Monarch Butterfly Project
Latah SWCD has been partnering with landowners as well as local, state, and federal agencies to increase habitat for important pollinator species like the western bumblebee and Monarch butterfly. Both of these species are important pollinators on the Palouse that have been listed in Idaho as Species of Greatest Conservation Need due to noted declines in the species’ abundance and habitat (IDFG, 2015). Restoration efforts utilizing native plants benefits these species as well as a host of other pollinators and wildlife. In spring 2016, Latah SWCD partnered with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to plant, or provide seedlings for others to plant, approximately 5,000 showy milkweed seedlings throughout Latah County. Planting showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) is important for Monarchs because native milkweed provides the only suitable food source for the Monarch larvae.
These milkweed plantings were used to enhance sites that already have a rich diversity of nectar-producing species (such as Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum), Taperleaved penstemon (Penstemon attenuatus), blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata), and Missouri goldenrod (Solidago missouriensis)) as a diverse mix of flowering species that bloom throughout the season are needed to support the adult butterflies as well. For more information about Monarchs and their fascinating life cycle and migration go to the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper.
For information on how to make a bee nest in your garden, click on the following link: https://www.foxleas.com/make-a-bee-hotel.asp
Watch the following YouTube video:
Significant gaps in knowledge about the western Monarch population still exist and to help fill in this missing information, scientists have been enlisting the help of citizen scientists to learn more about where Monarchs go during the summer and where their potential habitat might be throughout their range. To help with these efforts please report milkweed and Monarch sightings to the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper. This information will be very helpful for scientists and habitat managers to ensure that conservation efforts are having the greatest impact possible for these important species.