To ramp up public-private partnerships and funding to existing organizations working to protect and restore populations of the 110 species North American milkweeds found on or near the 10 million acres of federal, state and county/municipio roadsides in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, especially the 2 endangered species and the 20 keystone species within the range of migratory monarchs.
To restore viable milkweed populations on 180 million acres of corn and soy fields where they have been diminished or lost due to untargeted or excessive herbicide use combined with other factors; these threats have imperiled monarchs on roughly a third of their Eastern and Midwestern breeding areas in North America.
To effectively manage milkweeds and monarchs in herbicide- and pesticide-free zones amidst the 400 million acres of privately-owned, food-producing farmscapes in the U.S. by drawing upon farmers’ own knowledge and social responsibility to find innovative means of keeping these species and their interactions alive for future generations.
To better manage milkweeds and monarchs in the 31 million acres in the Conservation Reserve Program to protect their roosts, mating grounds and nectar resources from toxins and provide diverse habitat for these and other pollinators essential to food and fiber production.
To assist the half of America’s farmers who are already intentionally providing habitat for wildlife with farmer-to-farmer training to extend such practices to tangibly benefit monarchs and other pollinators, as well as the native nectar plants required to ensure crop pollination services. On-farm populations of deer, moose, waterfowl and other game birds have shown significant increases over decades, without sacrificing agricultural productivity. Similar collaborative efforts can be made on farms and ranches to protect and enhance pollinator populations, including monarchs.
To engage more citizen-scientists of all ages to join the ranks of the quarter million youth in the U.S., Canada and Mexico who identify themselves as caretakers and advocates for monarchs through planting milkweeds, counting larvae, and tagging monarch butterflies.
To encourage more than a dozen relevant federal agencies—from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, Federal Highway Administration, BLM Seeds for Success, Fish and Wildlife Service and Environmental Protection Agency –to earmark more of their current budgets to collect seeds from milkweed populations, support more propagation and outplanting, and monitor monarch populations as well as herbicide and pesticide impacts on them.
To publically support and disseminate the irrefutable findings of dozens of professional weed scientists in state and federal agencies and universities who have documented that untargeted and excessive use of glyphosate herbicides have created irreparable damage to agricultural landscapes. The combination of increased herbicide use and herbicide-tolerant GMO crops has selected for at least fourteen herbicide-tolerant superweeds in the U.S. and twenty-six globally, with the acreage impacted increasing every year. At least fifty million acres of American farmland are plagued by two or more herbicide-tolerant superweeds generated by excessive, non-targeted herbicide spraying. Farmers’ costs of herbicide applications per acre have increased five- to seven-fold within the last decade without any better control of weeds. This costly and ineffective use of agrichemical chemicals has potentially imperiled not only milkweeds and butterflies, but farmers’ livelihoods and national food security as well.