Monarch Conservation Toolbox

Pilot Projects

Enhancing Monarch Butterfly Habitat in the Hiawatha National Forest

Partenariat du bassin hydrographique du lac Supérieur

United States

Agency Type

Target or Affiliated Species or Habitat

Original Language

“The Superior Watershed Partnership, in cooperation with the Hiawatha National Forest and other project partners, will restore monarch habitat in the Central Upper Peninsula of Michigan through non-native invasive species removal on 83 acres [33 hectares], planting 26,000 native milkweed and nectar plants, and the harvest of 50 pounds of native plant seeds. The project will improve peninsulas and open coastal sites along the Upper Peninsula’s primary migratory flyway” (Edelen 2015).

The Superior Watershed Partnership has been actively restoring monarch and pollinator habitat for the past 5 years. From 2014 to 2015, the Partnership has propagated and planted over 20,000 pollinator plants across 6.5-plus hectares (16-plus acres) in the Hiawatha National Forest. Plants are raised from seed in the Hiawatha National Forest greenhouse in Marquette, MI (USFS HNF 2015). The Partnership concentrates a great deal on growing milkweed, but other plants important to monarchs and other pollinators—like black-eyed Susan, bee balm and asters—are grown in the greenhouse and then transplanted to the Hiawatha National Forest. Prior to any planting, volunteer field crews pull invasive species (pale and black swallow-wort and hounds tongue) and assess the restoration site.

The Superior Watershed Partnership collaborates with the Hiawatha National Forest to monitor and evaluate varying treatment methods for these invasive species (SWPLT 2015). Support from volunteers is crucial for the success of this project. In 2014 alone, 80 volunteers worked for over 560 hours establishing monarch habitat in the Hiawatha National Forest (USFS HNF 2015).