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ARCATA FWO: Working Hard for Butterfly Habitat
California-Nevada Offices , April 5, 2014
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The amazing Scotch broom pullers! L to R: Kelsey Kuhn, Christine Damiani, Autumn Hudgens (front), Liisa Schmoele, Gretchen Ziegler, Daniel Mintz, and Dave Imper.
The amazing Scotch broom pullers! L to R: Kelsey Kuhn, Christine Damiani, Autumn Hudgens (front), Liisa Schmoele, Gretchen Ziegler, Daniel Mintz, and Dave Imper. - Photo Credit: USFWS
The small (but mighty) Autumn Hudgens demonstrating the proper technique for removing Scotch broom with her kid-sized weed wrench.
The small (but mighty) Autumn Hudgens demonstrating the proper technique for removing Scotch broom with her kid-sized weed wrench. - Photo Credit: USFWS
After: southern meadow.
After: southern meadow. - Photo Credit: USFWS
Before: southern meadow. The yellow flowers are Scotch broom.
Before: southern meadow. The yellow flowers are Scotch broom. - Photo Credit: USFWS

The violets that caterpillars of the Oregon silverspot butterfly feed on were in full bloom on Saturday, April 5 near Lake Earl in northwestern California. At the same time, volunteers were in full swing removing invasive Scotch broom from silverspot habitat down the road.

Gary Falxa and Liisa Schmoele from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office organized a work day with Eureka’s Sequoia Park Zoo staff and friends to help improve habitat for the federally-threatened butterfly. The Oregon silverspot butterfly inhabits coastal prairies along the northern California and Oregon coasts, which (like habitat for so many species) is unfortunately being encroached upon by an invasive species.

This small group of volunteers was able to put a major dent in the leading edge of the Scotch broom invasion, opening up space for native grasses and forbs to recolonize. Using weed wrenches and equipment supplied by the local Bureau of Land Management Office and California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the group filled an industrial-sized dumpster with Scotch broom. The Arcata FWO is hopeful that this is the first of many broom removal work days to be held in conjunction with the Sequoia Park Zoo and local conservation groups.


Contact Info: Liisa Schmoele, (707) 822-7201, liisa_schmoele@fws.gov



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