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Monarch Conservation Efforts of The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

Mar 11, 2014


  • Conservation Stories
  • MJV Partnership News

The following statistics were provided by the Xerces Society. This monarch conservation work was conducted in partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Monarch Joint Venture. We are grateful for this amazing contribution to monarch conservation in the United States! More details and reports regarding this work can be found in the MJV Projects or Resources sections of our website.  

  • As part of our larger pollinator efforts we have worked with NRCS and farmers to implement more than 120,000 acres of pollinator habitat projects across the U.S. Tens of thousands of acres have included milkweed in these diverse plantings across much of the monarchs breeding range.
  • In addition to the plantings above, we launched seed production of 11 milkweed species in key areas of the monarch breeding range where these seeds had not been available: California, Southwest (AZ/NM), Great Basin, Texas, and Florida.
  • Over 35 million seeds have been produced so far! Over 3 million seeds were wild collected in a sustainable manner to start this effort.
  • This seed has been used by schools, Resource Conservation Districts, farmers and many others to improve habitat for monarchs.
  • We have developed regional guides to the native milkweeds of California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, the Great Basin, and the central U.S.
  • We have reached tens of thousands of people across the U.S. through talks, workshops and other outreach events.
  • Through compiling herbarium records and engaging citizens, scientists, and resource agency personnel in a web-based survey, we have created a database of over 7,000 milkweed locations in seven western states, to work toward identifying and conserving important monarch breeding areas.
  • As part of our strategy to conserve western monarch overwintering sites in California we have:
    • Provided trainings and other resources to Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count volunteers so that they can continue to monitor the status of the western monarch population.  
    • Developed a comprehensive database of monarch overwintering sites. This database has allowed us to better understand the status of overwintering monarch populations in California, to identify gaps in our knowledge, prioritize sites to monitor and protect, and better understand how pending development projects will impact overwintering monarchs.
    • Monitored more than 140 priority monarch overwintering sites from 2011-2013, in order to understand the status of monarchs and the quality of habitat at each site. These site visits resulted in the discovery of six new sites and the rediscovery of an overwintering site which hosts over 20,000 monarchs (making it the third largest site in California).
    • Developed resources for protecting and managing monarch overwintering sites in California.  These include management guidelines and a habitat assessment protocol. 
    • Developed a science-based policy statement regarding the risks of releasing commercially raised monarchs. This policy is supported by the world’s leading monarch scientists.
    • Completed a review of all laws and regulations that apply to the management and conservation of monarchs and monarch habitat at California overwintering sites.
    • Assisted local citizens with advocacy to protect overwintering sites from development. 

We applaud these amazing efforts by the Xerces Society and partners!