Umatilla Native Plant Nursery Operational Support VII

Salmonid Habitat Restoration and Acquisition

Pre-Restoration Acquisitions And Nursery Operations
Project ID20-Umat-05
Recovery DomainsInterior Columbia
Start Date03/01/2021
End Date02/28/2022
Last Edited04/22/2022
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The purpose of the project was to provide nursery services and locally adapted native plant products in support of restoration projects within the territory of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Plant materials from the native plant nursery may be used throughout the Columbia Basin for fish habitat restoration and watershed restoration projects with a focus on the Umatilla, Grande Ronde, Walla Walla, Tucannon and John Day Basins. Projects supported include CTUIR and their conservation partners. Services include site assessment and treatment prescription development, plant collection and propagation and maintenance of specified native plant species. There are currently very few native plant nurseries in the area and none that specialize in the production of locally adapted stock.

The plants were sold to the Tribal habitats and to other conservation partners and were generally installed by contractors at the project site. Frequently, plants from other nurseries were intermixed with plants from our nursery at the staging area. The nursery does not monitor the success of the plants after they leave the nursery because we cannot be responsible for the planting techniques. Habitat managers survey total revegetation over a period of years but those surveys do not distinguish between plants from TNPN, plants from other nurseries and plants that naturally regenerate.

Specific work items included:

Develop planting plan with Habitat project managers, conservation partner project leaders, and contractors for restoration projects
Collect seed and/or cuttings from proposed site and prepare for propagation.
Sow appropriately to produce plants that are suitable for project site and meet target dates for out-planting.
Maintain plants in a manner that encourages robust root growth and adequate shoot growth.
Monitor for diseases and pests, changing practices as needed to produce healthy plants.
Harden plants with changes to fertilizer and irrigation protocols to encourage dormancy.
If needed, overwinter in protected space, transplant to desired container, then manage growth until the next planting season.
Communicate with habitat managers regarding success of particular species and container types, making necessary adjustments to future planting plans.

During 2020 and 2021 the tribes experienced several shutdowns due to the Corona virus. The first shutdown in the spring of 2020, the nursery was closed for business for three months and maintained only half of the normal workforce on site. This impacted our production for the entire growing season and we were not able to raise the full suite of species or the total numbers that it normally produces. However, due to the concerted and resourceful efforts of the staff, the habitat restoration project orders were completed with some species substitutions and some additional purchases of plants to replace those that did not have time to reach maturity.

The funds supplied by the PCSRF for salaries benefitted the CTUIR Tribal Native Plant Nursery by providing a crew to perform everyday needed tasks for running a nursery, maintaining infrastructure and producing plants. Retaining full time as well as seasonal employees year after year has increased the vision of the program. Crew members are contributing more than just their time and energy. Because of their history and commitment to the program they are evaluating procedures in production and suggesting modifications to increase quality and reduce expenses. Challenges of a changing climate are providing new learning opportunities each year as we seek to produce hardy resilient plants with increased ability to survive in the severe conditions of the Eastern Oregon out-planting sites.

Project Benefit    

Plant materials produced at the Nursery will benefit Threatened summer steelhead, Threatened bull trout, and Threatened and reintroduced Chinook and Coho salmon by assuring the availability of healthy and vigorous locally sourced native plant materials for use in habitat restoration projects by tribal entities (CTUIR, Nez Perce, and Burns Paiute) and conservation partners (USFS, USFWS, OR Dept of Parks and Recreation, ODFW, ODOT, County Soil and Water Conservation Districts and City Parks), enrollees in DOI projects such as the Sage Grouse Initiative, EQUIP, CURB and CREP. Also, various non-profit organizations such as Tri-State Steelheader’s Assoc, National Wild Turkey Federation, Blue Mountain Land Trust, Walla Walla Basin Watershed Council, Umatilla Basin Watershed Council and North Fork John Day Watershed Council.

The plants grown at the Tribal Native Plant Nursery are from seed collected by the nursery at the project sites or at nearby locations with similar abiotic and plant community characteristics. While it is more expensive to gather seed and raise plants with this degree of fidelity to local genetics, the prices at TNPN are generally comparable to other nurseries who do not apply such standards in seed selection.
Although we do not have the metrics to evaluate success rates of TNPN plants compared to plants from other nurseries, the value of growing plants from locally adapted seed has been demonstrated in multiple common garden studies. It is not surprising that planting success and long range outcomes are superior when the genetics have been challenged with conditions specific to this area. Locally sourced materials not only assure long term resilience, they also prevent unintended introduction of non-adapted genetic materials to the watersheds.

