2018 Butterfly Conservation Opportunities from David James

2018 Butterfly Conservation Opportunities for WBA Members

On May 2 at the monthly meeting in Seattle, Dr David G James presented and explained 9 opportunities for WBA members to help and participate in local butterfly conservation projects during 2018.  A summary of these opportunities is provided below:


  • May 12: Field trip to the Cowiche Canyon Conservancy/WDFW managed property at the North Fork Cowiche, to survey the butterfly fauna. These recently acquired lands represent a unique transition area between shrub-steppe and higher elevation landscapes. Thus, there is potentially a good diversity of butterflies, but we have little information on the species occurring there. WBA members can help provide data on species occurrence/abundance that will ultimately guide conservation plans for the area.


  • May 19: Field trip to the Department of Defense lands at the Yakima Training Center near Yakima to survey the butterfly fauna. With permission and in collaboration with the DOD, WBA members will help compile an inventory of butterfly species occurring at the YTC during multiple visits over the next few years.  Currently there is no information on butterflies occurring on the 500+ square miles of shrub-steppe land owned by the DOD.  Access requires a background check and due to time restraints we cannot accept further participants on the May 12 trip.  We may conduct another trip to the YTC later in the season, so watch for information.


  • May 20: Field trip to Bureau of Reclamation lands adjacent to Moxee Bog near Yakima. Moxee bog was the site of a celebrated colony of Silver-bordered fritillaries (SBF) during 1966-2000 and was the first preserve set aside for butterfly conservation in the United States.  The Nature Conservancy, WBA and the Native Plant Society are undertaking a study on the possibility of restoring Moxee Bog as a habitat for the SBF. On May 20 we will survey Moxee Bog and adjacent BR lands looking for Marsh or Bog violets, host plants of SBF as well as the fritillaries themselves.


  • May 26-27: Memorial Day weekend field trip to Trinity National Forest in northern California to tag northerly-migrating Monarch butterflies.  We have virtually no information on the migration north of Monarchs and this is an opportunity to rectify this. Varying numbers of migrating monarchs are seen annually along the Trinity River in late May, providing an opportunity for capture and tagging.  If Monarchs are uncommon this year, there are up to 50 species of other butterflies present along the Trinity River to hold your attention!


  • June 2: Field trip to Rocky Ford in Adams County (near ghost town of Tokio) to see Silver-bordered fritillaries and their habitat. This is the nearest location to Moxee Bog that SBF exists and study of this population and habitat will be important to restoration of SBF at Moxee Bog (see #3)


  • June 23: Field trip to Umatilla NF in the Blue Mountains (near Pomeroy) to relocate a 1970-reported population of Meadow Fritillary.  Rare and local in WA, the Meadow Fritillary was last seen in the Blue Mountains at Big Springs in June 1970. 48 years later we will revisit the site to see if the species still exists there.


  • August 11 or 18: Monarch tagging day at Lower Crab Creek, Grant County. Come join us in tagging migrant Monarchs before they set off on their journey south.


  • Mid June-mid July (dates to be determined): Assist with population census and study of Leona’s Little Blue (LLB) in the Antelope Desert of southern Oregon. Last assessed in 2013, the current population status of LLB will be determined by conducting survey walks at weekly intervals from mid-June to mid-July. Volunteers are needed to help with these surveys.


  • August-September: Rearing and tagging of Monarch butterflies. Eggs or early instar larvae of Monarchs will be provided to participants to rear to adulthood. Butterflies will then be tagged and released as part of the PNW Monarch migration research program




If you are interested in participating in any of these 9 butterfly conservation opportunities, please email David James at david_james@wsu.edu for further information and to sign up.


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