Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Honeybee on butterfly milkweed on June 30, 2009

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of honeybee on milkweed on June 30, 2009, at World Peace Wetland Prairie.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Butterfly gardens easy to grow in the black, rich soil of the Illinois River valley and the Town Branch vallley of Fayetteville, Arkansas

Please click on image to ENlarge view of obedient plant on Pinnacle Foods Inc. Prairie west of World Peace Wetland Prairie on June 19, 2009, a big non-native pink flower whose name I can't remember at the moment at the entry to the trail through Pinnacle Prairie and a butterfly milkweed near WPWP.

Butterfly gardens can be grown throughout the
United States. There is a wide variety of both butterfly
attracting (nectar) plants and host (food) plants cover-
ing climates zones throughout the country.
Creating a Garden
Gardens can range in size from containers to sever-
al acres. Butterflies like sunny sites and areas sheltered
from high winds and predators. Warm, sheltered sites
are most needed in the spring and fall. Butterflies are
cold-blooded insects that can only fly well when their
body temperatures are above 70oF. They are often seen
resting on rocks, which reflect the heat of the sun help-
ing to raise their body temperatures, so be sure to
include some rocks in your garden. It’s also beneficial
to have partly shady areas, like trees or shrubs, so they
can hide when it’s cloudy or cool off if it’s very hot.
Plants that attract butterflies are usually classified
as those that areafood source,anectar source or both.
Butterflies require food plants for their larval stages and
nectar plants for the adult stage. Some larvae feed on
specifichost plants, while others will feed on a variety
of plants. If possible, include both larval host plants
and adult nectar plants in your butterfly garden.
Butterflies also like puddles. Males of several
species congregate at small rain pools, forming “puddle
clubs”. Permanent puddles are very easy to make by
buryingabucket to therim, filling it with gravel or
sand, and then pouring in liquids such as stale beer,
sweet drinks or water. Overripe fruit, allowed to sit for
afew days is a very attractive substance to butterflies
as well!
Life Cycle of A Butterfly
Butterflies go through a four-stage developmental
process known as metamorphosis (egg, larva or caterpil-
lar, pupa or chrysalis and adult). Understanding a but-
terfly’s life cycle can make butterfly watching more
enjoyable, andthis knowledge is an important asset to
those who want to understand the principles of attract-
ingbutterflies to their gardens.
Butterflies begin their life as an egg, laid either
singly or in clusters depending on the species. A very
tiny caterpillar emerges and, after consuming its egg
shell, begins feeding on its host plant. Caterpillars must
crawl out of their skin or molt, usually around five times,
before changing into a pupa. Finally, an adult butterfly
emerges, spreads its wings and flies away.
Butterflies typically lay their eggs in late spring and
hatch 3 to 6 days after they are laid. It takes 3 to 4
weeks for a caterpillar to pupate and 9 to 14 days to
emerge as an adult.
Host Plants
Adult female butterflies spend time searching for
food plants required by the immature caterpillar stage.
Most butterflies have specific host plants on which they
develop. For example, caterpillars of the monarch but-
terfly develop only on milkweed, while the black swal-
lowtail feeds only on parsley, dill and closely related
plants. Planting an adequate supply of the proper host
plants gives butterflies a place to lay their eggs, which
will successfully hatch and result in butterflies that will
continue to visit thegarden. Providing the necessary
food plants for the developing caterpillars also allows
production of a “native” population that can be
observed in all stages ofdevelopment.
To enjoy adult butterflies, you have to be willing to
allow their caterpillars to feed on foliage in your garden.
Food source plants that support caterpillars include the
annual marigold, snapdragon and violet; the perennial
butterfly milkweed, daisy and various herbs; the ash,
birch, cherry, dogwood, poplar and willow trees; lilac
shrubs; juniper evergreens and more.
The weediness of some host plants makes them less
than desirable for a space within your more attractive
garden beds, but they serve the same function if you
place them away in a corner of the yard. To keep them
from becoming invasive, remember to remove their
spentblooms before they go to seed.
Plants to Attract Butterflies
To attract the most butterflies, design a garden
that provides a long season of flowers (nectar plants).
The time of flowering, duration of bloom, flower color
and plant size are all important considerations when
selecting plants to attract butterflies. A wide variety of
