A monarch butterfly soaring in Iowa. Photo courtesty of Dave Burmeister as part of the Share Your Monarchs campaign.
Managing rights-of-way for monarchs and pollinators can benefit your wallet, and beautifies the landscape. Planting native milkweed and nectar plants and following rights-of-way vegetation best management practices are simple and easy actions to help save monarchs.
The state of monarch butterflies reflects the health of American grassland habitats and its pollinators.
Monarchs are a flagship prairie species. Prairie habitat is important to pheasants and other animals dependent on grasslands and wildflowers. Pollinator-friendly habitat is filled with diverse nectar sources which support monarchs and native bees. Milkweed and other nectar sources provide monarchs with breeding habitat, resting and refueling stops during migration, and food at the overwintering sites. Habitat that provides insect-rich environments supports upland birds, grassland songbirds, and other prairie wildlife.
People benefit too. Native grasses and prairie flowers have complex root systems that help filter water, reduce runoff, and control erosion. Wildflowers beautify our landscapes. Diverse prairies are great places for recreation ranging from hiking, wildflower identification and bird watching to hunting.
To create healthy habitat for all grassland species we need to increase habitat connectivity, use native pollinator-friendly seed mixes, and plant a range of nectar plants that bloom from early spring to mid fall.