WESPEN Online Order Form print this page
US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Bringing Back the Karner Blue Butterfly One Wild Lupine at a Time: Partners for Fish and Wildlife Restore Prairie on Private Lands

Region 8, August 3, 2011
Great Plains no-till seeder planting native prairie seeds as Partners For Fish and Wildlife restore habitat.
Great Plains no-till seeder planting native prairie seeds as Partners For Fish and Wildlife restore habitat. - Photo Credit: n/a

Beginning this past fall Wildlife Biologists Gary Van Vreede and John Riens from the Green Bay Ecological Services Field Office, worked with a Portage County, Wisconsin landowner to establish a 16-acre native prairie. The site had been used as an agricultural field for several decades, but the current property owners desired to see it converted to a habitat area for wildlife.

Located within an area of Central Wisconsin inhabited by the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly, this site was planted with native prairie vegetation designed to provide habitat for this rare butterfly. One of the species planted was wild lupine, a plant the Karner blue butterfly is dependent on to complete its life cycle. This flowering forb occurs among the open prairies, oak savannahs and Pine Barrens located across North Central Wisconsin.

Historically, this habitat could be observed from New Hampshire to Minnesota, but due to human settlement and adjustments in land practices, these habitats have been severely diminished. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided technical and financial assistance for this project through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife program. Assistance included development of the project plan and overseeing the various elements of a prairie establishment, such as a site preparation, planting and follow-up maintenance. The landowners are looking forward to the possibility of seeing Karner blue butterflies at the site in the near future.

Contact Info: John Riens, 541-885-2503, John_Riens@fws.gov