Shoreline Education for Awareness (SEA) presents “Research and Restoration Intertwine to Save an Imperiled Butterfly,” a panel discussion by several U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists about efforts to rescue the endangered Silverspot Butterfly.
The event, free and open to all, takes place online on Tuesday, November 9, 6 p.m. To register, go here.
Here are the panelists:
*Rebecca Chuck, Deputy Project Leader, Oregon Coastal National Wildlife Refuge Complex. In addition to her many other duties, Rebecca has led the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge Coastal Prairie Restoration project from the beginning. She has managed all aspects of the project, transforming the refuge hillside from solid invasive grasses to a vibrant, diverse, and complex plant community supporting the listed Oregon Silverspot Butterfly.
*David Thomson, Restoration Ecologist, Newport Field Office. David works to facilitate habitat management of coastal meadows throughout the historic range of the Oregon Silverspot Butterfly, working with federal and state agencies, NGOs and private businesses to improve the resources available to land managers.
*Sam Derrenbacher, Wildlife Biologist, Newport Field Office. As the new Oregon Silverspot Butterfly lead biologist, she spends her time keeping an eye out for butterflies in Pacific Coast meadows and facilitating the vast network of organizations that manage, research, and captively rear them.
The Oregon Silverspot Butterfly (OSB) was federally listed as a threatened species in 1980. Although its historic range followed the coastline from Lake Earl, California to Westport, Washington, the current population inhabits less than 100 acres in just four locations in Oregon. Today, many federal, state, and private land partners work together to restore habitat and help this imperiled butterfly recover from the brink of extinction. The steps to restoring the imperiled butterfly’s habitat seem simple – secure the habitat, manage non-native and native plants to increase appropriate adult nectar and larval host plants, create the micro-climate conditions the butterfly needs to successfully complete its life cycle, release the species into the prepared habitat, and Voila! However, after 40 years of work it is clear that it’s not that simple. There are still many unknowns about the life history of the butterly and its habitat requirements – from what the larvae need for survival, to adult fitness in the face of climate change. And we are still figuring out how to feasibly manage the habitats they require. Without an understanding of these questions, OSB recovery is impossible. Current research has begun to answer a few of these questions, including (1) Adult behaviors and dispersal distances, (2) Female oviposition preference habitat, (3) Larval survival and micro-habitat requirements. With each of these life history questions answered, we can begin to understand the habitat quality and connectivity necessary for each life stage to be sure that our land management efforts are successful for the butterfly’s recovery.