Partnering to conserve the monarch butterfly migration

MJV Welcomes Energy Resources Center to Fuel Monarch Conservation

The Energy Resources Center (ERC) of the University of Illinois - Chicago has been performing research and outreach related to pollinator habitat on working landscapes for nearly two years. Research has focused on the development of geospatial tools and land use analyses that can help designate priority areas for monarch habitat and outreach has been primarily through the facilitation of the Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group. Through this work they have engaged with the Monarch Joint Venture and many of our current partners on initiatives related to monarch butterfly conservation. We are pleased to welcome them to MJV partner ranks.

The ERC participates in a number of national, regional, state, and local pollinator conservation efforts, including the Monarch Conservation Science Partnership, the Keystone Policy Center’s Monarch Collaborative, The Field Museum’s Urban Monarch Landscape Conservation Design project through the Ecological Places in Cities program, the North Central Land Grant Institutions’ monarch conservation rapid response program, the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign, the I-35 Monarch Highway effort, the Illinois Monarch Butterfly Initiative, the Chicago Wilderness Landowners’ Working Group, and Chicago Living Corridors.

As a partner of the Monarch Joint Venture, the ERC provides:

  • Independent expertise and authority as a university organization
  • Interdisciplinary coordination and research capacity
  • Access to a large network of conservation experts and industry representatives through the Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group and related efforts
  • Access to geospatial data and other collected information that can serve as a mechanism to organize monarch habitat restoration and enhancement activities within the transportation and utility sectors, among others
  • An online resources library and discussion board focused on habitat conservation and integrated vegetation management for transportation and utility rights-of-way (but also applicable to other managed landscapes).

Through the Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group, the ERC has directly engaged over 160 organizations—primarily from the transportation and utility sectors—in workshops, webinars, an online resources library, and other communications. The mission of the working group is to promote pollinator habitats and healthy ecosystems in rights-of-way by providing expertise, cost effective best management practices, and industry-driven tools and resources. Rights-of-way areas are important to our equation for monarch conservation success, and MJV is delighted to bring ERC’s expertise and connections to our team.

The Working Group’s resources page contains case studies, best management practices, planning tools, and an online discussion board: http://rightofway.erc.uic.edu/. To learn more about the Energy Resources Center visit their website.

 

The Monarch Joint Venture is a national partnership of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic programs working together to conserve the monarch butterfly migration. The content in this article does not necessarily reflect the positions of all Monarch Joint Venture partners. Header photo courtesy of Kelsey Musich, Illinois Tollway.

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