USDA announces $6 million for monarch program

Thousands of acres of private land across Texas and eight Midwestern and Plains states could become better habitat for vulnerable monarch butterflies, thanks to a federal grant program.

U.S. Department of Agriculture officials Friday announced $720 million in funding for 84 projects across the U.S., including $6 million for monarch butterfly preservation in Texas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.

The iconic butterfly’s population has dropped from an estimated high of about 1 billion 20 years ago to a low of 20 million before a modest rebound to 34 million today, deputy undersecretary Ann Mills said at Austin’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Texas will be the lead state in the project because of its vast amount of private land and its importance for monarchs crossing the state during their annual migration to Mexico from the Upper Midwest and Northeast… Read more from SA Express-News