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    Saint Croix

    National Scenic Riverway WI,MN

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Landscaping For Wildlife

February 16, 2012 Posted by: Ranger Dale Cox

In the summer, an artisit paints the native plant landscape outside and adjacent to the St. Croix River Visitor Center. NPS Photo "We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect." -Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

Understanding the delicate balance of nature is as easy as taking a walk along the riverbank of the St. Croix. The Riverway protects a thin ribbon of land and water 230 miles in length, or more than 460 miles of shoreline. It serves not only to provide recreation for current and future generations, but also as a corridor for wildlife to live and migrate through.

Several years ago when a new building was planned for the Riverway's headquarters and visitor center in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, it was decided to landscape the surrounding area with native plants. Although the area is small in size, choosing deep rooted native plants reduces run-off from rainfall, adds colorful wildflowers to attract native insects and birds, and minimizes costs for mowing and watering.

Similar simple landscaping techniques can be accomplished to make your own property more bird and butterfly friendly, reduce harm to the environment, and save you time and money with lower maintenance. On Saturday, February 18, Mike Zeckmeister, regional wildlife biologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' Northern Region, will provide information on how to create naturally beautiful settings that enhance wildlife habitat, whether you live in town or in the country.

"Landscaping for Wildlife" will be presented at 10:00 a.m. and then repeated at 1:00 p.m.Presentations are free and open to the public and take place at the St. Croix River Visitor Center, 401 North Hamilton Street, in St. Croix Falls.

In July, a camoflaged Ambush Bug lies in wait for other insects on a flowering pinkish purple Wild Bergamot. NPS Photo

wildflower, insect, native plant




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Did You Know?

What looks like a striped fish with several tails is actually the opening of the mussel shell which is hard to see.

Mussels rely on fish to carry their young around until they are old enough to drop to the river bottom. To attract the fish and attach their young, mussels put on displays that make fish think they are fish or other food. The mussel shell, which is all we normally see, is now barely visible.