Monarch Conservation Toolbox

Pilot Projects

Monarch Highway

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)

Country
United States

Region
Multiple

Agency Type
Federal, State

Target or Affiliated Species or Habitat
Monarchs

Original Language
English

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).

  • Michael Gale. 2016. US Fish and Wildlife Service, Special Assistant. Personal communication.

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