Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge and Fellow Conservation Organizations Awarded $3.77 Million for Monarch Conservation

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Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge was recently selected to receive funding for conservation of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). The Refuge was selected along with several other regional partners to receive a portion of the $3.77 million in funding awards, which is expected to total $9 million including grant matching contributions [1]. The award is funded through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund(MBCF) to protect, conserve, and create habitat for monarch butterflies [2]. The award is intended to focus on two critical aspects of monarch conservation: 1) create and improve monarch habitat by planting milkweed and nectar plants, and 2) increase public outreach and coordination among conservation organizations [1].   

Monarch butterflies have been in the spotlight in recent years due to dwindling numbers of both the eastern and western populations [3][4]. Anahuac NWR plays a key role in the eastern monarch population migration due to its geographic location along the coastal monarch flyway and due to its availability of preferred nectar and larval plants [5][6]. 

When asked how the award will help Anahuac NWR with monarch conservation, Refuge Manager Kristin Fritz responded:

“Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge has over 230,000 visitors that make the refuge a part of their destination. Anahuac NWR has a beautiful butterfly garden that is an eye catching view for all visitors to see. Not only will this grant help fund critical plants species and maintenance items, but it will help educate and promote the importance of critical habitat for butterfly species everywhere. Having a garden that is visible to so many people is a really exciting way to promote a really special message about monarch habitat and conservation.”

The MBCF has awarded $7.3 million towards monarch conservation projects since 2015, with grantee matching funds of $12.2 million, for a total of $19.5 million [2]. These previous funds helped to restore and enhance 82,011 acres, acquire 10,424 pounds of native milkweed and other plant species, and provide 522 workshops and meetings [2]. The current MBCF will focus on restoring and enhancing 43,000 acres, acquiring 2,800 pounds of native milkweed and other plant seed, propagating 131,000 native plants, and host 210 workshops and meetings [7].

Kristin Fritz further stated that the grant will support multiple projects on Anahuac NWR including purchasing monarch nectar plants and host plants such as the green antelopehorn milkweed (Asclepias viridis) , plant identification signs, and outreach media to support awareness about monarch conservation efforts taking place on the Refuge [8].

Learn how you can help save the monarchs!

 

 

     Literature Cited

  1.  http://www.nfwf.org/whoweare/mediacenter/pr/Pages/monarch_16-0822.aspx 
  2.  http://www.nfwf.org/monarch/Pages/home.aspx 
  3.  https://xerces.org/2018/02/01/western-monarch-butterflies-continue-to-decline/ 
  4.  Vidal, O. and E. Rendon-Salinas. 2014. Dynamics and trends of overwintering colonies of the monarchs butterfly in Mexico. Biological Conservation 180:165-175.  
  5. Calvert, W.H. and M. Wagner. 1999. Patterns in the monarch butterfly migration through Texas— 1993 to 1995. In Jurgen Hoth, Leticia Merino, Karen Oberhauser, Irene Pisanty, Steven Price, and Tara Wilkinson, editors. 1997 North American conference on the monarch butterfly. Commission for Environmental Cooperation. p 119-125.
  6.  https://www.fws.gov/refuge/anahuac/wildlife/monarchs.html 
  7.  http://www.nfwf.org/whoweare/mediacenter/pr/Pages/nfwf-announces-grants-from-the-monarch-butterfly-conservation-fund-2017-1005.aspx 
  8.  http://xerces.org/monarch-nectar-plant-guide-southern-plains/