Monarch butterflies are found in most of the United States, with a majority of the population migrating up to three thousand miles every year to winter in Mexico. Over the past twenty years, the monarch population in North America has plunged from one billion to fewer than sixty million, due to a variety of factors, including the loss of critical habitat.
To be matched by more than $6.7 million in grantee contributions, the inaugural grants from the fund will support the restoration of up to 33,000 acres of habitat in areas identified as key to monarch recovery. NFWF established the fund in early 2015 to protect, conserve, and increase critical habitat needed by monarchs and other pollinators to survive.
To that end, the fund leverages investments made by federal agencies with additional funding from private and public donors as well as matching resources from grantees to support conservation efforts in three priority areas: native milkweed cultivation and habitat restoration in large contiguous areas as well as smaller patches, especially edge habitat along the monarch's continental migration route; organizational coordination and capacity building to facilitate effective and efficient monarch conservation efforts at the state and regional levels; and native seed production and distribution to increase production and availability of seeds and plants essential to habitat restoration.
"NFWF and our partners acted very quickly to launch this new competitive grant program, and we were delighted to have drawn such a large number of excellent proposals," said Lila Helms, NFWF's executive vice president of external affairs. "The grants we announce today will fund on-the-ground projects that will quickly contribute to a healthier, more sustainable monarch population."