On Monday, December 14 Kansas City Mayor Sly James signed the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayor’s Monarch pledge, joining mayors from several other cities including St. Louis, Dallas, San Antonio and Oklahoma City in a commitment to protect and restore monarch butterfly populations. Monarch populations have declined more than 90% in the past decade due to the loss of their host plant, milkweed, through development and herbicide resistant crops. Kansas City hosts four generations of monarch butterflies each year. The last generation, reaching adulthood in September in Kansas City, is the super generation that will migrate to Mexico for the winter and then move back north in the spring, laying eggs for the first generation of monarch butterflies of the following year.
Many organizations in Kansas City are already working to provide habitat for monarch butterflies and other pollinators; of the first 17 items listed on the Mayor’s Monarch pledge, organizations in and around Kansas City already have 16 in action . By signing the Mayor’s Monarch pledge, Mayor James has brought city-wide awareness and support for increasing monarch habitat and ensuring the continuation of the spectacular monarch migration.
In early summer 2015 a coalition of Kansas City organizations came together to apply for a grant to improve and increase monarch habitat in Kansas City. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation awarded the grant in September 2015, totaling $229,868. Partners included Bridging the Gap, Johnson County Parks, Kansas City, MO Parks, Missouri Department of Transportation, Kansas City Power and Light, Grow Native, The Kansas City Native Plant Initiative and Burroughs Audubon of Greater Kansas City. For more information on the grant please visit www.burroughs.org/ conservation/nfwf-grant.
The signing of the Mayor’s Monarch pledge by Mayor James, along with the monarch conservation efforts already underway, designates Kansas City as a leading city in monarch conservation efforts.