Monarch Conservancy Efforts Continue
In 2017, Marshfield Utilities (MU) partnered with the City of Marshfield Wastewater Division to create a monarch conservation project. The optimal location for a planting site was deemed to be at the wastewater treatment plant. “Because the wastewater plant treats the water all naturally, it works well to promote the pollinator project with natural prairie flowers”, stated Sam Warp, Wastewater Treatment Plant Superintendent. The wastewater site was planted with a variety of flowering plants, wildflower seeds, and milkweed seeds and plants which are critical to the survival of monarch butterflies. Warp estimates that approximately 40 tours are given yearly at the wastewater plant which provides a great opportunity to showcase the new garden.
With the first garden established, the team decided to continue the efforts and plant an additional garden. Several sites were evaluated, but ultimately an overgrown rain garden at Griese Park was selected. The rain garden was originally put in through the efforts of the Marshfield Groundwater Guardians, which shares several members with the monarch conservancy group. “Over the years the rain garden became unmanageable, bringing this garden back to life will be both aesthetically pleasing and educational”, says Cathy Lotzer who was a member of the original planting team and the current monarch conservancy group. “The park has so many visitors it will be great to spread the word about the project”, shares Lotzer. Through the efforts of MU, the City of Marshfield’s Wastewater Division and Parks & Recreation Department, and the Marshfield Groundwater Guardians the garden is on the way to becoming vibrant once again.
The need for monarch conservation efforts is growing. Wisconsin is part of the monarch butterfly summer breeding area. In recent years the monarch butterfly population has been plummeting. Many factors have been thought to contribute to the declining numbers of monarchs including summer breeding habitat, largely in the Midwest, being destroyed by agriculture process changes and land development. The hope is for cities and municipalities across the country to help play a role in the conservation efforts like Marshfield. “We are thrilled to be able to help this important initiative and look forward to seeing the gardens develop”, said Lotzer. The first garden has also been designated as a Certified Wildlife Habitat® through the National Wildlife Federation and is now part of the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, a national effort to create a million gardens that provide habitat for declining pollinator insects, like butterflies and bees.
Griese Park Photos
Griese Park rain garden prior to clean up completed last fall in preparation for this spring.
Planting day... everyone working hard.