food plants will give the greatest diversity of visitors.
Choose a mixture of annuals and perennials.
Annuals bloom all summer but must be replanted every
spring (after the last frost). Perennials bloom year after
year from the same roots but their blooming periods are
typically limited to a few weeks or months. To ensure
the availability of nectar sources throughout the sum-
mer, long-blooming annuals should be planted between
the perennials.
Try staggering wild and cultivated plants, as well as
blooming times of the day and year. Planting in mass
(several plants of the same kind) will usually attract
more butterflies, as there is more nectar available to
them at a single stop. Plants with clusters of flowers
are often better than plants with small, single flowers
because it is easier for butterflies to landon clustered
and/or larger flowers.
Many plants which attract butterflies, especially
trees and shrubs, may already be present in a specific
area. Shrubs include azalea, spirea, butterfly bush and
lilacs. Although weeds andsomenative plants are gen-
erally not welcomein a garden, allowingthem to grow
under supervision may be an option, as these plants
help attract butterflies. Try to avoid plants that readily
reseed and may take over and dominate garden sites.
Perennials, such as chives, dianthus, beebalm, but-
terfly weed, mints, black-eyed susan and purple cone-
flower offer a succession of blooms, other perennials
include coreopsis, lavender, phlox, sedum and yarrow.
Add annuals that flower all season, such as cosmos, lan-
tana, pentas,petunias, phlox, salvia and zinnias. Select
flowers with manysmall tubular flowers or florets like
liatris, goldenrod and verbena. Or chose those with sin-
gle flowers, such as marigold, daisy and sunflower.
Butterflies are attracted to flowers with strong
scents and bright colors, where they drink sweet energy-
rich nectar. Planting a variety of nectar sources will
encourage more butterflies to visit the garden.
For better butterfly viewing, plant the tallest
plants in the rear of the garden and work smaller or
shorter towardthefront.
Creating, Growing and Enjoying
Butterfly Host Plants(continued)
Trees Herbs
Ash Dill
Birch Parsley
Cherry Sweet Fennel
Butterfly Attracting Plants
Annuals Perennials
Ageratum Aster
Cosmos Beebalm
Gomphrena Blanket Flower
Heliotrope Butterfly Milkweed
Lantana Coreopsis
Marigold Daisy
Nasturtium Dame’s Rocket
Nicotiana Daylily
Pentas Dianthus
Petunia Liatris
Phlox Phlox
Salvia Purple Coneflower
Snapdragon Rudbeckia
Statice Russian Sage
Sunflower Salvia
Sweet Alyssum Scabiosa
Verbena Sedum
Zinnia Veronica
Shrubs Herbs
Azalea Catnip
Butterfly Bush Chives
Lilacs Lavender
Mock Orange Mint
Cut Back on Insecticides
It’s difficult to have a successful butterfly garden
inalocation where insecticides are used. Pesticides,
specifically insecticides, kill not only the insects you
want to get rid of – they also kill the insects you want
tokeep, such as monarch caterpillars. Even biological
controls such as Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) will kill but-
terfly larvae. When treating for insect pests, always
consider non-chemical methods of pest control before
turning to pesticides.
Let Your Garden Grow
Most butterfly species over-winter nearby. This
means that their eggs, chrysalises, or larvae are likely to
be in or near your yard during the non-gardening
months. Some will even hibernate as adults. Do not
mow weed sites, cut down dead plants or dismantle
woodpiles which provide them safe shelter in the off-
season until the weather warms up.
Enjoying Your Butterfly Garden
Butterfly gardens are a great source of enjoyment
for everyone. Visiting butterflies include a variety of
different species and names, depending upon the region
of the country in which you live. To learn more about
which plants help in attracting butterflies get your copy
of National Wildlife Federation Attracting Birds,
Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife by David
Mizejewski or the Earl May Perennial Guideavailable at
your local Earl May Nursery & Garden Center.
Butterfly Host Plants
Annuals Perennials
Marigold Butterfly Milkweed
Snapdragon Daisy
Shrubs Evergreens
Lilacs Juniper
IBM# 912600 750 4/08
Copyright Earl May Seed & Nursery L.C. ©

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Corps of Engineers goes against good science still again

All Trees Near Levees Face Army Corps' Ax
Tuesday 09 June 2009
by: The Associated Press | Visit article original @ The Associated Press

Workers with the Army Corps of Engineers cut trees along the 17th Street Canal levee in New Orleans. (Photo: Ted Jackson / The Times-Picayune)
Policy aimed at protecting levees draws fire from locals.

Columbia, Louisiana - The Army Corps of Engineers is on a mission to chop down every tree in the country that grows within 15 feet of a levee - including oaks and sycamores in Louisiana, willows in Oklahoma and cottonwoods in California.

