The Central United States, an important part of the eastern monarch’s breeding range, has received notable attention for the loss of milkweed across large portions of the landscape. There is an urgent need to protect existing milkweed populations and increase the abundance of milkweeds through restoration activities. One immediately available opportunity to increase the planting of milkweed is to encourage their inclusion in regional USDA‐contracted conservation easements. The Xerces Society collaborated with the NRCS and Monarch Watch trhought the MJV to produce a plant guide (“Technical Note”) profiling the region’s native milkweeds and the benefits they provide to monarchs and other pollinators. NRCS Technical Notes provide a crucial link in shaping the way USDA‐contracted conservation easements are managed, and have a direct influence on the seed mix recommendations made by agency staff to landowners. This comprehensive guide to using the native milkweeds of the lower Midwest and Central U.S. in monarch butterfly and pollinator habitat restoration efforts describes the importance of milkweed to wildlife, provides an overview of milkweed establishment practices, and profiles numerous species that are commercially available and can be incorporated into seed mixes and planting plans. The document is now available for download from the Xerces Society, Monarch Joint Venture, and NRCS websites.
The Monarch Joint Venture (MJV) is a partnership of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic programs that are working together to support and coordinate efforts to protect the monarch migration across the lower 48 United States.