Sponsoring Institution
Other Cooperating Institutions
Project Status
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Accession No.
Grant No.
Project No.
Proposal No.
Multistate No.
Program Code
Project Start Date
Jul 19, 2013
Project End Date
Dec 31, 2015
Grant Year
Project Director
Bakker, J.
Recipient Organization
Performing Department
Restoration Ecology and Environmental Horticulture
Non Technical Summary
The prairie ecosystems of Puget Sound contain a disproportionate number of federal and state listed species, including the following species addressed by this project: • Golden paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta) • Taylor's checkerspot (Euphydryas editha taylori) • Mardon skipper (Polites mardon) • Valley silverspot (Speyeria zerene bremnerii) • Island marble (Euchloe ausonides insulanus) Habitat degradation and destruction have been identified in recovery documents and by biologists as key factors contributing to the rarity of these species. There is not enoughextant habitat of reasonable quality to support these species, so restoration of highly degraded sites such as abandoned agricultural fields is urgently needed. Furthermore, restoration activities need to occur at ecologically meaningful scales to provide adequate habitat to support viable new populations of these species. This project addresses these recovery needs by working with partners to adaptively improve our methods for restoring highly degraded sites. By doing so, it results in habitats that can support viable populations of these species. Restoring this habitat also benefits other species, common and rare, within prairie ecosystems. Finally, this project specifically addresses the recovery of golden paintbrush by maintaining and enhancing three populations of this species.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
Knowledge Area
135 - Aquatic and Terrestrial Wildlife;

Subject Of Investigation
0780 - Grasslands, other;

Field Of Science
1070 - Ecology;
Goals / Objectives
The objectives of the project are to: 1) Maintain and enhance restored prairie habitat; and 2) Maintain and enhance three populations of golden paintbrush.
Project Methods
Key activities are: Adaptively maintain and enhance restored habitats at all three sites in coordination with site managers. Actions will include: Corridors will be kept free of vegetation. Vegetation may receive prescribed burning or selective herbicide treatments as necessary to control invasive species and to enhance populations of golden paintbrush, larval food plants, and nectar sources. Golden paintbrush will be sown into select restored areas, especially in North Puget Sound sites, to increase population size. Fencing may be installed to exclude large herbivores that browse on golden paintbrush. Areas at Glacial Heritage that have received adequate site preparation but were not previously seeded will be sown with a diverse mixture of native species. These areas are distributed throughout the site and total more than an acre in size. Monitor vegetation to assess golden paintbrush survival and flowering, assess invasive species, and track the performance of larval food plants and nectar sources included in restoration seeding mixes. Communicate results with land managers and others. Results will be communicated through conference presentations, reports, publications, and field trips for land managers, public groups, and prairie working groups in North and South Sound. In addition, this project contributes to undergraduate and graduate education, and results are being incorporated into course materials.

Progress 07/19/13 to 12/31/15

Target Audience:Target audiences included the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, restoration ecologists, landowners, The Nature Conservancy, the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies, the Center for Natural Lands Management, the Pacific Rim Institute for Environmental Stewardship, researchers, educators, students, AmeriCorps members, volunteers, and the general public. Changes/Problems:At the Smith Prairie and Ebey's Landing site: Soil samples were collected from the sites in January 2014, but, due to the size of the sample being too small, samples could not be properly analyzed. Due to a miscommunication between the researchers and field staff, supplemental seeding of golden paintbrush did not occur. Golden paintbrush near but not within the experimental area at Smith Prairie was fenced to reduce deer herbivory. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?Three field technicians, with assistance from Center for Natural Lands Management (CNLM) staff, Pacific Rim Institute for Environmental Stewardship (PRI) interns, and volunteers, gained experience in vegetation monitoring and maintenance activities. Two large classes from the University of Washington, Bothell, attended Prairie Appreciation Day on May 10, 2014, and learned about our restoration efforts. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?Results were communicated with the general public, land managers, and scientists via active participation in Prairie Appreciation Day, the preparation of a non-technical 'lessons learned' document, and oral presentations. We have a high certainty that the benefits of this project have been realized, and that they will have long-term positive consequences for prairie restoration because they contribute to the information base necessary to properly manage this ecosystem to recover golden paintbrush and other listed species. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? Nothing Reported

