TLD’s Native Plant Propagation Project for Restoration in California’s Deserts:
In 2017 The Living Desert established a cooperative relationship with the BLM to grow genetically appropriate native plants for restoration efforts that are on-going throughout BLM managed lands in the southern portion of the Mojave Desert Ecoregion and in the southern California portion of the Sonoran Desert Ecoregion. Throughout the year, at the appropriate times, The Living Desert propagates nursery container stock of genetically appropriate plant species that are needed for restoration on public lands. These nursery plants are grown from initial seed provided by the BLM. Plant species for these projects support habitat restoration for desert tortoise and pollinators in the southern Mojave Desert Ecoregion and northern Sonoran Desert Ecoregion. We have the capacity to grow up to 1,500 plants per year for restoration projects and deep experience in native desert plant propagation.
Mecca Aster Propagation and Habitat Restoration:
A beautiful desert sunflower with lilac-tinted blooms, the Mecca Aster is found only in the Mecca Hills and Orocopia Mountains of the Coachella Valley. Threats to this rare species include habitat loss, off-road vehicle activity, illegal dumping, and sand and gravel mining. In collaboration with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, TLD grew and developed a propagation and nursery production protocol for the rare Mecca aster. This aster is a threatened species found growing only in the some local badlands. In the winter of 2007, plants propagated at TLD were used to re-vegetate areas denuded though off-road vehicle use in the Orocopia Mountains. TLD continues to refine horticultural techniques for Mecca aster production.
In recent years, The Living Desert’s Desert Pollinators project has supported three pollinator programs. The Butterfly Conservation Initiative (BFCI) is a program associated with the American Zoo and Aquarium Association and the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Partnerships and Outreach. BFCI is dedicated to the conservation of threatened, endangered, and vulnerable North American butterflies and the habitats that sustain them. The Urban Bee Project is part of a statewide survey conducted by the Urban Bee Lab at UC Berkeley. They gather information on the ecological relationships of native bees and their preferred flowers in urban areas. Component of this project look specifically at The Living Desert’s native bees. Also The Living Desert’s Fanciful Flyers exhibit features monarch conservation education. We also grew-out 100s of native milkweed in our Plant Propagation greenhouses to be given to our guests to start their own backyard monarch waystations.