Contact(s): Owen Boyle, 608-576-2446, for questions about overall monarch efforts; Pete Duerkop, 608-304-7975, for questions about monarch habitat grant
MADISON -- Wisconsin efforts to help conserve monarchs are taking off as the iconic butterflies fly to their wintering grounds in Mexico.
The Department of Natural Resources recently learned its Natural Heritage Conservation program has won a $69,800 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to restore and enhance critical monarch butterfly habitat along the Mississippi River.
The grant and matching funds contributed by NHC, county conservation departments and non-profit conservation groups totaling $109,785 will be used to restore and enhance 700 public and private acres at well-known places including Brady's Bluff Prairie State Natural Area in Perrot State Park and Hogback Prairie State Natural Area in Crawford County.
"Monarchs have declined by 90 percent since the 1990s and need whatever help they can get from government agencies, private industries, universities, property owners, and volunteers," says Drew Feldkirchner, who leads DNR's Natural Heritage Conservation program.
"We're excited this grant will help us restore habitat on the ground and advance our partnerships to help monarchs and many other species."
Habitat loss throughout the monarch's breeding range, which includes Wisconsin, is considered the primary cause of the monarch population's crash, Feldkirchner says.
Many Wisconsin organizations and individuals are taking steps to reduce the monarch's dramatic decline and increase its chances for future recovery, says Owen Boyle, Natural Heritage Conservation species management section chief. Other recent NHC monarch work includes:
Find more information about monarchs and other native pollinators and how you can help them on DNR's Native Pollinator webpage, as well as sign up to receive periodic email or text updates about monarchs. Visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "pollinators."