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Department of Defense Legacy Resource Management Program

EFTA Texas Do D survey Mercy

The Department of Defense Legacy Resource Management Program (DoD Legacy Program) is partnering with the U.S. Forest Service International Programs to support DoD in monarch butterfly conservation. Programs aim to help DoD land managers maximize the use of their lands for training while considering the needs of this widespread at-risk species.

General areas of support include:

  • Identifying priority areas for monarch conservation on DoD lands
  • Providing baseline data on monarch habitat and populations through both on-the-ground and remote studies
  • Developing and distributing best management practices for habitat management, inventory and monitoring, and other needs
  • Responding to DoD inquiries

Program Partners

  • Monarch Joint Venture
  • Xerces Society
  • California Association of Resource Conservation Districts (CARCD)
  • Environment for the Americas
  • Washington State University
  • University of California Davis
  • James Madison University

Priority Monarch Conservation Areas for the West

  • Overwintering sites
  • Central Valley of California

Priority Monarch Conservation Areas for East

  • North Core and South Core Conservation Units

The South Core and North Core areas were chosen as priority conservation units due to their designation by the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Approximately 80% of the total eastern migratory monarch population is estimated to come from the northern range of the eastern monarch population (Flockhart et al. 2017), an area approximating the North Core and north exterior monarch conservation units as described by the USFWS in the above figure.

The South Core provides an essential breeding habitat for monarchs arriving from Mexico in the spring. Additionally, it provides essential nectar plants for migrating monarchs in the spring and fall of each year. Data (Flockhart et al. 2013) suggest that fall monarch reproduction in the Southern Great Plains may contribute to the wintering population in Mexico. For more information about monarch conservation priorities, please see the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. 2023. 2023 Update to the Mid-America Monarch Conservation Strategy, 2018-2038; Mid-America Monarch Conservation Strategy.

Timing windows for management actions

  • West of the Rocky Mountains

Conservation and Management of Western Monarchs on Department of Defense Lands: Implications of Breeding Phenology

  • East of the Rocky Mountains

Current Inventory and Monitoring Protocols

  • Suitable Habitat determinations per region
  • Desktop Assessments for Monarch Habitat Suitability

Monarch Resources for DoD Managers

Case Studies

The MJV is Here to Help

With the support of DoD, MJV can help you with a variety of needs pertaining to the monarch and its habitat. Here is a list of support that we can provide, but the MJV is ready to help meet your needs, whatever they are.

If you are interested in monarchs on your installation or have questions, please feel free to contact us! The MJV wants to help meet you where you are when it comes to monarchs, so please let us know how to best do that! Contact Mercy Manzanares at

Inventory and Monitoring

  • On-site assistance with inventory and monitoring for monarchs
  • On-site assistance with suitable habitat identification and mapping
  • Decision-making keys to select/recommend monitoring based on an installation's needs
  • Remote sensing (UAV)
  • Desktop Assessment of monarch habitat via existing aerial imagery (using current community science/research)
  • Identification guides for regional milkweed species
  • Identification guides for all stages of the monarch life cycle

Habitat Management 

  • On-site assistance with habitat management/establishment/restoration
  • On-call technical assistance for best management of pollinators
  • List of regionally specific seed/plant sources and habitat management contractors
  • Recommended language for Integrated Natural Resource Management Plans
  • Guides on how to manage monarch habitat for vegetation management/ groundskeeping staff and contractors

Education and Training for Natural Resource Managers 

Online or in-person training on:

  • Monarch biology and life history
  • Monarch inventory and monitoring protocols
  • Monarch conservation efforts specific to your installation’s region and its
    phenology and timing of monarch presence and possible impacts to DoD mission
  • Pertinent Scientific research
  • Webinars/lunch and learn events

Communications and Outreach Materials for Installation Communities 

  • Fact sheets for installation personnel and the community about monarchs
  • PreK-12 Education Materials about Monarchs
  • Monarch outreach materials for events such as Earth Day, Armed Forces Day, and Public Lands Day
  • Assistance in planning pollinator-centered outreach events and educational programming with an emphasis on reaching Blue Star Families
  • Volunteer and employment opportunities for Blue Star Families and the greater installation community
  • Handouts and materials for outreach events