Native riparian plants provide shade, structure and a substrate for macroinvertebrates that feed native fish stocks. Native plant products support CTUIR’s “River Vision” which identifies a healthy riparian condition as a key component or touchstone to achieving healthy floodplain conditions necessary to protect, restore and enhance tribal First Foods for the perpetual cultural, economic, and sovereign benefit of CTUIR. Use of locally adapted plant stocks helps protect the ecological integrity of the local plant communities while improving overall floodplain health and fish production potential.

TNPN makes native plants available to the local community. Participants in Pollinator gardens through the NRCS or riparian restoration through CURB projects are guided through the process. Many however, are interested in utilizing native plants for beauty, as wildlife attractants, and water conservation. Tribal Native Plant Nursery personnel listen to the objectives of the homeowner to provide plants that will meet their needs and will suit the conditions of their location. The merits and needs of each species are discussed and suggestions are given to increase the success of those plantings.


Metric Completed Originally

Funding Details

Report Total:$461,451

Project Map


CTUIR Tribal Native Plant Nursery    

  • Worksite Identifier: CTUIR Tribal Native Plant Nursery
  • Start Date: 02/01/2021
  • End Date: 02/28/2022
Area Description

No Area Description data was found for this worksite.

Location Information

  • Basin: Lower Snake
  • Subbasin:
  • Watershed:
  • Subwatershed:
  • State: Oregon
  • Recovery Domain: Interior Columbia
  • Latitude: 45.6775
  • Longitude: -118.068


  • Mid-Columbia River Spring-run Chinook Salmon ESU
  • Middle Columbia River Steelhead DPS
  • Snake River Spring/Summer-run Chinook Salmon ESU
  • Snake River Fall Chinook Salmon ESU




  • C.0 Salmonid Habitat Restoration and AcquisitionY (Y/N)
    •      . . C.0.a Habitat restoration and acquisition funding 461,451.00
    •      . . C.0.b Length of stream treated/protected .00
    •      . . C.0.c
      Project identified in a Plan or Watershed Assessment
    •      . . C.0.d.1 Project Monitoring (LOV)
    •      . . C.0.d.2 Monitoring Location (LOV)
    •      . . C.0.d.3
      Monitoring text (from Phase I)
      The Nursery monitors plant materials prior to delivery for disease, phenology, overall condition, soil fertility and survival by species and cohort. Monitoring of the plants at the nursery is conducted by nursery staff. Those plants that do not express health and vigor of growth are not sold to the habitats for restoration. The nursery staff do not install the plants at the project sites. The habitats managers use planting crews to install plants from the tribal nursery as well as plants from other nurseries when the tribal nursery is not able to supply the numbers requested. Most monitoring of short- and long-term survival post planting is done at the habitat implementation sites as part of those projects. The habitat managers conduct vegetation surveys as they are able. Those surveys collect numbers of living plants on transects and do not differentiate between nursery sources or between plants derived from natural reseeding and those from nursery stock.
    •      . . C.12 Pre-Restoration Acquisitions And Nursery OperationsY (Y/N)
      •      . . . . C.12.a Pre-restoration funding 461,451.00
      •      . . . . C.12.c.1 Nursery operationY (Y/N)
        •      . . . . . . C.12.c.2
          Species (scientific) name(s) of plants
          Acer glabrum Alnus incana Alnus rhombifolia Amelanchier alnifolia Artemisia tridentata Asclepsia speciosa Betula occidentalis Carex amplfolia Cornus sericea Crataegus douglasii Frangula purshiana Holodiscus discolor Juncus balticus Koeleria macrantha Mimulus guttata Philadelphus lewisii Pinus ponderosa Populus balsamifera tricho. Populus tremuloides Prunus virginiana Pseudoroegneria spicata Pseudotsuga menziesii Purshia tridentate Ribes aureum Rosa woodsia Salix amygdaloides Salix exigua Sambucus nigra cerulea Sorbus scopulina Spiraea douglasii Symphoricarpos albus
        •      . . . . . . C.12.c.3 Number of each species raised per year 66,600