Sea Lamprey Office Goes Native
BY CHRISTIE DELORIA, MARQUETTE BIOLOGICAL STATION
After over seven years of patience and nurturing, native plants have taken hold at the Marquette Biological Station. In spring 2006 after moving to a new building, staff, family, and friends came out one weekend to plant native seeds at the office. The results of those efforts are finally being seen. Christie Deloria biologist with the Service noted "The native plants like big bluestem and black-eyed susan grow extensive root systems first. So, you don't notice flowers or robust stems in the first few years." With permission from the landlord, four areas were planted with native plant seed and plugs.
The goals behind the planting were to highlight the potential use of native species in landscaping, to minimize mowing and water use, and provide small habitat patches for birds and butterflies. It seems to be meeting all of those goals. Although the site requires less maintenance than a traditional lawn, it still requires some attention. Bob Kahl, retired sea lamprey biologist and volunteer extraordinaire, has dedicated many hours of time to weeding, planting, and growing plants for the native plant garden. He's planted nearly 500 plant plugs and removed over 20 bags of non-native species. This fall he's also been out collecting seed to transfer and use at other sites.
The native plant garden has been a partnership effort among the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Sea Lamprey and Ecological Services Programs, Hiawatha National Forest, Marquette County Conservation District, Northern Michigan University students, and various volunteers.