The Iowa Ecotype Project is a highly specialized endeavor whose mandate is to develop seed of the highest possible quality with the greatest genetic diversity with the intention of restoring the great, vast prairie land of Iowa. This project is the collaborative effort of several organizations and entities, including the University of Northern Iowa, IA DOT Living Roadway Trust Fund, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation, the Iowa Crop Improvement Association and the Iowa Native Seed Growers Association.
This joining together of forces from federal, state, private and commercial sectors hopes to increase, certify and market the derived from what still remains of the native populations of prairie species. The seed is sold as Source Identified see so that the seed’s identity is preserved through the Iowa Crop Improvement Associations’ AOSCA-approved certification program.
The program produces quantities available for commercial use, and they are marketed under the trade name of “Natural Selections TM.”
The goals of the project are to increase the amount of seed form 50 different species contained within 3,000 separate populations originating from three provenance zones in Iowa. There are 81 ‘ecotypes’ from 33 species which have been release for commercial production