Newsroom Midwest Region

Supporting monarch partner conservation

July 10, 2017

Monarch caterpillar in Minnesota. Photo courtesy of Kris Radcliffe.
Monarch caterpillar in Minnesota. Photo courtesy of Kris Radcliffe.

Monarch Joint Venture recently announced their 2017-2018 partner conservation projects. They allocated $100,000 to support actions outlined in the 2017 Monarch Conservation Implementation Plan. With this funding, 14 projects were identified that will support monarch habitat conservation and restoration, education and outreach, and research and monitoring across the United States.

“We’re happy to be able to provide strategic funding for partners to make progress toward our nation’s monarch conservation goals, and are proud to have been able to offer this support to our partners throughout MJV’s existence,” says Wendy Caldwell, Monarch Joint Venture Coordinator.

Being a Monarch Joint Venture partner has leveraged our pollinator conservation actions. Through their support we have amplified milkweed production, closed gaps in research and increased citizen participation.

“We are thrilled to continue our work with MJV across the nation amplifying restoration efforts to reverse the decline of monarch butterfly population,” says Tom Melius, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Regional Director.

The Monarch Conservation Implementation Plan, updated annually by the Monarch Joint Venture partnership, identifies priority actions for monarch conservation in the U.S. These priorities inform funding decisions each year, as well as the collaborative nature of proposed projects.

Examples of funded projects include:

Building Habitat for Monarchs

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will construct a greenhouse to increase local production of native milkweeds and other forbs in partnership with the Service, the Iowa DNR Parks Bureau, and the Iowa Department of Corrections.  Plants will be started in the greenhouse with guidance from staff at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge. Seed production plots will be cultivated by inmates with oversight from Iowa DNR parks staff.This greenhouse will be capable of producing over 20,000 plugs per year, including milkweed species such as Asclepias verticillata and Asclepias tuberosa as well as many additional native nectar species for monarchs. This project will help the Iowa DNR’s Prairie Resource Center become a self sustaining seed source for their own, and local partner, monarch habitat restorations!

Integrated Vegetation Management on Pipeline Rights-of-way and Habitat Conservation Potential

Rights-of-way, roadsides, and other neglected but importantly ubiquitous landscape features offer unique potential with regard to monarch and pollinator conservation and comprise roughly 12 million acres nationwide. Vegetation management within rights-of-way is required to maintain corridors with minimal safety hazards for the utility. The Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative is in the second year of a project to study the impacts of varying management practices in pipeline rights-of-way to inform how utilities can cost-effectively implement monarch and pollinator friendly management practices on their wide ranging lands.

Partnering to expand the accessibility of the Monarch Conservation Science Partnership Monitoring Strategy in the western U.S.

The Monarch Conservation Science Partnership, a collaborative of scientists and conservation professionals from academia, NGOs and federal and state agencies, has developed an Integrated Monitoring Strategy to track monarchs and their habitat using a spatially balanced sampling design. Information gathered with this strategy will support continued development of Partnership models and tools that yield conservation recommendations. Furthermore, data collected over the long term will help track long-term population status and trends and aid in evaluating the effectiveness of conservation actions. To date, Partnership analyses have focused on setting population and habitat targets, modeling threats, and developing conservation recommendations for monarchs in the eastern U.S., and have been tested in the east. Recognizing that western monarchs have unique life history characteristics and biogeographical differences, a Western Partnership convened last year, and is receiving funding from the Monarch Joint Venture to evaluate and improve the applicability of Partnership protocols for western monarchs.

Missouri Monarch Butterfly Habitat Education Campaign for Private Landowners

Missourians for Monarchs is a statewide collaborative bringing diverse interests together for monarch conservation. In this project, the coalition is working on reaching out to three audiences in Missouri to bring about landscape level conservation: agricultural producers and farmers, the general public, and conservation organizations. They are developing three different videos tailored to each group, to be distributed online and on DVD. Through these videos, the coalition seeks to educate landowners and affect change on the landscape, and will provide a missing resource for Missourians interested in monarch conservation.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit

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