The Seed Reservoir

Now that the fencing is complete and the area has received sufficient monsoon rains, the grasses in the river bottom at the Painted Pony Resort are in full bloom.  The grass reservoir is now complete and ready to start work spreading seed out on to the surrounding landscape.  It is also time to begin a grass inventory. 

Similar in concept to a seed bank, the grass reservoir acts as a storehouse of native grasses for reseeding efforts on the surrounding landscape.  The concept of a grass reservoir does not require seed storage but rather takes advantage of naturally occurring stands of native grasses which are protected from browsing and allowed to go to seed.  Seed from these stands of native grasses are redistributed by the winds onto barren areas encouraging a natural reseeding of the surrounding landscape.  In grazed areas such as the New Mexico State land and BLM lands that surround the Painted Pony Resort, the effect of naturally spreading grass seed will over time start new grass stands in more barren areas.  This effect will repeat itself on a yearly basis as long as the central grass reservoir is maintained and will continue to build new grass stands not only at PPR but on lands outside the estate. 

Of course the native browsers of grass will have an impact on the efficiency of the reseeding process.  Ant and rodent species which forage on grass seed will reduce the spreading efficiency but these are naturally occurring grass harvesters and in comparison to the larger herbivores should have little impact on dispersal.  The approximately 240 acres fenced will not keep out deer, antelope, and other large native herbivores but their populations are relatively small compared with the main browser, cattle, which are excluded by the fence.

A preliminary survey of grass species on the property has reached 10 species of native grasses.  Not being a botanist it will take some time to identify all the grass species but black gamma and sideoats gamma appear to be present, see below.

seed reservoir
The San Simon Riverbed as a grass reservoir

Tentatively identified as black gamma

Tentatively identified as sideoats gamma


  1. The top picture with the clouds, Peloncillo and Chiricahua Mountains with all the long beautiful grass is amazing!

    So nice to see some of the native grasses this year with such a nice monsoon.

    1. It is another multi-image panorama. It is the only way to show the expanse of the river bottom and both mountain ranges.

  2. Love the idea of grass & seed reservoirs. I'm applauding your efforts! Hard to tell if the first grass is black grama or not... but check the stem between the nodes. Black grama has small wooly hairs and is the only grama that does. The second grass looks like B. aristidoides from my armchair vantage.

    Post more specimens as you find them!

  3. Thanks for the tips, if you are aware of any good online resources or other resources I would appreciate any information. Trying to mach the photographs with material from the web is not very rewarding. I have photographs of 10 species on the property so far and I must admit for a PhD biologist I do not know grasses.

    The idea arose from viewing a friends property on the other side of the valley where he has restored several hundred acres of grassland on east slope of the Chiricahua mountains over the past 30 years. I have also started to identify other fenced plots in the area that may also serve as seed reservoirs.

  4. There are some resources I can share. I'll include them in an email to the "viewtube" address from the resort website. Hopefully that makes it to you.