The corps is concerned that the trees' roots could undermine barriers meant to protect low-lying communities from catastrophic floods like the ones caused by Hurricane Katrina.

An Associated Press survey of levee projects nationwide shows that the agency wants to eliminate all trees along more than 100,000 miles of levees. But environmentalists and some civil engineers insist the trees pose little or no risk and actually help stabilize levee soil.

Thousands of trees have been felled already, though corps officials did not have a precise number of how many will be cut.

The corps has "this body of decades of experience that says you shouldn't have trees on your levees," said Eric Halpin, the agency's special assistant for dam and levee safety.

The saws are buzzing despite the outcry from people who say the trees are an essential part of fragile river and wetland ecosystems.

County Official Opposes

"The literature on the presence of vegetation indicates that it may actually strengthen a levee," said Andrew Levesque, senior engineer for King County, Wash., where the corps wants trees removed on the six rivers considered vital to salmon populations.

The anti-tree policy arose from criticism directed at the corps after Katrina breached levees in New Orleans in 2005. The agency promised to get tough on levee managers and improve flood protection.

In 2006, the corps began sending hundreds of letters to levee districts across the nation, ordering them to cut down "unwanted woody vegetation," a prospect that could cost many of the districts millions of dollars each in timber-clearing expenses.

Inspectors began an inventory of the levee system and told districts to fill in animal burrows, repair culverts and patch up erosion.

If they fail to comply, the agencies risk higher flood insurance premiums and a loss of federal funding.

"The corps' new edict was regarded as a major change in policy," said Ronald Stork, senior policy expert with California Friends of the River in Sacramento. "Something that is cheap and inexpensive is a chain saw. It was something to do that didn't cost a lot of money that made you feel better."

Resistance in Louisiana

Last summer, the cutting crews came to Columbia, La., on the wooded Ouachita River levee at Breston Plantation, an 18th-century French colonial estate.

The plantation is surrounded by sycamores, live oaks, elms, pines, cedars, magnolias and crepe myrtles. Hundreds of trees grow within 15 feet of the levee. In theory, they would all have to go.

But after months of negotiations with landowners and the Tensas Basin Levee District, the corps agreed to let the district chop down only a few dozen trees on the levee.

"We don't know how long the trees have been here, but they've never caused any problem up until now," said Hugh Youngblood, 61, whose ancestors came to Breston in the 1800s.

On a recent afternoon, his son, who is also named Breston, was upset as he walked the levee, pointing to a heap of limbs.

"They didn't even find a buyer for the wood or the pulp," the son said.

In 2007, the corps sought to clear oaks, cottonwoods, willows and other vegetation from 1,600 miles of levees in California's Central Valley. But state wildlife officials complained that the policy would destroy habitat, and residents in Sacramento and elsewhere objected that it would have turned rivers into little more than barren culverts.

The corps eventually dropped the idea.

In a neighborhood north of Sacramento, the corps plans to rebuild the levees surrounding a basin that is home to 70,000 people and has determined that 900 trees, mostly native valley oaks, must be cut down.

Experts outside the corps say a tree has never caused a U.S. levee failure.

"If trees are a problem, why aren't we having problems with them?" said George Sills, who formerly worked for the corps' Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, Miss. "There's never been a documented problem with a tree."

Expert Complained to Corps

In a March 2008 e-mail, Sills told the corps to remove his name from an updated vegetation policy paper he worked on for the corps. He said he ran analyses for the corps "that looked at the possibility that the trees caused any of the (levee) failures in New Orleans" and "it was determined that trees did not lead to any of these failures."

Corps officials see it differently.

Halpin, the corps' dam and levee expert, said the agency does not know whether a tree has ever directly caused a levee failure. But he noted that dam failures have been linked to trees, including a 1970's collapse in Georgia that claimed 39 lives.

The corps also wants to get rid of trees for safety reasons. A treeless levee is easier to inspect and repair during a flood.

But none of that washes with local authorities whose levees are being targeted by the corps.

"This is something they've dreamed up. It's like they're hell-bent to write up some negative reports," said Frank Keith, levee commissioner of the Tulsa County Drainage District in Oklahoma, where levees contain the Arkansas River.

Some 230 miles of levees in Keith's district got an "unacceptable rating" in December 2007, and the district faced losing its federal accreditation in part because of tree growth. The district is working with landowners to cut trees and fix other problems the corps found with its levees.

