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03/15/2006 - Terabyte Triangle Welcomes Clearwater Seed

Have you been searching for seeds for Shaggy Fleabane, Hoary Aster, or Douglas False Yarrow for your habitat restoration project? How about Idaho Fescue and Bluebunch Wheatgrass – native grasses which are very basic to restoration in this area? The seed growers at Clearwater Seed have those very seeds in their long term projections.

Clearwater Seed is a new incubator tenant at SIRTI, 665 N Riverpoint Boulevard, Suite 142. Clearwater Seed’s focus is on native and restoration grass and flower seed. The newly formed company is headed by Mark Mustoe, who is in charge of seed sales and restoration consulting, and includes three growers of native plant seed. The seed growers are all in the Clarkston area and are Mosman, Jensen, and Hasenoehrl. Clearwater Seed growers produce seeds from dozens of species of Western United States native grasses and flowers. Clearwater’s motto is, “Quality seed, knowledge, and integrity make the difference.”

Clearwater Seed sells, mostly wholesale, to other seed companies and government agencies involved in habitat restoration. Habitat may need restoration due to fires, erosion, developments, or just a need for renewal. “There’s an ongoing need for seed,” says Mustoe.

Along with the seeds, Clearwater consults for restoration projects. According to Mustoe, native grasses are slow to establish, and what was successful one year, might not work the next. Natives are inconsistent at best. “Because things change in nature, nothing is a given,” says Mustoe, “Clearwater Seed expertise goes a long way in making the project successful. We help by selecting the right species or blend of species, then advise on what to do to get the best restoration job.”

Clearwater Seed will also focus on bringing some new species of flowers and grasses into the market. “These are natives, but they have never been brought into significant production, so that seed has not been commercially available,” says Mustoe. “We’re the guys who are going to bring Shaggy Fleabane, Hoary Aster, Douglas False Yarrow, Idaho Fescue and Bluebunch Wheatgrass, among others, to market. Some of these are important for specific uses such as pheasant habitat restoration.”

Clearwater Seed found its way into the SIRTI incubator through help from Bill Kalivas and Connect Northwest, and through the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), assisted by Rick Thorpe, who helped with the business plan. “SIRTI has been a great help,” says Mustoe. SIRTI is helping build a new Web site and corporate graphics.

Clearwater Seed has been in business for a about two months. “Our first year goal is $1 million in sales,” says Mustoe. “There is enough challenge here to make the business interesting for a long, long time. There are new things coming all of the time, and the end product is beautiful. We help make all things a little better.”

Billie Moreland
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