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Save wildlife; stop mowing the roadsides

Published: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 1:15 a.m. CST
(Jim Dunn/jdunn@saukvalley.com)
Milkweed and other plants grow along a rural roadside in eastern Lee County.

IDOT, Lee County road crews, township road crews, and Lee County farmers, in dealing with rural roadside grassland and ditches this time of year, kill wildlife and wildlife habitats by the thousands of acres throughout the county.

These roadside grasslands and ditches are where the majority of beautiful game birds nest and birth. When the highway or farmer’s mowers go by, they smash the eggs and decapitate the heads of already-hatched pheasants, wild turkeys, quail and grouse. This is senseless killing, as these areas have no business being mowed.

What else happens when farmers and highway crews mow? They cut down thousands of milkweed. Milkweed is the favorite food for the monarch butterfly, and the plant they use to lay their eggs. We cut them down, for why?

Finally, by cutting down all the native wildflowers in these rural areas, it means they cannot reseed and thus do not continue spreading year after year. These wildflowers provide needed nectar to butterflies, hummingbirds, and the diminishing honey bee population.

Lee County could make history by passing the first no-mowing ordinance in Illinois. All mowing of roads really does is provide summer work for highway crews and bored farmers at the expense of a very dynamic yet fragile ecosystem.

Please look my petition up at Change.Org and please sign it.

Do it to stop the slaughter of pheasant, quail, wild turkey and grouse eggs and babies.

And do it to save the monarch butterflies and beautiful wildflowers plump full of natural nectar needed by so many creatures that make rural Lee County home.

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