Incentives available to provide monarch butterfly habitats

USDA incentives available to provide monarch butterfly habitats

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is calling on you to help boost the country's monarch butterflies.

This Spirit of the Tri-States report brought to you by Continental Cement and Green America Recycling details a new conservation effort now in place.

The National Resources Conservation Service is investing $4 million to help combat the species' decline.

According to a USDA news release, the monarch's population went from one billion butterflies in 1995 down to 34 million today.

Now agricultural producers are already signing up for incentives to provide monarch butterfy habitats.

The conservation efforts also strengthen agricultural operations, support other beneficial insects and wildlife and improve other natural resources.

"I encourage people to if they see milkweeds, don't kill them and be very careful," Illinois NRCS Biologist Ellen Starr said. " Avoid the use of insecticides completely if at all possible. If they have to, please read the label and don't use the systemic type insecticides, because those are very devastating to the insects, the monarchs and the pollinators as well. Even a little path in your yard, a 100-square foot garden, can really provide beneficial habitat if you plant the right plants."

The Obama administration has a goal of increasing the eastern population of monarchs back up to 225 million by 2020.

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