2019 Wildlife Newsletter

Access digital copies of guides and regulations publications from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Issue link: http://digital.outdoornebraska.gov/i/1065272

Contents of this Issue


Page 1 of 7

Continued from page 1 is habitat loss and, in particular, the loss of milkweeds in Midwestern prairie ecosystems. Nebraska is home to seventeen different species of milkweeds that inhabit prairies, woodland, wetlands, and even disturbed areas such as roadsides. Widespread species in Nebraska include, common, whorled and swamp milkweed, while infrequent species include spider, green antelope-horn and butterfly milkweed. Although they are sometimes conspicuous plants, it is only recently that milkweeds have drawn public attention. Their decline in the breeding range of monarchs is closely linked to the decline of the butterflies arriving at their overwintering grounds. Restoring monarch populations will require managing habitats within its breeding range using methods that increase the abundance of milkweeds. In 2016, the Nebraska Monarch and Pollinator Initiative set the goal of providing 125 million new milkweed stems. To accomplish this goal, conservationists must first evaluate different land management practices to see how they impact milkweed abundance. Working for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and National Wildlife Federation, I recently completed a two- year study of 278 grasslands with different plant composition and management regimes. Results of the study showed that some prairie management techniques such as prescribed burning, invasive tree removal and seeding with a high diversity seed mix resulted in increased milkweed abundance and richness. Using the results of this and other studies, Nebraska conservationists hope to be pioneers in restoring milkweed habitat, which not only benefits monarchs, but also other pollinators and wildlife that share their habitats. ✔ Monarch caterpillar on a common milkweed plant. A botanical illustration of milkweed 19th century. PHOTO BY JEFF KURRUS 2 Milkweed...

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