Track 1-04

Description

Basin wildrye (Leymus cinereus [Scribn. & Merr.] Á. Löve) is an important perennial, hardy, long-lived, cool season C3 native grass of rangeland plant communities throughout much of western United States and Canada. All classes of livestock and wildlife, including large and small birds and mammals, utilise the grass year round for food and protection due to its 2-3 m tall, stiff stature which provides standing winter cover. Though occurring in precipitation areas of 150-500 mm and elevations of 600 to 3,000 m, it is usually found in deep, well-drained soils of high water holding capacity along drainage areas. Seedling vigour is only fair, and stands may take 2 to 5 years to fully establish. While tolerant of low to moderate levels (< 10 mmhos/cm3) of saline and sodic soils and short-term winter or spring flooding, it does not tolerate extended periods of inundation (Ogle et al. 2012). It also does not tolerate heavy grazing or haying in the spring and summer due to its high growing point and minimal regrowth capability, and misuse has caused diminished population density through much of its original range (Anonymous, Utah Farmer-Stockman 1983).

In response to losses of basin wildrye, due to wildfires and invasive species as well as historical overgrazing, it is desired to bolster the populations of basin wildrye in the Great Basin and other parts of the U.S. Intermountain area. However, the only seed supplies with reasonable commercial availability have been sourced from sites distant to this geographic area and establishment and survival has been inconsistent. These include the varieties Magnar, an octoploid (2n=56) originally collected in south-eastern British Columbia (released 1979) and Trailhead, a tetraploid (2n=28) originally collected in south-central Montana (re-leased 1991). Washoe germplasm (2002; tetraploid) was released for use on harsh mining sites in Montana, and the variety Continental (2009) an octoploid developed from the hybridisation of Magnar and Trailhead (Ogle et al. 2012).

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Basin Wildrye (Leymus cinereus) Pooled Tetraploid Accessions for U.S. Intermountain West Rangeland Reclamation

Basin wildrye (Leymus cinereus [Scribn. & Merr.] Á. Löve) is an important perennial, hardy, long-lived, cool season C3 native grass of rangeland plant communities throughout much of western United States and Canada. All classes of livestock and wildlife, including large and small birds and mammals, utilise the grass year round for food and protection due to its 2-3 m tall, stiff stature which provides standing winter cover. Though occurring in precipitation areas of 150-500 mm and elevations of 600 to 3,000 m, it is usually found in deep, well-drained soils of high water holding capacity along drainage areas. Seedling vigour is only fair, and stands may take 2 to 5 years to fully establish. While tolerant of low to moderate levels (< 10 mmhos/cm3) of saline and sodic soils and short-term winter or spring flooding, it does not tolerate extended periods of inundation (Ogle et al. 2012). It also does not tolerate heavy grazing or haying in the spring and summer due to its high growing point and minimal regrowth capability, and misuse has caused diminished population density through much of its original range (Anonymous, Utah Farmer-Stockman 1983).

In response to losses of basin wildrye, due to wildfires and invasive species as well as historical overgrazing, it is desired to bolster the populations of basin wildrye in the Great Basin and other parts of the U.S. Intermountain area. However, the only seed supplies with reasonable commercial availability have been sourced from sites distant to this geographic area and establishment and survival has been inconsistent. These include the varieties Magnar, an octoploid (2n=56) originally collected in south-eastern British Columbia (released 1979) and Trailhead, a tetraploid (2n=28) originally collected in south-central Montana (re-leased 1991). Washoe germplasm (2002; tetraploid) was released for use on harsh mining sites in Montana, and the variety Continental (2009) an octoploid developed from the hybridisation of Magnar and Trailhead (Ogle et al. 2012).