Monday, July 11, 2016

What is the "Monarch Highway"?

From Monarch Joint Highway  

Monarch's Birth Into The World (see chrysalis beside)
Photo: Donna L. Watkins
Branded as the "Monarch Highway," this is an initiative launched in 2015 to create a multi-state partnership bringing together state transportation agencies and other partners along Interstate-35 (I-35) to catalyze conservation actions along the corridor and its neighboring communities that enhance habitat and engage people. The I-35 corridor, or the "Monarch Highway," runs along the central flyway of the monarch migration in the states of Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

This project aims to promote awareness of monarchs and other pollinators and assist individual state efforts to enhance vegetation management practices. The project hopes to serve as a national model for native pollinator habitat restoration along transportation byways through private sector and philanthropic enhancement of state and local activities.

This idea builds upon the past success of the 1995 Prairie Passage Route Partnership formed by the state departments of transportation along I-35. A number of these states remain national leaders in roadside integrated vegetation management and prairie restoration. Reinvigorating the focus on the I-35 corridor will facilitate concentrated regional coordination and action to make a visible difference in working landscapes and communities along the corridor.

The idea for a "Monarch Highway" partnership came from a federal strategy to promote the health of honey bees and other pollinators released in 2015. The strategy called for the idea of a "Monarch Highway" along I-35 and directed the U.S. Department of Transportation to work with state departments of transportation to promote pollinator-friendly practices and corridors.

Later in 2015, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and U.S. Department of Transportation organized a summit of state transportation leaders to advance regional and statewide efforts to promote and improve pollinator habitats on transportation rights-of-way, including the "Monarch Highway."

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