Lanark County is taking strides to support and promote restoration of pollinator habitat through several initiatives, including its recent proclamation of the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge Day on June 26.
“Lanark County’s goal is to create diverse roadsides with an abundance of pollinator habitat through practices of planting flowers, seeding disturbed soil, improving maintenance practices and by participating in new projects aimed at improving pollinator habitat,” explained Michelle Vala, vegetation management intern.
The National Wildlife Federation Mayors’ Monarch Pledge is a way for municipalities to create habitat for the monarch butterfly and pollinators, and to show citizens how they can help. Municipalities taking part must commit to undertaking at least three of 25 action items within a year of taking the pledge. “Lanark County has already completed several activities contributing to pollinator habitat restoration,” Ms. Vala said. “Since we have completed more than eight actions, we would be recognized as part of the Leadership Circle.”
Among other activities planned this year is a multi-year project to convert about three acres of mowed grass on county property near the administration building to a pollinator patch. Planting of native seeds would be completed by county staff and available Canadian Wildlife (CWF) personnel. Consideration is being given to creating a pathway through the area to provide additional educational opportunities to the public. Lanark County is seeking volunteers to assist with this project.
On July 17 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Lanark County will host a free public information session about invasive plants, including wild parsnip and phragmites, as well as pollinator site restoration, monarch recovery efforts and how the public can get involved. Details about the session and how to register can be found at http://www.lanarkcounty.ca/Assets/Public+Works/June+26+Public+Information+Session.pdf.
The monarch butterfly population is declining and faces extinction due to habitat loss, broad-scale herbicide and pesticide use, and climate change. The county is part of the CWF’s new monarch butterfly recovery project in eastern Ontario through an Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant and in partnership with the National Capital Commission and Hydro One. Through this project, CWF is testing whether the creation of native meadows along roadsides and rights-of-way could successfully control wild parsnip, while restoring monarch butterfly habitat and reducing management costs.
“We encourage the public to come to our information session and to learn about these projects and ways they can help us to create or restore habitat that is friendly to pollinators, including the monarch butterfly,” said Janet Tysick, public works business manager.
“Through the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge, we have a chance to take a leadership role in eastern Ontario and to be a role model for other communities,” said Warden Richard Kidd (Beckwith Reeve). “I challenge other local officials across our beautiful county to take a stand with me so that the monarch butterfly will once again flourish across the continent.”