What was accomplished under these goals? 1. Adaptively Maintain and Enhance Restored Habitats Activities to maintain and enhance restored habitats occurred at all three sites in 2013 and 2014. The following actions occurred at Glacial Heritage: Fire crews burned a 100x plot at Glacial Heritage on 9/20/2013. Due to the late season application, heavy rains prior to the burn, and low fuel loading in this site, fire intensity and the resulting severity was very low. Center for Natural Lands Management (CNLM) staff maintained aisles within the experimental arrays at Glacial Heritage by spraying glyphosate in October 2013 and twice (March, July) in 2014. The entire site was also sprayed with Fusilade to limit non-native grass invasion in March 2014. Herbicide application dates were determined by weather and cover of non-native species present in the aisles. The aisles between the golden paintbrush plantings (i.e., the companion planting experiment) were maintained by rototilling multiple times throughout the year (September, April, July). Golden paintbrush seed was collected from the plots during Fall 2013, cleaned, and distributed back into the site and across several other South Sound sites in late Fall 2013. This work was funded through a separate award from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In addition, an experimental planting was installed in an area that had received adequate site preparation but was not previously seeded. Golden paintbrush plugs were outplanted alone or with one of the following species: Achillea millefolium, Danthonia californica, Deschampsia caespitosa, Eriophyllum lanatum, Erigeron speciosus, Festuca roemeri, Lupinus lepidus, Lupinus littoralis, Plantago lanceolata, Rosa nutkana, Solidago canadensis, Symphoricarpos albus. Twenty replicates of each combination were planted. However, a severe cold snap soon after planting killed the vast majority of these plants so no monitoring occurred in this area. The following actions occurred at Smith Prairie and Ebey's Landing: Glyphosate (Glypho-star) applications were performed on four occasions to maintain aisles between plots. In 2013, treatments occurred during the last week of June and the first week of September. The September treatment was more of a spot spray as relatively few weeds had germinated since the June treatment. In 2014, an early spring application was performed on April 2 at PRI and April 11 at Ebey's landing, and a late spring application on June 24 (PRI) and 25 (Ebey's Landing). An average of 35-37 gallons of herbicide was used to treat the aisles for each site on each date. Maintaining aisles was considerably more difficult at Ebey's Landing as plants such as Canada thistle, bull thistle, and field mustards were quick to re-populate the barren aisles. Milestone was applied to thistles coming up within plots. Application occurred on June 30 and July 1, 2014. Photo documentation occurred on three occasions throughout the year to help principal researchers assess the conditions and status of the plots. Photographs of plots at both Ebey's Landing and Smith Prairie sites were taken to document how sites are doing over time and to help with management assessment. Pictures were taken in October 2013, April 2014, and late June 2014 to show the relative status of areas when vegetative growth was occurring in aisles and plots. In October 2013, we pulled field mustard and other problematic species that had been missed or arose after initial two sprays at both sites. It should be noted that a considerable crop of new weeds germinated afterwards in response to the wet and warm weather that autumn. Lupinus arboreus was removed in late June as it had been identified as an unintentionally introduced species. 2. Monitor Vegetation Vegetation monitoring occurred in Spring 2014 and was led by three field technicians, with assistance from CNLM staff, Pacific Rim Institute for Environmental Stewardship (PRI) interns, and volunteers. Monitoring followed established monitoring protocols developed during the 'Prairie Habitat Restoration' project and by the golden paintbrush recovery team. This work was funded partially through this award and partially from other sources. Monitoring occurred in 1,396 permanently marked 1 x 1 m quadrats distributed throughout the experimental arrays and scaled-up areas at each site. On a subset of the quadrats (one per plot in experimental arrays, one per six quadrats in scaled-up areas), we conducted photo monitoring and estimated the cover of various substrates. These images, when combined with those from previous years, illustrate the changes that are occurring over time, particularly with regard to flowering species. In all quadrats, we identified each vascular plant species present and estimated their cover using standard cover classes. This monitoring has been conducted annually since the plots were established, enabling comparisons of how plant communities have changed for up to 6 years. For example, species richness has generally increased at Glacial Heritage but decreased at North Sound sites. Site preparation has had a long-term effect on total cover in some sites and seeding years. At Glacial Heritage, for example, total cover is greater in Solarize plots than in plots that received the Burn or Herbicide treatments. Additional work will examine the dynamics of the seeded species specifically, and will evaluate the effects of post-seeding management activities such as prescribed burns and herbicide application. During our monitoring, we focused specific attention on golden paintbrush. In each quadrat, we mapped and counted each individual plant, tallied the number of flowering stems on each plant, and noted the prevalence of herbivory of flowering stems. Key items to note: The number of plants at each site is well above the minimum required for a recovery population The population at Glacial Heritage is incredibly large due primarily to the fact that it includes the 100x scaled-up areas, which total 1.4 ha and are the largest contiguous area in which golden paintbrush has been seeded to date (Arnett 2014). Establishment varied among years. For example, establishment was much higher in the 2010 than 2011 array at both North Sound sites. On average, 58% of the observed golden paintbrush plants flowered in 2014. However, this proportion was much higher at Ebey's Landing than at the other sites. The average flowering golden paintbrush plant had 5 flowering stems, 39% of which were browsed. Plants in the North Sound had about twice as many flowering stems as those at Glacial Heritage. However, these sites also had higher herbivory rates, which may have stimulated the production of additional stems. In addition, we noted the occurrence of plants in the plots at Glacial Heritage that appeared to be hybrids between golden paintbrush and harsh paintbrush (Castilleja hispida). It was unclear whether these hybrids were viable or the degree to which they might hinder the recovery of golden paintbrush. In Autumn 2014, we collected seed capsules from a number of these plants and assessed seed production and viability. Hybrid plants produced smaller capsules with less than half as many seeds per capsule as in golden paintbrush, though the seeds themselves were larger. On average, 77% of the seeds germinated. Genetic analyses are underway to determine the hybridization history of these plants (Fisher et al. 2015).


  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Oral presentation at the 5th World Conference on Ecological Restoration, Madison, WI (October 2013)
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Oral presentation at the Ecological Society of America conference, Minneapolis, MN (August 2013)