Delta warehouse assists in Western Slope re-seeding efforts

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DELTA, Colo. (KKCO) -- Seeds can be used in a number of ways, including helping burn areas grow vegetation again to providing new homes for wildlife. Know More about a new seed warehouse on the Western Slope.

The warehouse is located in Delta, and can house hundreds of thousands of pounds of seeds. The warehouse plays a pivotal role in the seeding process, including helping other federal agencies re-grow vegetation after destruction.

Under the wrong circumstances, seeds can be ineffective. But if all is right, those seeds will bloom, changing the landscape and environment for the better.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife opened its specialized warehouse in December where seeds can be stored and distributed to agencies in need.

"If we stuck seed in every corner, [it would hold] about 300,000 pounds," Colorado Parks and Wildlife habitat coordinator Jim Garner said of the warehouse. “Right now we're planning to hopefully purchase and stockpile seed in the coming years, not just next year."

The 9,000 square foot facility will serve multiple purposes including holding seed meant to benefit land reclaimed from oil and gas work and provide grazing and other habitat opportunities for wildlife. The warehouse has also already gotten to work on seeds for burn rehabilitation efforts.

So far, the warehouse has held 146,000 pounds of seed for the Bureau of Land Mangement. Just last month, those seeds were dropped on Pine Ridge Fire burn areas. The fire burned over 14,000 acres last summer.

"For the amount of money that you pay for seed, it just makes you feel better that it's in a storage facility," Bureau of Land Management rangeland management specialist Jim Dollerschell said. Dollerschell says the BLM used to store its seeds outside or in sheds where they battled weather and rodent problems.

The seeds are costly because of the complex growing process, moving from the wild to field settings and eventually a grower that ships them out, but Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials hope those prices will eventually drop.

"Generally you're talking about a three year process if you pick a particular plant," Garner said. "Because of all of the fires across the Western United States last year, the prices went through the roof."

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is hoping to build up its seed stockpile, and continue new growth in Western Colorado.

Some of these seeds cost up to 80 dollars per pound. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is working with growers to get that cost down. This way land managers can choose which seeds they want

Officials say depending on moisture levels, seeds on the Pine Ridge burn area could start budding as early as spring, but some seeds could take years before they show any growth.