President Barack Obama has some interesting plans for the monarch butterfly, and these include a new pollinator highway located along the Interstate 35 corridor, a passage that runs from Mexico to Minnesota, but more importantly follows a primary route for these butterflies as they migrate annually.
Instead of lining the butterfly corridor with traffic lights, the Obama administration has other plans to make it easier for the monarch butterfly. The route will be lined with habitat plants such as milkweed, allowing the butterflies to have a reliable source of food during their migration. Monarch butterflies are capable of flying a remarkable 2,000 miles when they migrate, however, their count has declined substantially since the 1990s, decreasing about 90 percent over the last two decades.
As monarch butterflies weigh less than a gram, they would need all the food they could ingest during that 2,000-mile trip to and from Mexico. But with milkweed and other nectar-producing plants, this should help the butterflies in their travels, and allow them to lay eggs and provide sustenance to their caterpillars.
In a statement, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation executive director Scott Black lauded the Obama administration’s plans to help the monarch butterfly in its migration path. “The idea is to use it as this iconic pathway to work with schools, farmers, ranchers, and park districts to improve habitats for 50 to 100 miles on either side of the I-35 corridor,” he said. Black added that if habitat quality is “really good,” the butterflies should make the most out of their new corridor, and “do the best they can under whatever circumstances they are faced with.”