March 16, 2015
The federal government on February 9, 2015 pledged $3.2 million to help save the monarch butterfly, the butterfly that migrates thousands of miles between the U.S. and Mexico each year. The species has experienced a 90 percent decline in population in recent years. 2013-4 showed the lowest recorded population ever.
They are planning to earmark $2 million to restore more than 200,00 acres of habitat located from California to the Corn Belt, which includes school habitats and pollinator gardens. They will also create a fund – the first ever to dedicated exclusively to monarchs. This fund will provide grants to farmers and other landowners to conserve habitat.
In December, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said that there is enough evidence to trigger a review to determine whether to classify the monarch butterfly as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Service Director Dan Ashe stated that “little patches matter.”
What makes this an even more critical issue is, the monarch lays its eggs exclusively on the milkweed plant. Larvae feeds exclusively on milkweed. Weed control practices of our generation have greatly reduced milkweed.
There are many varieties of milkweed. Can you plant it in your yard? If you would like to give it a try, the first thing to do is to check to see which varieties of milkweed are native to your area. Then plant it throughout your garden! Keep in mind that local nurseries may have plenty of milkweed for sale, especially during spring and summer, however it may not be native milkweed. You can also plant butterfly friendly nectar producing plants to welcome the monarch into your yard.
Monarch Video (30 seconds)
Follow Milk the Weed on FaceBook (Saving monarch butterflies & other pollinators one milkweed at a time. Vanishing prairies are key to a monarch revival — protect prairie & plant natives)
See also: The Light-Absorbing Butterfly Wing