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Monarch butterfly


Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Principal Biologist(s)

Dustin Long

Project Location

Z Bar Ranch, KS; Bad River Ranches, SD; Avalon Plantation, FL; Nonami Plantation, GA

Conservation Problem

The primary threats to monarch butterflies and other native pollinators are habitat loss and pesticides.

Conservation Status

  • Under USFWS ESA Status Review
  • Kansas: Species of Greatest Conservation Need
  • Georgia: High Priority Species of Greatest Conservation Need

Project Goals & Objectives

We aim to conserve and restore milkweed and other wildflower communities on Turner properties to benefit monarch butterflies and other native pollinators.

The primary objective of this project is to manage for and increase suitable habitat for monarch butterflies and other native pollinators on Turner properties through milkweed (Asclepias spp.) and native wildflower plantings.  Within five years we aim to double the overall milkweed plant density and establish a robust A. incarnata population at the Z Bar and establish stable milkweed populations of not less than 500 plants representing four species at both the Avalon and Nonami Plantations.  Over the next three years will recruit two additional Turner properties into the project.

Most Turner properties lie within the spring and fall migration route of the monarch butterfly and can reasonably be expected to support monarch populations through milkweed/wildflower restoration and conservation. The Z Bar Ranch and the Avalon Plantation are particularly important to monarch butterfly conservation because those two properties lie at the northern end of the region where the first generation of monarchs migrating north from Mexico lay eggs setting the foundation for the 2nd and 3rd generations to continue the species long migration north.      

Most Turner properties have extant populations of milkweed; however, many of those populations are widely scattered, homogenous, and persist at very low densities. Without active management milkweed species richness and densities are unlikely to naturally increase.




Project Background