This week I got to table during a Bio-Blitz at Cascade Head Marine Reserve! The public had the opportunity to help out by being part of this citizen science event with the use of the iNaturalist app. Many people had not previously used this app before so volunteers were around showing people how to upload pictures and how to make identifications of organisms. The tide pools at the Cascade Head Marine Reserve are very diverse so the people at the event were very excited to see different organisms they had never seen before that were identified by the various volunteers. At the table, I was telling people about shorebirds and the things people could do to help protect them like use less plastic and leaving no trace when visiting natural areas. Being able to help people get involved in their local events like the Bio-Blitz was great!
Later in the week, I was able to help out at another fish salvage. This was a bigger project with other organizations involved to help out. When there is a lot of fish to move, sometimes electrofishing has to be done which is when electricity is used to stun the fish so they can be captured more easily. Fish salvages are extremely important because they minimize the impact on aquatic species by removing fish from construction areas and releasing them downstream with minimal handling. In this area, we found many different organisms including sculpin, coho salmon, giant California salamanders, and even a young lamprey! Being part of this event was incredible because we got the opportunity to save many different organisms.
I was also able to give an interpretive presentation on the Oregon silverspot butterfly to the Northwest Youth Corps this week! Although most of my talks and presentations have been on threatened birds, the Oregon silverspot butterfly is another threatened species I was excited to talk about.
The Oregon silverspot butterfly was historically found at 17 sites ranging from southern Washington to northern California, but due to different threats, now only 5 sites are left with viable silverspot populations. Here in the Hebo Ranger District, we are lucky enough to have the largest population left that is healthy and reproducing on Mt. Hebo. This population has been able to remain strong because of the maintenance that has been done in the meadows. Without maintenance, the meadows these butterflies live in would eventually be overtaken by the forest, leaving only scattered meadow microsites. These butterflies, however, rely on both a meadow complex and an adjacent forest fringe, so finding a balance when it comes to the maintenance is important. Another key factor in the reproduction of the Oregon silverspot butterfly is the early blue violet (Viola adunca) which is the butterfly’s host plant. Host plants are important because they are the only food source for the larvae once they hatch.
Since the Northwest Youth Corps was doing maintenance in the meadows of Mt. Hebo, getting to share this information with them was exciting because they could see what all their hard work was going towards. I was even able to find pictures of previous youth corps groups helping out and doing similar work! The work these students were able to accomplish was extremely helpful and beneficial to the Oregon silverspot butterfly. Without the help of the citizens, a lot of this work would not get done so it is important to help people get involved!