Monarch Butterfly and Milkweed Conservation Resources

monarch butterfly and a bee visiting a swamp milkweed plant

Monarch conservation has inspired people across North America to protect and enhance pollinator habitat. Milkweed plants that serve as hosts for caterpillars and a nectar source for adult monarchs, are also important to other insects, birds, small mammals, amphibians and reptiles. When we plant or protect monarch habitat and avoid using pesticides, that habitat can be vital for ensuring crop pollination and also for reducing pest outbreaks. Natural areas and permanent or temporary plantings also protect landscapes, preventing soil erosion and reducing the movement of chemicals into groundwater and waterways.

Milder winters in the Northeast mean pests are more likely to survive and increase in numbers. Researchers have seen beneficial insects control pests when more than 20% of a farm is in diverse, perennial habitat. Increasing the health and diversity of native beneficial insects helps farms become more resilient to the impacts from our changing climate.

Below are resource links for supporting monarch conservation. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides technical assistance and funding opportunities for pollinator plans (NRCS Practice 146 Pollinator Habitat Enhancement Plans) and pollinator plantings (NRCS Practice 327 Conservation Cover) to improve monarch and other beneficial insect habitat on private lands. For more information or technical assistance on how to apply for NRCS programs, check out the 5 Steps to Assistance, including how to contact your local NRCS office.