Oregon Silverspot Butterfly spurs seed cooperative

Building habitat for butterflies is one of the core missions of the South Sound Prairies program. Over time, CNLM has developed the infrastructure to do this efficiently.  In the South Sound, the focus has primarily been on the Taylor’s Checkerspot but other butterflies are reaping the benefits as well.  The Oregon Silverspot, like many rare butterflies, is dependent on a very specific host plant and has been greatly impacted by the loss of native wildflowers in general.  Recovery efforts require large quantities of seed for the early blue violet (Viola adunca) and several native nectar sources.  To both increase the likelihood of restoration success and maintain any co-evolution between this butterfly species and the flowers it depends on, it is important that the seed be sourced from the historic Oregon Silverspot habitat.

The early blue violet (Viola adunca)

With support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the seed farms run by CNLM are taking up this charge. We are producing seed for a dozen species needed to build Oregon Silverspot habitat.  But this is just the beginning - returning the Oregon Silverspot to its historic range means developing coastal bluff and mountain bald habitat spanning from the north coast of California to the Long Beach peninsula in southwest Washington.  CNLM is working with Oregon State Parks and the Institute for Applied Ecology to develop a coastal native seed cooperative that will supply this regional effort and support grassland restoration along the full coast of the Pacific Northwest.  As butterflies can act as the bellwether for the health of an ecosystem, they can also act as a vehicle for ecosystem restoration.

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