The carping frustrates Larry Larson, executive director of the Association of State Floodplain Managers, a group based in Madison, Wis., that represents interests such as insurers and engineers.

"If you're going to have a levee, you have to be able to maintain a levee and make it safe," Larson said.

Others are skeptical.

In Portland, Ore., residents of the Bridgeton neighborhood on the Columbia River lost a legal fight in 2007 to retain cottonwoods and poplars. About 90 trees were cut down at a cost of $268,000, though the corps planted 255 others nearby.

"They don't care if that's good science," resident Walter Valenta said. "It is their policy."


This is a moderated forum. It may take a little while for comments to go live. Be civil and on-topic, don't threaten or advocate violence, please keep it under 300 words. Thanks for participating.

The Army Corps of Engineers,
Thu, 06/11/2009 - 02:17 — Anonymous (not verified)
The Army Corps of Engineers, doing what it does best- destruction, under the guise of "protection". The history of the Corps of Engineers is replete with similar instances of ill-considered and thoughtless stupidity.
"Halpin, the corps' dam and
Thu, 06/11/2009 - 02:08 — John DK (not verified)
"Halpin, the corps' dam and levee expert, said the agency does not know whether a tree has ever directly caused a levee failure. But he noted that dam failures have been linked to trees, including a 1970's collapse in Georgia that claimed 39 lives. " Dams are usually built of concrete, which resists penetration of tree roots until nature finally overcomes and the concrete starts to crack. Tree roots bind earth-works into an integral, living mass: - Natures version of reinforced concrete. Take a look at the world's mud-slide disasters, most of these were caused by de-forestisation.
"Corpses" of engineers is
Thu, 06/11/2009 - 01:14 — dtroutma (not verified)
"Corpses" of engineers is more applicable. While tree roots can do a number on sidewalks, or levees- the corps is responsible for much of the flooding in the midwest with their "protection" projects. Channeling flows is their favorite project, even when they aim the channels directly at freeways, which during flooding they didn't project, wipe out the freeways. The corps has probably cost more, and caused more damage, than any other "federal" agency.
Army Corps of Engineers?
Thu, 06/11/2009 - 00:02 — Regina (not verified)
Army Corps of Engineers? What engineers? What are their qualifications? Where did they get degrees, and what degrees did they get? Do they have Professional Engineers' ratings? Trees are known to stabilize soil. New Orleans was a fiasco of engineering errors, and still is, under the Corps of Alleged Engineers.
A sad example of "quick fix"
Wed, 06/10/2009 - 23:03 — Anonymous (not verified)
A sad example of "quick fix" reasoning that will only make matters worse. Taking out all these trees will cause FAR greater problems than it will cure, including the most obvious problem of all: erosion of the levees in storm and high water conditions. Some kind of Orwellian insanity has taken hold. I can't believe this is even being considered. Since when does removing the bones from a body help it stand up straighter??

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

West Fork Watershed Celebration and River Cleanup set for Saturday June 13, 2009

For details, call Frances Hime at 225-1611
West Fork Watershed Celebration & River Cleanup on June 13
For immediate release -- June 3, 2009
The 4th annual West Fork Watershed Celebration and River Cleanup will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 13, at Riverside Park, on Arkansas 170 in downtown West Fork. Volunteers will check in from 8-9:30 a.m. at the park, then fan out to stations along the river and clean up targeted areas. The cleanup will end at 11 a.m., when a free chicken lunch will be served to the first 150 people. Door-prize drawings are scheduled for noon. In addition, there will be live music and educational booths. Volunteers may pre-register by calling 225-1611 or 444-1916. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Cleanup participants will be required to sign up and complete liability forms. These forms may be downloaded and completed in advance. Just visit www.wfepa.org. Volunteers also may show up that day at 8 a.m. and register on site.
The West Fork of the White River flows into Beaver Lake, which is our supply of drinking water. Each year, a cleanup of our river is conducted as part of protecting our source of safe drinking water and protecting wildlife habitat.
The event is being coordinated by the West Fork Environmental Protection Association. Sponsors and partners include the Watershed Conservation Resource Center, the City of Fayetteville, the City of West Fork, Kiwanis Club, Audubon Arkansas, Washington County Environmental Affairs, the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, Arkansas Stream Team, Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, Arvest Bank, Bank of Fayetteville, Tyson Foods, the Arkansas Canoe Club, and Beaver Water District.
For details, call 225-1611 or visit www.wfepa.org