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Articles in 'Nature'

Where Have all the Monarchs Gone?

The migrating population of monarchs has plummeted from 1 billion to a record low this year in Mexico of just 33.5 million. The near extermination of milkweed is one of the prime reasons for this alarming decline.

Since the EPA last approved glyphosate in 1993, use of this potent herbicide has skyrocketed across the United States, due in large part to the introduction and widespread use of genetically modified crops that are resistant to this herbicide. Yet such herbicides also kill native milkweed, which is the only plant on which monarchs lay their eggs.

What can we do? The NRDC recommends these steps :

  1. Build pressure on the EPA to impose new national limits on herbicide spraying,like requiring farmers to establish herbicide-free safe zones around the edges of their fields.
  2. Mobilize citizens state by state, demanding that transportation departments stop killing milkweed along highways and start planting it instead.
  3. Foster a grassroots movement to plant a “Butterfly Highway” of milkweed along the monarch’s entire migratory route. *Note: Milkweed is toxic so be aware to fence it off from young children & pets.

Step three is certainly one that can be done in our area, the Monarch’s Migration is a big part of our community, our weather is perfect for flowers that support adults and larva of the Monarch butterfly. Both annual and perennial milkweed* is easy to grow. Flowers that produce nectar for Monarchs as well as many other species of butterfiles, such as zinnas, bee balm, aster, cosmos, coreopsis, Mexican Sunflower & many more, thrive in our mild climate. There are several online sources for seeds. See our online newsletter for a list of resources.

The Monarch Watch has a Monarch Waystation Program. If a garden has the proper plants they can be certified as a Monarch Waystation. A fun project for adults and kids alike!

More info on this wonderful project is found here – http://monarchwatch.org/waystations/