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Deschutes Land Trust to partner in statewide effort to aid imperiled Western monarch butterflies

Monarch butterfly
Deschutes Land Trust
Monarch butterfly

In C.O., free native milkweed, pollinator-friendly plants to be distributed

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Deschutes Land Trust and Western Monarch Advocates said Wednesday they have joined forces to boost habitat for the imperiled Western monarch butterfly in Oregon.

Thanks to $50,000 in funding from the U.S. Forest Service International Programs, the Land Trust and Western Monarch Advocates will launch a statewide effort to help build new habitat by planting more native milkweed and other pollinator plants for monarch butterflies in Central Oregon, Southern Oregon, the Umpqua River Valley and in Portland.

The two groups have partnered with several regional groups that are located within the monarch butterfly migration route and where projects can make an immediate impact in the quality of habitat for the butterflies. All projects will boost and create new habitat by planting native milkweed, and nectar-bearing plants selected to continuously provide nectar throughout the migrating season. Projects include:

  • Central Oregon: Deschutes Land Trust will distribute free native milkweed and other native pollinator-friendly plants to be planted in backyard gardens, schools, and local parks throughout Central Oregon (Bend, La Pine, Sisters, Madras, Prineville, and Warm Springs). The Land Trust will also plant more native milkweed and other native pollinator-friendly plants in two of their major Central Oregon restoration projects: one along Whychus Creek at Rimrock Ranch and in Prineville at Ochoco Preserve.
  • Southern Oregon: The Bear Creek Restoration Initiative will create new pollinator waystations as part of the restoration of the portion of Bear Creek that burned in the devastating fires of 2020 between Ashland and Central Point. This region provides critical resting and fueling resources to second generation and super generation monarch butterflies.
  • Umpqua River Valley: The Elkton Community Education Center will grow and give away native milkweed plants and seeds to the emerging network of pollinator advocates in Umpqua River Valley around Elkton.
  • Northern Oregon: The Pittock Mansion in Portland will create a new monarch waystation and pollinator garden to increase habitat connectivity and awareness in the Portland region. This garden will be built with Portland Parks and Recreation, the Pittock Mansion Society, Master Gardeners, and Portland Monarchs.

The Western monarch butterfly population is in steep decline. Overwintering populations are less than 1% of historic population sizes, dropping from numbers in the millions to fewer than 2000 recorded individuals this past year. Many factors are contributing to this precipitous decline, including climate change, loss of overwintering habitat, pesticide use, and migration/breeding corridor habitat fragmentation.

In the state of Oregon, the most important thing we can do to help Western monarchs is to improve and expand migration and breeding pathways by planting pesticide-free native milkweed and other native pollinator-friendly plants that provide nectar resources from early spring through late fall. That’s why the Deschutes Land Trust and Western Monarch Advocates have joined forces to help plant habitat throughout Oregon.

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Article Topic Follows: Environment

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