|Native Big Blue with flowers on 8/24/2014.|
|Native Indian Grass with flowers on 8/24/2014.|
Then, about 3-4 weeks ago as Bob and I were driving down the highway, he almost drove off the road as we rounded a corner and I cried out in dismay. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The roadsides where I anticipated seeing the tall, beautiful native grasses weaved in amongst all the tall, seed-laden Common milkweed had been mowed down by MODOT. A broad swath of the roadside - 16’ wide up into the ditches and up the other side – had been closely clipped by a finish mower. There were less than 10 milkweed plants remaining in the whole 3 mile stretch. I was horrified. I was incensed.
|Monarch caterpillars on their native food - Common Milkweed.|
|Where there were at least 200+ milkweed plants, now there are only 6.|
|Approximately 200 milkweed plants mowed down along this stretch.|
At a time when environmentalists and even the President are warning us of the decline in the Monarch population (90 percent decline and now in the “near-threatened” category according to this article: http://biophiliccities.org/building-community-and-habitat-in-the-city-of-st-louis-through-milkweeds-for-monarchs-the-st-louis-butterfly-project/), MODOT is spending money on a program called “Roadside Beautification”, buying and scattering native seeds, at what I’m sure is a great cost to the taxpayers. Then, before the plants can complete their cycle, make their own seed heads, and scatter themselves naturally (at zero cost to the taxpayers), they mow it down, victims of the government, in the name of "beautification".
|100+ milkweed plants were mowed down through this stretch.|
Another similar story came across my desk (linked here: http://www.newtondailynews.com/2014/08/11/early-mowing-contributes-to-monarch-butterfly-decline/arkeeup/ )the next day and it made me wonder; how much of the decrease in the monarch population is being caused by this type of activity in the latter part of summer all across this country?
|Another 50+ plants mowed down through this stretch.|