Along a 1-mile stretch of King's Valley Highway in Oregon's Willamette Valley, a simple management tool is preserving the habitat of a butterfly once thought to be extinct. The tool? "Special Management Areas," or SMAs. The butterfly? Fender's blue. Like the 60 other SMA sites in Oregon Department of Transportation's statewide program, the Fender's blue SMAs display coded-matrix signs telling Department maintenance crews what kinds of activities can be done there and when. For example, they're instructed to do late-season vegetation management (mowing and pruning). This strategy is designed to preserve Kincaid's lupine and sickle-keeled lupine--the host plants on which the butterfly depends. The strategy works like a controlled burn, mimicking the disturbance of fires that once scoured the upland prairie, removing underbrush and allowing the adaptable lupines and native vegetation to flourish. On the Fender's blue sites along King's Valley Highway, SMA-directed activities have paid off in healthy populations of the lupine and its endangered butterfly.
--Aug 21, 2006
|Fender's blue butterfly|