Monarch Conservation Toolbox

Best Management Practices

PLT15 – Establish pollinator and/or beneficial insect habitat

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

United States


Land Use / Land Cover
General Agriculture

Agency Type

Target or Affiliated Species or Habitat
Monarchs, Pollinators

Publication Type
Job Sheet

Original Language

PLT15–Establish Pollinator and/or Beneficial Insect Habitat refers to an eligible enhancement activity under CSP. This activity and the supplement together include planting or seeding milkweed and nectar-producing plants in non-cropped areas of croplands, pastures, rangelands and forests. At least 0.2 hectares (0.5 acres) of every 16.19 hectares (40 acres) must be habitat (or where land use is less than 16.19 hectares, corresponds to the same ratio). If land exceeds 16.19 hectares, the 0.2 hectares of habitat may be either a single site or interspersed. As part of this enhancement activity, regionally or habitat-appropriate lists for larval and nectar plants are provided, with emphasis on native species.

Specific BMPs are outlined regarding planting or seeding; habitat identification, preservation, or restoration; invasive/pest species management; mowing or haying; grazing; and prescribed burning. Emphasis is placed on native species, especially native milkweeds, and on the timing and duration of flowering plants at the site, to coincide with monarch arrival. BMPs regarding invasive/pest species management provide guidelines regarding management methods and implementation, particularly the use of herbicides and pesticides (USDA NRCS 2014, 2015).

Success according to the terms of this activity is defined as, “when the planting is providing at least 80% soil cover, visually estimated, that the resultant cover consists of at least 450 milkweed stems per acre [0.4 hectare] (approx. 1 stem per each 100 [square feet] [9.3 square meters]), and successful establishment of at least two targeted nectar plants per bloom period when monarchs are present in the state” (NRCS 2015).

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