Monarchs and More
Nut growers program support native pollinator habitats.
Nut growers in California and Southern Oregon looking to enhance their pollinator habitat can look to the Monarch Joint Venture (MJV). The nonprofit organization works to protect monarchs and their migration by collaborating with partners to deliver habitat conservation, education and science across the U.S.
Over the past three years, the organization’s Monarchs and More Western Habitat Program has worked with 23 nut growers to provide regionally specific seed mixes, milkweed plugs and technical assistance for pollinator plantings on the growers’ land.
“Our goal for this year is to restore 100 acres of monarch and pollinator habitat in California and southern Oregon through the Monarchs and More Western Habitat Program,” said Christine Sanderson, program director for the MJV. “Working with ag is part of the solution. We need more habitat on the landscape and it’s such a wonderful role for farmers.”
Monarchs and More Western Habitat Program
Through this program, farmers can receive free or highly subsidized annual and perennial wildflower seeds tailored to their area. The mixes are designed to have overlapping bloom periods throughout the growing season.
“Some of my favorite participants have been almond growers,” Sanderson said. “At the end of the day, farmers and conservationists are both stewards of the land, and there’s so much space for collaboration.”
To participate in the program, growers must dedicate a minimum of 1/4-acre of land to pollinator habitat, but this amount can be separated into different patches on one property and can be in marginal, otherwise unused areas. Growers are responsible for completing site preparation and paying any associated site-prep costs. MJV staff will be available to help with technical assistance, answer any questions regarding the pollinator habitat and direct landowners to other programs that provide additional support.
Eligibility for the program
“Good site prep means a better experience with the habitat when it goes in,” Sanderson said. The program is currently conducting open enrollment, and growers who are interested are encouraged to review the eligibility expectations on the website and submit an interest form.
Among the expectations listed on the site are:
- Being willing to do site-prep work and manage the pollinator habitat site.
- Having a plan for consistent irrigation.
- Having a plan to mitigate pesticide exposure for the pollinator habitat site.
- Staying in regular communication with MJV staff during the first year of the project.
- Reporting annually on the progress and status of the habitat.
- Willing to maintain the site as pollinator habitat for a minimum of 3 to 5 years.
- Willing to consider hosting a habitat demonstration day to showcase their pollinator-friendly practices for other growers (optional).
Interest form submission
Interest forms will be reviewed on a rolling basis, while funding lasts, with prioritization given to interest received before May 1. After receiving an interest form, program staff will conduct interviews with interested growers to determine if they meet the minimum requirements.
Submit an interest form and learn more about the Monarchs and More Western Habitat Program at www.monarchjointventure.org or bit.ly/WesternHabitat.