- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 22, 2015

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition has plans to restore, or create, 12,000 acres of monarch butterfly habitat.

The coalition received a $125,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to help restore monarch butterfly habitat across Kansas.

The Hutchinson News (https://bit.ly/1Tfy1Xf) reports that the foundation recently launched the Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund to help restore up to 33,000 acres of monarch habitat in the country after the butterfly population dropped from 1 billion to fewer than 60 million over the past 20 years.

The coalition plans to hold informational meeting next year to educate ranchers about its project, which is slated to cost $646,000. The Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition will be matched with $521,000. Officials want to let ranchers know that

Coalition coordinator Barth Crouch says the project aims to restore and enhance mixed-grass and tallgrass ecosystem functions and use invasive-species control and prescribed fire practices in the Red Hills and Flint Hills.

Officials want to let ranchers know that these practices will improve habitat for monarch butterflies and other native pollinators without costing them any more money.

Shelly Wiggam with Kansas State University’s Department of Entomology says she believes the grant has “great potential” to have a significant effect on monarch populations by changing rangeland management practices, and, in turn, increasing milkweed populations, which are vital to the insect.


Information from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, https://www.hutchnews.com

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