NRCS works with producers to combat decline of monarch butterfly
Submitted by Tim Urban
The monarch is one of the most familiar butterflies in North America. The orange-and-black butterfly is known for its annual, multi-generational migration from Mexico to as far north as Canada. Monarch butterflies depend on milkweed to lay their eggs during the journey.
But monarch populations have decreased significantly over the past two decades, in part because of the decrease in native plants, including milkweed, on which their caterpillars feed. Agriculture and development have removed much of the native milkweed that once spanned the country.
NRCS is working with agricultural producers to combat the decline of monarch butterflies by planting milkweed and other nectar-rich plants on private lands. NRCS provides technical and financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
With assistance from NRCS, producers and conservation partners can plant milkweed and nectar-rich plants along field borders, in buffers along waterways or around wetlands, in pastures and other suitable locations.
EQIP applications are accepted on a continuous basis, however, NRCS establishes application “cut-off” or submission deadline dates for evaluation, ranking, and approval of eligible applications. EQIP is open to all eligible agricultural producers. To apply for EQIP or to get more information on the program contact your local USDA Service Center or Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism district wildlife biologist.