Seeds of Success: Fort Belknap Indian Community/BLM/SER native seed and grassland restoration program
Description: The Fort Belknap Indian Community (FBIC) Native Seed & Grassland Restoration Program was designed to meet DOI, BLM, and Plant Conservation and Restoration Program Strategic Goals, via partnerships with FBIC and the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER). Launched in 2019, and led by an Indigenous PI, this Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK)-based program focuses on developing genetically appropriate native plant material for habitat restoration; inventorying and prioritizing plant populations; and implementing and assessing restoration efforts through monitoring. Working on BLM lands, in consultation with Aaniiih and Nakoda elders and employing and empowering tribal youth, we are using Assessment, Inventorying, and Monitoring (AIM) protocols to identify plant populations, and then making collections from them for the Seeds of Success (SOS) program. Our long-term goal is to empower FBIC in creating a community-led greenhouse program to grow out native seeds, focusing on culturally significant species, thereby benefitting the community financially in increasing BLM Stock and Foundation seed amounts to use on larger programs and for restoration of FBIC and other Native American lands. FBIC has invited us to expand seed collection onto FBIC land, to help the community advance restoration efforts of degraded rangelands to support Greater sage-grouse and bison conservation.
Presenters: Cristina Eisenberg is an Indigenous (Raramuri, Western Apache) restoration ecologist who holds a PhD in Forestry and Wildlife from Oregon State University, where she is graduate faculty. The former Chief Scientist at Earthwatch Institute, she has spent the last decade and a half working with Indigenous people in the US, Canada and in Asia, Africa, and South America to empower them to restore their traditional lands using Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). She is on the Board of Directors of SER where she leads the SER TEK sub-committee of the Science and Policy Committee.