This was recently posted to the Western Monarch List serve in response to the same post that Paul made There:
'Pollinator Conservation: Roadsides http://www.xerces.org/pollinator-conser ... roadsides/
With more than 10 million acres of land in roadsides in the United States alone, transportation rights-of-way are a significant, yet often overlooked, resource for pollinator conservation. In landscapes denuded of natural areas by large scale agriculture or urbanization, roadsides are an increasingly important component of regional habitat networks. They frequently support native vegetation, providing refuge for wildlife and connecting fragmented habitat. The wildlife living on roadsides touches communities in every state, province, and county of North America.
Pollinators and Roadsides: Managing Roadsides for Bees and Butterflies http://www.xerces.org/wp-content/upload ... ciety1.pdf
provides a concise overview of the conservation potential of roadside habitat and offers practical information on how to maximize the value of these areas for pollinators while meeting basic traffic safety requirements.
These guidelines synthesize the previous study of native bees in roadside rights-of-way conducted by Jennifer Hopwood, Xerces Society’s Midwest pollinator outreach coordinator. Jennifer’s research demonstrated that bees were twice as abundant on roadsides with native prairie vegetation than on those dominated by nonnative plants, and that native roadsides supported a third more bee species than roadsides with nonnative plants.
These findings are reinforced by studies from North America and Europe that consistently show that roadsides have a role to play in conserving bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects. Pollinators and Roadsides draws on these studies, as well as the experience of roadside managers, to identify ways in which current maintenance practices can be adapted to benefit pollinators."
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On Fri, Sep 17, 2010 at 10:58 AM, Paul Cherubini <email@example.com> wrote:
Some monarch enthusiasts and conservation organizations
seem to think that in the summer western monarch breed in
pretty, silent, peaceful mountain meadows and in wildlife refuges.
Example: The Xerces Society advises the public to: "Help
protect small natural areas that support milkweed patches."
In reality, western monarchs commonly breed in highly
disturbed, noisy habitats bustling with human activity
such as along roadsides just feet away from 18 wheel
semi-trucks, along railway lines just feet away from
passing locomotives and along the margins of agricultural
Yesturday I took a couple videos of two roadside speciosa
milkweed habitats about 50 miles east of Sacramento
in the Sierra foothills.
Here is one of the roadside patches at 2,450 feet elevation
(about 3 miles east of the town of Somerset) where I
was able to find four healthy monarch chrysalids
next to the passing traffic:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLgBYvUFSiM
Here is another small roadside clump of speciosa
at 1,750 feet elevation, along busy Mt. Aukum Road
(one mile south of the town of Somerset, Calif.) where
I found a newly emerged monarch clinging to its
empty chrysalis shell right next to passing traffic:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1zS2jtcABI
Here is another view of the same butterfly:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uu61vuj-E70
The take home lesson here is that breeding
(and overwintering) habitats that look aesthetically
unappealing to humans can nevertheless be highly
productive ones for the butterflies.
El Dorado, Calif.
Assistant Pollinator Program Director
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
Tel: 503-232-6639 Fax: 503-233-6794
Assistant Professor of Extension
University of Minnesota - Department of Entomology