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Wildlife Protection

Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Planting a few seeds pays off for an endangered butterfly

The State of Wisconsin supports the largest and most widespread populations of Karner blue butterflies in the world, and the species is endangered because its sole host plant - wild blue lupine - has become scarce. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has joined 22 public and private organizations across the state to preserve existing lupine patches and encourage new lupine growth. For example, in Jackson County the Department seeded an I-94 rest area with lupine and other native prairie plants. Three years later (it takes lupine three years to mature and flower) the area was a solid wall of blue flowers and Karner blue butterflies were everywhere. In addition to planting lupine seeds, the Department has modified its mowing cycles along 500 miles of state highway rights-of-way where the endangered butterfly lives.
 
--Apr 25, 2003

Gary Birch, (608) 266-1017 or gary.birch@dot.state.wi.us

Karner blue butterfly
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo
Karner blue butterfly

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Along Roads - Wisconsin
Updated: 12/12/2012
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