Target or Affiliated Species or Habitat
State departments of transportation (DOTs) have an opportunity “to restore pollinator habitat in roadside rights-of-ways. Their maintenance programs influence the management of millions of acres of [roadside] land[s]. […] Habitat restoration projects of federal, state, tribal, and local agencies can be ‘stitched together’ with habitat along roadsides and on the [ROWs] of utilities and other transportation networks such as rail” (Gale 2016). “To support this vision, the [USFWS], in partnership with the [National Wildlife Federation] and the USDOT Federal Highways Administration, pulled together state DOTs and other stakeholders to organize around the idea of a partnership to leverage Interstate-35 as a conservation corridor for [monarchs and other pollinators], i.e., the ‘Monarch Highway.’
Large-scale prairie restoration is not a new concept to the transportation agencies along I-35” (Gale 2016). In 1995, several state DOTs “formed the Prairie Passage Partnership to develop and implement a plan to establish a national wildflower corridor along I-35” (Gale 2016). “In fall 2015, the [USFWS] convened a technical meeting for roadside vegetation management and environmental professionals from I-35 states […] to advance this corridor as a model for native pollinator habitat restoration […] [A] summit for state DOTs hosted by the White House and USDOT took place in November of 2015.
Despite its transportation focus, this project [is] an organizing point for broader conservation engagement in the monarch flyway, with the communities connected by I-35 along the route of the highway as well as those located within a 50- to 100-mile [80- to 160-kilometer] buffer strip on each side of I-35” (Gale 2016).