Greater Southwest Region Partners with USDA to Save the Monarch Butterfly
Monarch butterflies are among nature’s most beautiful creatures. The eastern area, including Texas, contains approximately 95% of their population. Consistent with President Obama’s Presidential Memorandum for Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators, Greater Southwest Region’s Fort Worth Federal Center--one of the zones in the Monarch's migration path--recently joined the movement to conserve the butterfly’s ecology. Through its partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT), the FWFC identified “no mow” zones as a part of its pollinator initiative. This movement is a huge step in cultivating a pollinator-friendly environment on federal property. The FWFC will also begin growing milkweed on the property this fall, a plant that is critical to the Monarch butterfly’s migration.
During a recent site inspection, NRCS witnessed a butterfly reproduction. This fascinating discovery proves the “no mow” zones and other efforts are effective. Texas is crucial to the monarch habitat for two periods of the year. In March-April, the returning females get nectar from wildflowers and lay their eggs on milkweed, the only food plant which can support their caterpillars. Texas becomes important again in September-October, when migrating monarchs stop to refuel on wildflower nectar before their long slumber in Mexico.
Through partnerships like the one with NRCS and BRIT, GSA is making a more sustainable government so future generations can enjoy the beautiful gifts nature provides.