The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded the Maryland Department of Natural Resources $32,000 from the Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund to support butterfly conservation and habitat restoration projects.
“Over the past 20 years, monarch population losses as high as 90 percent have been reported in some parts of the United States,” Natural Resources Invertebrate Ecologist Jennifer Frye said. “It’s our hope that these efforts will play a role in reversing this trend by increasing the amount of habitat and food resources available to monarch butterflies during their spectacular migration.”
A large portion of the grant will help the state identify and restore 10 acres of butterfly habitat with assistance from the nonprofit Monarch Watch and Maryland Conservation Job Corps volunteers. The remaining funds will go to the Masonville Cove Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership to restore a greenhouse in Baltimore that will be used to grow plants for butterfly gardens.
Tiny tags about the size of a pencil eraser are gently placed on the Monarch’s wing to track migration patterns
This funding will help further Maryland’s efforts to enhance and preserve habitat for butterflies and other pollinators. The state has begun planting habitat, including milkweed and other plants integral to the lifecycle of the monarch, on government land and properties. The department has also assisted in monarch butterfly tagging efforts within the migration corridor at places like Assateague and Deep Creek Lake state parks.
The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service started the Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to promote conservation of the monarchs. The service allocated $2 million to pay for projects that will create 200,000 acres of monarch habitat, and 750 schoolyard habitats and pollinator gardens. Additional efforts include native seed programs, education, and outreach. Massachusetts and Pennsylvania were each awarded $21,500 grants for monarch butterfly habitat restoration.