Newsroom Midwest Region

Service partners with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through the Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund

October 5, 2017

Resting monarch butterfly. Photo by Courtney Celley/USFWS.
Resting monarch butterfly. Photo by Courtney Celley/USFWS.

Today, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation released its grant slate for this year’s Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund. The Fund awarded 23 grants for $3.7 million with an additional $5.8 in matching contributions, generating more than $9 million for conservation. Of those awarded, several projects highlight our work and the work of our partners.

“The Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund delivers tremendous support through partnership-focused conservation efforts to ensure a future filled with monarchs,” said Greg Sheehan, Principal Deputy Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “The 2017 grants will enable us, our partners, and the public to continue providing on-the-ground results that are vital for this species that is so important in our native ecosystems as well as to thousands of farmers who rely on pollinators to help provide food to the citizens of America.”

The Foundation’s Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund is a public-private partnership between us, Monsanto, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. This is the third year the Fund has awarded projects.

The 2017 awards will support efforts that increase the quality, quantity and connectivity of monarch breeding and overwintering habitat and enhance organizational capacity. Collectively, this year these projects will:

  • Restore and enhance more than 43,000 acres
  • Collect more than 2,800 pounds of milkweed and other native forb seed
  • Propagate 131,000 native plant seedlings
  • Host approximately 210 workshops or webinars

Service recipients awarded in this year’s funding cycle include:

Utilizing Prescribed Fire to Enhance Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Central Texas

Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge and the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program will conduct prescribed burning to enhance monarch habitat on 7,000 acres of public and private lands. These programs have a history of working cooperatively with private landowners in central Texas to effectively use prescribed fire as a grassland habitat management tool. This project directly improves the quality of habitat benefitting breeding and migrating monarch butterflies.

Expanding Monarch Butterfly Habitat Connectivity in Minnesota and Iowa

Five national wildlife refuges and wetland management districts will join eight non-federal partners to significantly increase the diversity of prairie plant species on permanently protected grassland sites. Throughout Minnesota and Iowa, this public-private partnership is creating a corridor of habitat for monarch butterflies and other migratory species by restorating and enhancing more than 450 acres of habitat and enhancing public educational opportunities.

Eastern North Dakota Monarch Butterfly Habitat Restoration

Through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, private landowners are working with us to restore and enhance monarch butterfly breeding habitat on their lands. This project will impact 600 acres in eastern North Dakota through seeding a diverse mix of regionally appropriate native forbs, including milkweed and grasses as well as implementation of rotational grazing systems on 5,660 acres.

Enhancing Monarch Habitat on Private Land in Texas

With more than 95 percent of Texas land in private ownership, working with voluntary landowners on conservation challenges is essential. This project will enhance more than 8,000 acres of monarch butterfly habitat on private lands. The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program will offer financial and technical assistance to implement habitat projects beneficial to monarchs, other pollinators, and grassland dependant species.

Highlighted here are a few recipients that include us as a partner:

Restoring Overwintering and Breeding Habitat for the Monarch Butterfly's Western Population

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is leading a myriad of stakeholders across the western range of monarchs to restore and enhance priority habitats, specifically in the state of California. This project involves multiple public and private partners, including us, to combine efforts to focus on restoration and protection of coastal overwintering habitat and enhancement of more than 600 acres of breeding habitat across the Central Valley.

Restoring Native Prairie Habitat for Monarch Butterflies

Prairie Pothole Partners and Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge Complex, in partnership with other conservation organizations, will convert 200 acres of agricultural land within the refuge complex in southeastern North Dakota to a high diversity prairie community for monarchs and other pollinators. Additionally, partners will collect 50 pounds of native forbs including four species of milkweed to use in the restoration.

Monarch Butterfly Flyway Restoration

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation will continue and expand the habitat corridor restoration work across the state of Iowa. The Iowa Butterfly Flyway was initiated in 2015 by coordinating a series of restoration projects in central Iowa. Working with public and private partners, including our Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, the project aims to enhance 500 acres of habitat across the Iowa Wetland Management District and along the I-380 corridor by planting diverse milkweed and nectaring species.

See the full award announcement and project descriptions (PDF)