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Landowners can get help creating butterfly habitat

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Pheasants Forever remind farmers and landowners there are many funding opportunities within the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to establish quality habitat for monarch butterflies, pollinators and other wildlife.

April 19 is the signup deadline.

EQIP offers landowners an opportunity to receive a one-time incentive payment to install a wide array of conservation practices that can improve soil health and water quality, as well as create and improve wildlife habitat. Diverse, native habitat is critically important to sustaining healthy populations of wildlife species ranging from monarch butterflies to native bees to game species, such as pheasants and white-tailed deer.

Examples of conservation activities available through EQIP include:

• establishing native prairie,

• planting filter strips,

• installing contour buffer strips,

• edge-feathering along timber,

• planting trees and shrubs, and

• removing undesirable woody brush.

Habitat containing milkweed and other native wildflowers continues to be especially important to the recovery of the monarch population.The Midwest is the center of the eastern monarch's migration route and breeding grounds.

For more information contact the USDA Service Center, 104 E.Third Ave., Goodhue, 651-923-5300 or visit https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/mn/programs/financial/eqip/.