The western monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) embark on a remarkable journey across the West, as they travel from the California (CA) coast to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado each year. Much of what we know is based on where humans are, with many observations around urban centers. However, there is still much to be learned about how monarchs use remote public lands, where exactly they go and when, and how that changes over time.
The Monarch Joint Venture (MJV) has embarked on a journey of our own to document breeding habitat on the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands in California. 2023 marks year one of a three-year project titled Pollinator Habitat and a Changing Climate: Long-Term Monitoring on BLM Lands (L22AS00213). This project enhances our collective understanding of monarchs in the West, which can help inform land management decisions and pollinator conservation more broadly. This project also highlights the importance of public lands, as these natural spaces provide habitat for the monarchs and countless other species.
2023 Field Season
Our wonderful Field Technicians, Sierra Teemsma and Aimie Olson, spent 24 weeks scouting the state for monarchs and milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) to establish long-term monitoring plots. In each location, they conducted Milkweed and Blooming Plant surveys using the Integrated Monarch Monitoring Program (IMMP) and documented all incidental monarch observations as well.