Effective Date: 7/1/2023

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All projects completed with BWSR grant dollars that involve vegetation restoration or establishment are subject to BWSR’s Native Vegetation Establishment and Enhancement Guidelines, if required by program policy. While much of this publication is guidance, a few key components are required. Additionally, some programs may have program-specific requirements that may supersede what is contained in the Guidelines.

If the Guidelines are required to be followed key components of include the use of native vegetation, providing pollinator habitat, and incorporating high diversity levels when appropriate for project goals and site conditions. Environmentally suitable native, annual, biennial and perennial plant species (following the source selection criteria included in the Guidelines) are required for projects to meet legislative requirements and provide multiple landscape benefits.

The Guidelines provide guidance on the topics of seed and plant sources, native variety/cultivar use, insecticides and chemical carryover, seed mixes, yellow tag seed, project bidding and specifications, climate change considerations, and project site preparation, planting and maintenance.

The Guidelines were adopted effective June 27, 2012 as policy under BWSR Board Resolution #12-56, with an effective date of July 1, 2012 (FY 2013), and are incorporated into this manual by reference. They replace BWSR’s Invasive Non-Native Species Policy (Sept. 8, 2004). The Guidelines were updated for FY17, 2019 and FY23.

Native Vegetation Requirement

Native vegetation for BWSR funded projects is intended to provide multiple landscape benefits, to prevent the introduction and use of invasive species and to meet legislative statues and appropriation language. All BWSR-funded projects that include vegetative establishment and management must follow the seed and plant source sequence outlined in the Guidelines, if required by program policy. Establishment and management of native vegetation may follow other practice standards (such as NRCS standards) if appropriate.

Exceptions for Non-native Vegetation

Non-native species may be approved in select cases where the species helps to achieve program policies and goals and does not pose a risk to natural plant communities. The Guidelines include specific exceptions for projects funded under the Clean Water Fund, Erosion Control and Water Management Program (State Cost Share), and pollinator and habitat programs.  See Section 1 of the Guidelines for details, and contact your Board Conservationist or Clean Water Specialist with questions.

Pollinator Habitat Requirement

State legislation from 2013 states that “prairie restorations conducted on state lands or with state funds must include an appropriate diversity of native species selected to provide habitat for pollinators throughout the growing season”. As a result, prairie plantings need to focus on providing spring, summer, and fall blooming plants. It is also important that any native seed and plants supplied for projects must not be treated (seed coatings or foliar application) with insecticides that can harm pollinators.