May is for Monarchs Part 3 : Monarch Decline

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May is for Monarchs Part 3 : Monarch Decline




Honey, Where Are We?


Last week we showcased the hottest monarch travel spots around. When great monarch B&Bs and roadside diners are plentiful it makes traveling so much easier. But what happens when that Monarch Highway is a desolate stretch of nothingness? Family travel can be challenging. Let alone without having to contend with long stretches without amenities.


It Was Just There Last Year  

Imagine being on the road all day. You're pretty tired. You're hungry. You know that just down the road last year you hit that awesome B&B, grabbed a great meal and got a wonderful night's sleep. You come around the corner and what? There's no B&B. Where did it go? It was just here last fall when you and the kids were on that yearly road trip of yours. Now what do you do?

That's pretty much how the monarch migration has been going since about 1996. Once lush with milkweed motels and hot roadside diners, now it's a bit different. Now traveling great distances is a must before even a snack shop pops up. Why so? Reduced habitat.



Where Oh Where Did My Milkweed All Go?

Milkweed habitat is diminishing. Mexico oyamel fir forests are shrinking. As for milkweed, there are three main reasons for habitat decline. First up, Roundup. The adoption of herbicide tolerant (Roundup Ready) crops makes it easy to spray. Spray more Roundup to control weeds in fields and milkweeds go too. Second up, ethanol. The ethanol mandate increased demand for corn. If you need more corn, then you need more land to produce it driving the conversion of land to corn production. Third up, development; urban sprawl, land conversion, smaller field margins, hedgerows, and mowed ditches. They all contribute to habitat reduction.  Good news, however, we have some pretty cool farmers in our area who choose to keep their hedgerows in tact.  Awesome!

Bottom line is, monarch roadside diners, habitat, especially in northern breeding grounds is shrinking. No milkweed = no monarchs.





Lost With No Direction Home

So if you ever had an experience when traveling where you got lost you have an idea. You have no food, no motel, no nothing, and your only resource was a resistant husband. And he's not so hip on asking for directions. Well then, you pretty much know how it feels to be a monarch trying to find their way on the Monarch Highway these days. It's kind of tough.

Next week we'll dive into becoming our own monarch resort entrepreneur. Help make roaming the Monarch Highway a little easier for our little traveling friends.



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