State Conservationist Ivan Dozier announced the new Monarch Butterfly Habitat Development Project in Illinois for fiscal year 2016. The monarch butterfly has suffered from significant population and habitat declines over the past two decades. The Monarch Butterfly Habitat Development Project provides a funding source for Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to work with agricultural producers to increase monarch habitat on private agriculture lands.
Through the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), producers can install conservation practices such as conservation cover, riparian herbaceous cover, and field borders to establish monarch habitat on their land. This effort focuses on planting milkweed and other nectar-rich forbs and reducing pesticide use in proximity to monarch habitat.
NRCS’s Monarch initiative can also be used along with conservation easement programs. Currently in Illinois, NRCS is working with landowners to establish monarch habitat on existing Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) easements.
The Monarch Butterfly Habitat Development Project is available in all Illinois counties. Interested producers and/or current WRP easement holders who want to establish Monarch habitat on their land can visit their local NRCS office for more information or to sign up. To compete for EQIP funding in 2016, applications must be submitted by one of the application cutoff dates of June 17 and July 15, 2016. Producers are encouraged to apply for financial assistance at any time throughout the year, as NRCS accepts applications on a continuous basis.
For more information about NRCS’ programs and services in Illinois, visit NRCS online at www.il.nrcs.usda.gov.