Big Arm

Date Posted:
Sep 11, 2020, 04:03 AM
Big Arm

Since finding showy milkweed seeds in the Flathead Valley is proving difficult, the focus has shifted to searching for showy milkweed in the wild. Hopefully documenting where it can be found here will help monarch researchers, since little information exists about this area. After finding a patch on the southern end of Swan Lake, the past two days of bicycle explorations have yielded no milkweed. It seems that the ditches and roadsides here are too shaded, too dry, and/or too overgrown with invasive grasses. Local foragers say that milkweed is somewhat rare in this area. Gravel beaches along rivers and lakes seem to offer the best combination of sun, water, and good soil drainage. However, many of these areas have been developed, and Flathead Lake's hydrology has been altered by dams on the Flathead River. It is easy to see why the monarchs are in decline -- logging, agriculture, hydroelectric power, and real estate development have all combined to alter the land, fragmenting and destroying habitat. The bicycle search will resume tomorrow, focusing on a purported milkweed sighting near Yellow Bay. A watercraft may be a better mode of transportation for this search...

-Comrade Caracol