Creating habitat for monarch butterflies through broad cooperation

monarch habitatWhat’s Happening

The Monarch Conservation Effort Report from the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium shows over 430,000 acres of monarch butterfly habitat have been established across the state from 2015 to 2020. The number is more than half of the consortium strategy’s low-end goal to create 790,000 acres of monarch habitat in Iowa by 2038.

This represents combined efforts among private landowners; agriculture and conservation organizations; agribusiness and utility companies, national, state and local governmental agencies and Iowa State University scientists and extension specialists. Increasing breeding habitat in Iowa and other north central states will help ensure the monarch butterfly spring and fall migrations between Canada and Mexico are sustained.

The report summarizes how different land-use sectors are contributing to Iowa’s monarch habitat goal. Over the past six years, agriculture and public land sectors have made the most progress, with road rights of way efforts on track to meet the 2038 goal. The Consortium’s new interactive Monarch Conservation Effort Dashboards allow users to click on each of Iowa’s 99 counties and view county-specific, cumulative monarch habitat acres broken down by year and sector.

The report recognizes the 50 organizations that make up the Consortium and underscores the need for continued education, habitat creation and participation by all partners.


  • Steve Bradbury, Professor, Natural Resource Ecology and Management
  • Nicole Shimp, Program Specialist, Plant Pathology, Ecology and Microbiology
  • Alan Dotts, Senior Manager Information Technology Systems, Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology
  • Jie Li, Research Scientist III, Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology
  • Shannon Schmidt, Research Scientist II, Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology

Funders/Other Partners

  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • USDA Farm Service Agency
  • Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium
  • Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
  • Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Learn more about how CALS creates habitats for monarch butterflies

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