NFWF Announces $3 Million in Grants from Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 23, 2016) — The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced more than $3 million in grants from its Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund (MBCF). The 22 grants will support the restoration of approximately 16,000 acres of habitat in areas identified by experts as key to the recovery of monarch butterfly populations.

The grants announced today will draw nearly $6 million in matching contributions, generating a total conservation impact of $9 million.

The grants were awarded to nonprofit conservation organizations, government agencies and other stakeholders across 22 states, which in turn work with private landowners and a variety of additional partners to produce, collect, distribute and plant native milkweed and nectar plants needed by monarch caterpillars and butterflies.

Examples of grant awards include:

  • Nearly $250,000 to support efforts by The Conservation Foundation, along with a coalition of 12 public and private land conservation organizations, to create or improve 975 acres of monarch habitat along the Fox River Valley in Illinois. The project will establish and restore 10 multi-acre sites and hundreds of smaller stepping-stone sites on private properties, creating a linked patchwork of habitats for the breeding and migration of monarch butterflies and other pollinators.
  • Approximately $240,000 to the Driftless Area Land Conservancy to coordinate efforts by more than a dozen organizations to restore and enhance monarch habitat on 1,650 acres of protected and private lands in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin. The project will engage 130 landowners in the planting of milkweed and nectar-producing plants in core habitat areas and along dispersal corridors to augment and link similar work recently supported by Farm Bill programs.
  • Nearly $250,000 to support the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation and multiple partners to implement on-the-ground monarch habitat restoration and disseminate training materials to landowners. The project will restore more than 434 acres of monarch habitat and help fulfill objectives of the Missouri Monarch and Pollinator Conservation Plan.
  • Friends of Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge will receive $87,000 to recruit and train individuals and organizations to establish pollinator habitat in the greater Des Moines area of Iowa. The project will restore approximately 3,100 acres of pollinator habitat across more than 660 sites and propagate more than 60,000 pollinator plants.

“It’s been less than two years since the launch of the Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “But already, conservation professionals and volunteers across the country are hard at work restoring habitats that allow these beautiful creatures to complete their incredible, multigenerational migration. The second round of grants announced today will accelerate those conservation efforts, providing swift support to a wildlife population in dire need of help.”

Monarch butterflies are found throughout most of the United States, and a majority of the population migrates up to 3,000 miles to overwinter in Mexico. Over the past 20 years, the North American monarch population has plunged from 1 billion to fewer than 60 million, due to many factors, including loss of critical habitat. These beautiful, black-and-orange insects depend not only on nectar-producing plants throughout their range, but also milkweed — the food source for monarch caterpillars.

“We’re making real progress to protect and restore the population of monarch butterflies, thanks to partnership-focused conservation efforts across the monarch’s continental range,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “But much more needs to be done to secure the future of this incredible species. Vital projects supported by these latest grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund will enable the Service and our partners to continue to secure habitat and work with the public to benefit monarchs across America.”

NFWF established the Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund in early 2015 to protect, conserve and increase habitat needed by these iconic insects and other pollinators. The monarch fund is designed to leverage the investments made by federal agencies with additional funding from other private and public donors, as well as matching resources from grantees.

The continuation of this program is made possible through funding from Monsanto Company; the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Geological Survey; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and U.S. Forest Service.

“At Monsanto we are very passionate and committed to monarch conservation,” said Robb Fraley, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Monsanto. “With the devastating storm in Mexico earlier this year, we know how important these second-year grants are, now more than ever. We’re excited to see the progress being made and the impact that will continue.”

This year’s grants focus on three priority conservation needs to restore monarch butterflies to a more robust and healthy population:

  • Habitat restoration to plant native milkweed for caterpillars and nectar plants for adults in both large, contiguous areas as well as in smaller patches, especially in edge habitat along the butterfly’s migration route
  • Organizational coordination and capacity building to facilitate effective and efficient monarch conservation efforts at the state and regional levels
  • Native seed production and distribution to increase production and availability of seeds and plants essential to habitat restoration

The first round of grants from the fund, totaling $3.3 million, was announced in September 2015.

Additional details about the grants announced today can be found here.

To learn more about the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s work on monarchs, visit 

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores our nation’s wildlife and habitats. Chartered by Congress in 1984, NFWF directs public conservation dollars to the most pressing environmental needs and matches those investments with private contributions. NFWF works with government, nonprofit and corporate partners to find solutions for the most intractable conservation challenges. Over the last three decades, NFWF has funded more than 4,500 organizations and committed more than $3.5 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at

About the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit

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