The Monarch Joint Venture is pleased to welcome Prairie Restorations, Inc. (PRI) as an MJV partner organization. PRI is an ecological restoration company devoted to designing, restoring, and managing native prairie plant communities, and is one of the first companies in the nation of its kind. With nearly 40 years of expertise in native prairie restoration and an extensive network of partners and restored habitats in the Upper Midwestern U.S., PRI brings knowledge and on-the-ground conservation expertise to the MJV partnership.
“There needs to be a concerted and coordinated effort to save the majestic Monarch. We are excited to partner with MJV and to help sponsor them in all they can do to help this beautiful butterfly,” says Ron Bowen, Founder and President of PRI.
Many MJV partners are working throughout the monarch breeding range to restore monarch breeding habitat. By bringing our first commercial restoration partner on board, the MJV is recognizing the role that seed producers and restoration experts will need to play in restoring the hundreds of thousands of habitat acres that are needed to restore monarchs to a population size that is sustainable over the long term. PRI is one of the most successful restoration companies is the Upper Midwest, and, as such, plays an incredibly important role in these efforts. They not only produce seeds, but work with landowners on site preparation, planting, and long-term site management.
Habitat restoration requires seed mixes and management strategies that are cost effective, and that provide the host plant and nectar resources needed by monarchs. To this end, the Monarch Joint Venture is currently studying how seed mixes, including the diversity and seeding rates of both milkweed and nectar sources, and management techniques affect the value of a site to monarchs. PRI, along with the University of Minnesota Monarch Lab, the Xerces Society and the Tallgrass Prairie Center, is an important partner in this effort.
This research project involves a retrospective analysis of past prairie restoration projects that will allow us to understand important features of restorations that promote excellent monarch habitat. The study of existing restoration sites will assess the value of the habitat to monarchs, and relate that value to seed mixes and management strategies.
“We are thrilled that PRI is joining our partnership,” says Karen Oberhauser, Co-Chair of the Monarch Joint Venture and Director of the University of Minnesota Monarch Lab. “Ron Bowen is a leader in the prairie restoration community, and has the on-the-ground experience that we need to be successful. He and his PRI team have been incredible research partners over the past year.”
Field Technicians from the University of Minnesota Monarch Lab have begun monitoring PRI sites already this summer, and we are excited to see the results of this unique effort and many future projects in partnership.
To hear more from Karen and Ron, and to learn what you can do for pollinators, tune in to a recent interview featuring them on Minnesota Public Radio.
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 by Candy Sarikonda.