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Monarch butterfly found in Missouri. Photo courtesy of Bill Bumgarner/Creative Commons.

Monarch butterfly found in Missouri. Photo courtesy of Bill Bumgarner/Creative Commons.

Missouri Cares for Monarchs

Ever since Missouri became aware of the monarch butterfly’s decline, Missourians have been interested in reversing the trend. In 2015, The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced grants awarded through the 2015 Monarch Conservation Fund. The Service’s Missouri Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program has been awarded a portion of the funds to restore Missouri’s grasslands on both national wildlife refuge lands and private lands along the Interstate-35 corridor – this corridor has been dubbed the Monarch Flyway because monarchs generally follow this trajectory as they migrate to and from their wintering grounds in Mexico.

With significant declines in prairie habitat and precipitous declines in monarch butterflies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is taking on the extraordinary challenge of quickly assessing conservation needs and engaging partners to improve and restore monarch habitats. Monarchs need native milkweeds for breeding and survival during the pupae stages of life and flowering plants that produce nutritious nectar for migration. The Service works with public and private landowners to restore, enhance and protect fish, wildlife and their habitats as part of its mission. Kelly Srigley Werner, the State Coordinator for the Service’s Missouri Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program has been working with private landowners to restore native prairie and wetland habitat in Missouri since 1992. Srigley Werner is coordinating with others regarding how her Monarch Conservation Fund grant will be leveraged to best restore monarch and prairie habitat.

“I think the value in this grant from the Monarch Conservation Fund is that it targets public and private lands. It will help our refuge system conserve monarchs, but it will also help us collaborate with our conservation partners to work with voluntary private landowners to conserve monarchs,” said Srigley Werner. “By restoring habitat on both private and public lands, even more monarchs will benefit.”

Over the next few months, Srigley Werner and her team of biologists will review historic prairie data, collaborate and plan with conservation partners such as Pheasants and Quail Forever, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s – Natural Resource Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency, the Missouri Departments of Conservation and Natural Resources, local Soil and Water Conservation Districts and many other organizations to effectively increase monarch habitat surrounding the Monarch Flyway. This restoration effort is a big deal for Missouri because over 90 percent of land is privately owned making it critical to collaborate and partner with voluntary private landowners. Spring is around the corner and will kick off the field season when Srigley Werner and her armada of conservation partners will put their boots on the ground working closely with landowners to make a difference for monarch habitat.

“If you help the monarch, you’re helping a whole suite of other species. You’re helping grassland birds, bees, other pollinators and wildlife in general. I think for us, this is the beauty of the project,” said Srigley Werner. “It will help us help landowners support a myriad of Missouri’s wildlife.”

To learn more about the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program visit their website.

To learn more about Missouri's efforts to restore monarch habitat visit: Newsy Saving the Migration

To learn more about the Save the Monarch initiative visit our website.

By Alejandro Morales and Joanna Gilkeson
Regional Office – External Affairs

Last updated: June 8, 2020