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FY 2016 Program Highlights

A CULTURE OF SERVICE AND COMMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

 

The FAC program works with partners to plant pollinator gardens and pollinator-friendly habitat on its properties, reinforcing that taking care of the birds and the bees helps aquatic species and waterscapes,too.
Chinook

Pollinator Gardens Proliferate at FAC Field Stations

By Sean Connolly

By the numbers

On-site gardens FAC's created since 2012

Seven
Off-site Community gardens created with FAC assistance

Two: one in Salmon, ID, one in Vancouver, WA.
Size of R1 FAC Pollinator Gardens, Collecively

More than 18,000 sq. ft.
Volunteers that have helped us since 2015

More than 50
Our Partners in 2016
  • AmeriCorps
  • Boy Scouts of America Troop 777
  • The City of Salmon, ID
  • Chelan-Douglas (WA) and Gooding County (ID) Master Gardeners
  • Idaho School District 291
  • Salmon Valley Stewardship

There's a buzz in the air around Pacific Region Fish and Aquatic Conservation (FAC) Program hatcheries and field stations, and it isn't about salmon and steelhead.

In 2016 three National Fish Hatcheries (NFHs) in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho installed or expanded pollinator gardens on hatchery grounds, contributing to a national Service effort to both conserve and raise awareness about the ecological and economic value native pollinators and Monarch butterflies provide.

The facilities, Hagerman NFH, Leavenworth NFH, and Eagle Creek NFH, all worked with local partners to convert grassy expanses on their property into demonstration and outreach gardens, and were the brainchildren of two forward-looking hatchery managers and one AmeriCorps Service Member.

Eagle Creek NFH in Estacada added a new pollinator garden in 2016, with help from an area Boy Scout Troop. Photo credit: Charlie Pelizza/USFWS.

At Eagle Creek NFH in Estacada, OR, hatchery manager Caroline Peterschmidt first worked in summer 2015 with the Region's Pollinator Coordinator Joe Engler to site survey hatchery grounds for native milkweed Monarch butterflies need, then in April 2016 partnered with Boy Scouts of America Troop 777 to create a 2,800 square feet natural area with over 100 native plants and informational signs.

In Idaho, Hagerman NFH manager Craig Eaton teamed up with Gooding County Master Gardeners this spring to install four additional irrigated, raised beds. These new gardens contained 200 square feet of native plants, including the eye-catching showy milkweed, which Eaton had propagated in his personal greenhouse from seeds collected during a 2015 hatchery habitat survey. The beds expand upon pollinator habitat Eaton and his crew created last year when they planted the hatchery's first butterfly garden.

Leavenworth NFH created a new pollinator garden in 2016 that received an 'Honorable Mention' award by the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign. Photo Credit: USFWS.

Monarchs and native pollinator populations in Central Washington, meanwhile, are benefitting from a new 2,400 square foot garden AmeriCorps Service Member Heather Love created at Leavenworth NFH in May 2016. Love worked with the Washington State University Chelan-Douglas Master Gardeners and the Rotary InterAct Club to recruit volunteers who helped her grow milkweed, install plants, and develop educational material about area Monarch butterfly and pollinator populations. The pollinator garden received garnered an 'Honorable Mention' for the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign Pollinator Roadside Management Award competition.

With the 2016 additions, there are now seven FAC stations with on-site pollinator-focused gardens or habitat areas. In 2015, the Abernathy Fish Technology Center, Lower Columbia River Fish Health Center, and Mid-Columbia Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (FWCO) each planted their own gardens. The Columbia River FWCO in 2012 created the FAC program's first native gardens at office space they lease.

Idaho FWCO biologist Jody Brostrom, meanwhile, has collaborated with Salmon Valley Stewardship, the City of Salmon, and Idaho School District 291 to help create a pollinator garden at Salmon's elementary school. Additionally, Brostrom and area partners have commissioned student-created public murals featuring native pollinator species and native plants and hired youth interns to raise community awareness about why pollinator species are important.

A monarch butterfly caterpillar. Photo Credit: Craig Eaton/USFWS.

While some may question why hatcheries in the business of raising fish are focusing time, energy, and space on the birds and the bees (and butterflies), the reasons is pretty straightforward answers as far as the Fish and Aquatic Conservation Program is concerned. Our ecosystems--including waterways and upland habitat--are interconnected. Pollinators are crucial for our food supply. And as part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, we all need to work together to help the species we are entrusted to conserve, protect, or restore. Regardless of whether or not they live or at least spend part of their lives in water.

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service strategically engages with a broad array of partners and audiences working together to support and coordinate efforts to protect monarch migration across the the United States, Canada and Mexico. Over the past several years, the agency's staff, National Wildlife Refuges, Wetland Management Areas, and National Fish Hatcheries have actively worked to create or expand Monarch and pollinator habitat and raise public awareness about the importance of sustaining or restoring these species nationwide.

 

Last Updated: August 17, 2018
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