Why is the effort unique?
The agreement demonstrates the significant interest and investment in habitat conservation that can be made across the transportation and energy sectors in the United States. Rights-of-way and related landscapes provide valuable opportunities to connect available habitats, provide diverse breeding and feeding habitat (especially compared to much of the surrounding landscape), and offer areas that are generally safe from major disturbances or future development. By providing regulatory assurances, the agreement encourages energy companies and transportation agencies to voluntarily adapt their land management practices to incorporate native flowering plants, increase the use of Integrated Vegetation Management best practices, and implement other conservation measures to maintain habitat for the monarch butterfly and other pollinators.
Never before has a agreement been created for this scale of voluntary conservation. It is first-of-its-kind in terms of geographic extent (across 48 states!) and broad multi-sector collaboration – creating an innovative model for large-scale landscape conservation. The agreement incentivizes industry-wide efforts to create on-the-ground conservation benefits, while aligning with other important initiatives such as the Mid-America Monarch Conservation Strategy and the Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group’s geospatial habitat database and related efforts. We hope this agreement inspires similar efforts by other industries to address monarchs and other species in need!