Monday, May 20, 2013

Monarch Watch Waystation Certification

I was excited to receive Monarch Waystation certificate #6582 and a weatherproof sign today.

Each fall, hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies migrate from the United States and Canada to overwintering areas in Mexico and California where they wait out the winter until conditions favor a return flight in the spring. The monarch migration is threatened by habitat loss in the winter breeding sites and throughout the spring and summer breeding range in North America.   Milkweeds and nectar sources are declining rapidly due to development and the widespread use of herbicides in croplands, pastures and roadsides.  Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on leaves of milkweed plants, therefore preserving these native plants is crucial in protecting the Monarch butterfly.  Without a major effort to restore milkweeds to as many locations as possible, the monarch population is certain to decline to extremely low levels.

By creating "Monarch Waystations" (monarch habitats) in gardens at homes, schools, businesses, parks, zoos, nature centers, and along roadsides and other unused plots of land, it is hoped further decline of monarch populations can be prevented.  In order to qualify a monarch habitat as a Monarch Waystation requires documenting: shelter from predators and the elements, host plants for caterpillars, nectar plants, and sustainable management practices.   

Our application documented our efforts: 

Suburban home habitat - large (500-999sq ft)

Shelter from predators and the elements provided by variety and density of plants
6-10plants/sq yd

Host plants for monarchs:
Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca),  Sullivant's Milkweed (Asclepias sulllivantii), Swamp Milkweed ((Asclepias incarnata)

One of our butterfly beds 

Nectar Plants -Annuals or Biennials:

Nectar Plants- Perennials:
Bee Balm (Monarda spp.)
Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
Blazingstar/Gayfeather (Liatris spp.)
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia spp.)
Caryopteris (Caryopteris spp.)
Catmint/Catnip (Nepeta spp.)
Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.)
Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)
Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum)
New England Aster (Aster novea-angliae)
Phlox (Phlox spp.)
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Sedum (Sedum spectabile)
Senna/Cassia (Senna spp.)
Violet (Viola spp.)

Sustainable Management Practices:
Add other features (fruit feeder, other host plants, ...)
Amend the soil
Eliminate the use of insecticides
Manage the density of the plot by thinning to minimize crowding
Mulch around the based of plants to reduce growth of weeds and retian water
Remove dead stalks,... before the next growing season by hand
Remove invasive species from the site
Use natural compost for fertilization
Water the plot as needed to maintain growth

Mapping of the 2013 monarch migration indicates slower progress across the mid-continent than in past years due to colder than normal temperatures slowing monarch life cycles.  Sightings of monarchs here in NA Wisconsin are likely still several weeks away. 

Monarch spring migration map

No comments:

Post a Comment