SMITHVILLE, Mo.,— The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Smithville Lake received a grant from Monarch Watch to benefit pollinators such as butterflies and bees.
Monarch butterfly populations have decreased by 90 percent due to loss of habitat and nectar sources. Milkweed, the sole food source for Monarch butterfly larvae, has diminished drastically in the United States due to mowing and herbicide use, especially along roadways and agricultural land.
“Smithville Lake is perfectly positioned along the I-35 corridor which is the eastern migratory route for Monarch butterflies to their overwintering ground in central Mexico. They travel over 2,000 miles to migrate,” says Jaime Picken, U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s Smithville Lake park ranger.
To support pollinators, the Monarch Watch grant awarded Smithville Lake with nearly 350 milkweed plants. Smithville Lake staff, along with a handful of local volunteers, began planting the milkweed plugs in May.