Wildlife Conservation Board Approves $750,000 for Monarch and Pollinator Block Grant for RCDs

The California Association of Resource Conservation Districts (CARCD) was recently awarded $750,000 from the Wildlife Conservation Board to manage a block grant program for Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) to work on overwintering, habitat, and technical assistance projects to recover monarch and pollinator populations in California.

Together, CARCD and RCDs form a statewide network of local experts, contractors, and personnel who are a critical part of the solution to monarch and pollinator population decline and are perfectly positioned to make a difference. To harness the breadth and adaptability of this network, CARCD will administer a block grant program to RCDs for the implementation of monarch and pollinator habitat improvements. CARCD will work with local RCDs from the Sierra foothills to the Pacific Coast to implement a coordinated and comprehensive statewide approach to creating monarch and pollinator migration habitat and improving overwintering stands.

The unique phenology and migratory pattern of the monarch requires a broad geographic scope of restoration activities. Monarchs complete 4-5 generations in a single migration, and it is essential that suitable breeding habitat and feedstocks exist throughout their migratory route. Implementing this work through the statewide partnership of CARCD and the RCDs will ensure that habitat is restored throughout the migratory flyway and projects are prioritized by highest geographic need and suitability. Dispersing the acres restored or enhanced boosts the resilience of the entire flyway, and not just a single portion of the route. Enhancing the statewide stock of native nectar plants will further support pollinator populations broadly.

CARCD and RCDs across California are in an ideal position to help address western monarch and pollinator population decline, given our relationships with organizations working to research and address the issue (e.g., The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Conservation Service), and our ability to create scalable impacts through the local connections and expertise of RCDs.

Participating RCDs will implement restoration and provide technical assistance to landowners and resource managers, and conduct outreach to communities. Sub-allocations of grant funds from CARCD will provide support to RCDs for restoration and technical assistance projects that are either already fully developed and shovel-ready for fall of 2019, or will be ready for implementation by the fall of 2020. Implementation activities for the project will last through December 2021.