Target or Affiliated Species or Habitat
“Since farmers and ranchers manage much of the habitat appropriate for milkweed, they are in a perfect position to restore and enhance this vital habitat, creating key corridors of breeding and nectaring habitats along the monarch butterfly’s great migration. By applying an advanced habitat quantification tool, the Monarch Butterfly Habitat Exchange can accurately determine the value of habitat on any given property and enable incentive payments to be directed to priority habitat restoration and conservation sites” (EDF 2016b).
Piloted in 2016, the Habitat Exchange is available in 2017 for implementation. A similar model is also being used for the lesser prairie-chicken and greater sage-grouse. How does the project work? “For example, a farmer who avoids converting his or her marginal lands to cropland can earn conservation credits for instead planting milkweed on roadsides and field edges. In doing so, the farmer earns a new revenue stream and reduces the likelihood of an Endangered Species Act listing in the future” (EDF 2016a). The program will assess the success of the habitat restoration during the pilot phase by monitoring monarch use of the habitat; it also prioritizes areas of highest need for monarchs.