Partnering to conserve the monarch butterfly migration

Roadside Habitat for Monarchs

Monarch Joint Venture is leading a project with partners at Oklahoma State University, Environmental Incentives, and the Xerces Society, to provide tools for transportation managers to provide monarch habitat in their roadside rights-of-ways. This project builds on the leadership shown by many transportation departments in providing pollinator habitat and employing pollinator-friendly management practices. The Roadsides as Monarch Habitat project is supported by funding from the National Cooperative Highway Research Program and is advised by a number of road program managers. The project is scheduled for completion in spring of 2019.

Graphic describing roadside monarch butterfly habitat project products for roadside managers. This project is developing tools to support transportation managers who want to enhance or maintain monarch habitat in roadside corridors. The project has four main components: 1) GIS Prioritization Model to predict high quality areas for habitat development; 2) Habitat Assessment Protocols to assess current roadside conditions; 3) a Habitat Calculator that combines GIS model, field assessment, and management information to score roadside habitat quality; 4) communication and decision support tools for regionally specific and context dependent best management practices.  

In 2018, MJV is working with transportation managers to try out the field protocol for the Rapid Assessment and Habitat Calculator. In MN and OK, we also have field crews stopping at many roadside locations to collect data to calibrate the GIS Prioritization Model and habitat calculator. These crews are employing a combination of the Rapid Assessment and more in-depth habitat assessment approaches. They are also collecting data on monarch at these locations to learn more about where monarchs are breeding in roadside corridors.

To get involved, try out a tool, or get more information contact Alison Cariveau (

Get Involved

Photos by Alison Cariveau. Photo above shows members of the roadside monitoring field crew, Patrick and Grace. Photo on right shows common milkweed growing on a roadside right-of-way in Minnesota. Photos below describe features of the products being created for roadside managers to create and maintain roadside habitat.

Project Photos

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