The Project’s multi-disciplinary Butterfly Habitat Enhancement Team (Team) and Technical Review Panel has designed and implemented restoration measures and enhancement strategies that have included basic and applied research to guide management decisions, identification of locations for treatments within sites, intensive restoration techniques (e.g., combined mowing, fire, and herbicide use for sites with extensive tracts of invasive vegetation), and enhancement at all sites by planting native grasses and native (and non-native) host plants and nectar sources. This last critical component has required careful allocation of scarce seed resources for direct-seeding and other propagation of native grasses and forbs and oversight of nursery operations.
Multiple sites are in various stages of restoration and enhancement. Captive rearing programs are successful, and efforts to re-introduce Taylor’s checkerspot have begun at some sites. No sites have identical environmental conditions, nor do they require the same set of restoration and enhancement treatments or management strategies to achieve their goal of providing suitable habitat for a stable butterfly population. The entire process is likely to provide continual challenges to even the best adaptive-management approach. Assessment metrics are required, however, to evaluate the success of habitat restoration and enhancement efforts and to gauge the
progress of the ACUB Taylor’s Checkerspot Habitat Project.
To begin to provide a suite of recommendations to guide the continued success of the Project, along with revised site-specific metrics, we interviewed ACUB conservation cooperators, their collaborators, and colleagues, asked them to prioritize research to advance scientific knowledge and to promote recovery of Taylor’s checkerspot, and synthesized their assessments of current knowledge and information gaps for improving habitat enhancement efforts and determination of site readiness for Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies in the South Puget Sound lowlands.
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