A new Nature Conservancy preserve along Pacific Coast Highway in Oregon will provide respite from coastal meadow development for the Oregon silverspot, The Oregonian reported recently.
The new Big Creek preserve – 193 acres purchased last spring for just over $4 million – supports the larval foodplant, early blue violet, and open ground for nectar sources. Historically, coastal meadow habitat like Big Creek was maintained by periodic burning by native Americans. Today, coastal meadows are under great pressure from from invasive species such as blackberry, spruce, and salal, in addition to residential development. The Conservancy’s management plan calls for aggressive removal of non-native species, the newspaper reports.
Big Creek, just north of Florence, originally was slated as the site of nuclear power plant until voters turned the project down. The parcel remained zoned for resort development, however. Meanwhile, federal authorities listed the Oregon silverspot as threatened under the Endangered Species Act; the butterfly is now known from only three locations other than Big Creek. The deal came together this year with funding from the Nature Conservancy and from Oregon’s lottery. The habitat also supports northern spotted owl, Pacific salmon, and marbled murrelet in addition to the silverspot.
Read the full story in the Dec. 11 Oregonian: 2009 Dec 11 The Oregonian_Oregon silverspot