Palouse Prairie Community Assessment to Inform Large-Scale Restoration at Eastern Washington University

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Rebecca Brown


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Oral Presentation

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Once host to numerous bunchgrasses and wildflowers, the Palouse Prairie of eastern Washington is now one of the most endangered ecosystems in the United States. Since early settlement of the area, over 99% of the original prairie communities have been converted to agriculture. In an effort to restore and maintain the biodiversity of the area, Eastern Washington University is planning a 100+ acre restoration adjacent to campus. Traditionally not considered to be a part of the Palouse Prairie, very little research has occurred within Spokane County so little is known of these communities along the northern border of the “core” Palouse. In this project, aerial imagery was used to identify possible remnant areas across Spokane County. These areas, as well as other well-known Palouse remnants, were surveyed using one meter square plots for vegetation cover and community assembly. Ten plots were assigned randomly across each remnant location and percent cover was assigned for every plant species occurring within the plot frame. We identified important native species and common invasive species of the area. This information will be used to select local abundant native seed for the restoration and identify common invasive species to prepare weed management strategies.

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