Monarch Conservation Toolbox

Best Management Practices

National Conservation Practice Standards

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

Country
United States

Region
Multiple

Land Use / Land Cover
General Agriculture

Agency Type
Federal

Target or Affiliated Species or Habitat
Monarchs

Publication Type
Website/web hub

Original Language
English

These resources provide information regarding BMPs supported by the USDA NRCS. The Monarch Butterfly Habitat Development Project report provides an overview of relevant incentive programs for a public audience. This summary of the project, which targets monarch habitat in the southern Great Plains (South Central) subregion and the Midwest subregion, describes general monarch and milkweed biology and ecology, reviews the observed decline in monarch populations, describes the development of strategies for both subregions, and outlines how progress will be tracked. The scope of each subregion’s strategy includes the geography, targeted milkweed species, land uses, management practices, and related US Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill) incentive programs (USDA NRCS 2015).

While management practices are not monarch-specific, the subset of National Conservation Practice Standards (NCPS) intended to improve monarch habitat in each subregion has been identified. These NCPS are publicly available at the referenced NRCS website with accompanying overviews (USDA NRCS 2016).

As described in the report, the Midwest subregion program will target lands enrolled in cropland retirement programs like the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) and the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), with the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) included to a lesser degree. Practices such as prescribed burning, disking and planting (milkweed and nectar plants) will be prioritized.

The Southern Great Plains subregion program will target lands through EQIP, focusing on grazed lands in native grass cover. CRP lands will be targeted to a lesser degree, and practices will focus on enhancement of existing milkweed and increasing nectar plants for fall migration, particularly through prescribed burning and mowing. Specific conservation practices are identified for each region as either “Core” or “Supplemental,” with the name and associated reference number. The Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Guide (WHEG) specific to monarch butterflies for each subregion will be used to assess sites and request funds (USDA NRCS 2015).

  • US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS). 2015. Monarch Butterfly Habitat Development Project. US Department of Agriculture. 14 pp.
  • US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS). 2016. National Conservation Practice Standards. nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detailfull/national/technical/cp/ncps/.

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