WEAVING MORE BASKETS
We’ve all heard the expression “Don’t place all your eggs in one basket.” And when it comes to rare species conservation, that saying can ring especially true. When populations of animals are concentrated in just a few areas, they grow increasingly susceptible to catastrophic events—alteration of habitat, abrupt weather changes, or predation pressure—that can effectively wipe out a species.
Right now, the Island Marble Butterfly (Euchloe ausonides insulanus), a beautiful subspecies historically found in just a few locations in the Salish Sea, exists today only on San Juan Island. Recognizing the need to create additional “safe” areas for these butterflies to lay eggs, develop as larvae, and over-winter as a chrysalis, SJPT joined a team of local conservationists aimed at boosting the population. With funding from US Fish and Wildlife Service, SJPT plans to create new habitat patches on two Preservation Trust preserves and one Land Bank preserve to provide this struggling species with protected habitat that will allow it to live through its life cycle without disturbance. Creating these additional habitat patches will also reduce the risk of total extirpation should something catastrophic occur in the existing population…in a sense, spreading the eggs into more baskets.
For more information on this project, please contact Kathleen Foley, Stewardship Manager, at email@example.com.