THE TEXAS MONARCH FLYWAY STRATEGY (Texas MFS) is a statewide effort to restore, increase and enhance Monarch habitat across four major regions in the state - all of which serve as critical links in the Monarch butterfly's journey along the Central Flyway from Canada to Mexico and back every year. The Texas MFS also serves to protect habitat for other pollinators that are crucial to local ecosystems and agriculture. The four regions included in the program are: Gulf-Houston, South Texas, North Texas and Hill Country.
The Texas MFS brings together multiple nonprofit, governmental and school-based organizations, including large-landscape areas across Texas, 30+ municipalities, 15+ county governments, multiple school districts and non-profit organizations.
Get an up close and personal look into the various pollinator habitat locations using our interactive map!
ABOUT THE MONARCH
The annual migration of Monarch Butterflies is one of the most impressive phenomena in the natural world. Every spring, vast numbers of monarch butterflies undertake a multi-generational journey from their wintering grounds in the mountains of Mexico to temperate areas of the United States thousands of miles to the north where they will summer, only to return back to Mexico in the fall. How the butterflies know to make this journey continues to confound scientists, as no butterfly lives long enough to make the entire journey there and back.
What is known with certainty, however, is that this incredible yearly pilgrimage is under threat from habitat destruction, which has drastically reduced the population of migrants in recent decades. The state of Texas is a crucial link link between the Monarch's wintering grounds in Mexico and their summer habitat further North, and effectively, the preservation of habitat here is of paramount importance to the continued survival of this natural wonder.
Since May of 2015, a National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators, has been working across the U.S. with hundreds of partners to to increase the Monarch population to 225 million by 2020. Between 1996 and 2013 this population plummeted from nearly one billion to only 35 million, a decline of almost 97% percent.
In 2016 the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) issued the Texas Monarch & Native Pollinator Conservation Plan aimed at protecting the Monarchs and 30 other pollinator species in Texas. The pillars of this plan are:
Education and Outreach
Partnerships and Collaboration
Facilitated by Houston Wilderness, the Texas Monarch Flyway Strategy is an outgrowth of the Gulf Houston & Tri-Regional Monarch Flyway Strategy, which is a collaborative effort modeled after Texas Parks & Wildlife Department's Monarch & Native Pollinator Conservation Plan. The Texas MFS Program includes three phases, which include the restoration and enhancement of:
A) Grass and riparian lands in urban area (implemented from 2016 - 2019)
B) Rural/Suburban Areas (implementation to begin in Fall of 2019)
C) Sustainability and long term maintenance of these areas. (on-going)
Scientific findings show these focus areas are critical to Monarch and other pollinator conservation, expansion and protection of these species.
The Texas MFS Program will establish, restore, or enhance 120+ new patches (areas of less than half an acre) of pollinator habitat and well over 100 additional acres of Monarch butterfly habitat. Current proposed projects include providing regional workshop opportunities for professional and public participation and will support local stewardship through
1. On-the-ground restoration/enhancement projects
2. Nectar and Milkweed plant propagation and availability
3. Environmental education programming and
4. The creation of conservation career ladders
Recent Updates on the Texas Monarch Flyway Strategy:
Utilizing funding various federal, state and regional sources, Houston Wilderness is working with Texas biologists, multiple municipalities, private and public land owners, schools and environmental nonprofits to enhance or restore over 25,000 acres of habitat for monarch butterflies within the monarch’s migratory flight path through Texas.
Multiple regions in the Texas MFS are currently collecting various native milkweed seeds and plugs for distribution to partners around the state.
If you have a project you would like to submit to Texas MFS Click Here
Click the bumble bee above to read the Southwest FarmPress article on "The importance of pollinators to soil and water conservation in Texas"
The Texas Monarch Flyway Strategy is an initiative spearheaded by