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NRCS funding available to develop monarch butterfly habitats

A monarch butterfly lays eggs on a leaf. Monarch populations have been declining for two decades. (Ellen Starr/Natural Resources Conservation Service)

MORRIS — Producers interested in increasing monarch butterfly habitat on private lands can apply to participate in the Monarch Butterfly Habitat Development Project through the Stevens County Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The deadline to apply for this program is Aug. 19, 2016. This deadline coordinates with all other Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) deadlines.

Through EQIP, Stevens County NRCS will work to provide technical and financial assistance for customers interested in the project, which spans ten Midwestern states to restore the habitat of endangered pollinators, including the monarch.

The project will apply National Conservation Practices to develop and protect monarch habitats, which have lessened in the recent years predominantly due to agriculture. These practices include conservation cover, prescribed burning, early successional habitat development/management, field border, and riparian herbaceous cover, among others. NRCS will also incorporate planting different species of milkweed for monarch pollination.

Anyone interested in applying for the Monarch Butterfly Habitat Development Project should contact the local NRCS office. The Stevens County office is located in Morris. Producers can contact Cory or Britta at 320-589-4886, ext 3 to submit an application.