranging from pollinator habitat creation to ecological restoration.

Hurricane Sandy demonstrated the increasing urgency of the problem. Intense storms demand intense recovery efforts, which put a strain on the seed supply.

"Some seeds need to be used right away," explained Bill Brumback, Director of Conservation for the New England Wild Flower Society, pointing out that saltmarsh grasses like spartina patens and spartina alterniflora won’t remain viable if they dry out.

In addition tor restoring coastal habitats, part of the recovery funding for Sandy went toward projects to improve aquatic connectivity. Those also call for seeds. "When you do a dam removal, you need to think about what species to replant in those areas after the project is over," Brumback noted. 

Because it's so difficult to anticipate emergency seed needs that will result from future storms, it's all the more important to plan for seed needs that we can expect now, for landscaping, roadside vegetation, water quality, and other conservation and horticultural projects. 

That's why the the Mid-Atlantic Regional Seed Bank (MARS-B) developed a new survey to assess native plant and seed use in the Eastern United States. An offshoot of MARS-B's collaboration with the eastern partners in the Seeds of Success program -- New England Wild Flower Society and the North Carolina Botanical Garden -- the survey is designed to gather information that will support the development of a native plant materials program based on the real-world needs of land managers, restoration ecologists, and other professionals in the fields of conservation and horticultural. 

The survey is open to all professionals who use native plants in the landscape, including individuals who are responsible for making purchasing decisions or procuring native plants and seeds. The survey includes all states located east of the Mississippi River.

Follow this link to take the survey.

To learn more about this effort, visit the Mid-Atlantic Regional Seed Bank website.

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