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Mississippi Roadside Vegetation Action Plan

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The Monarch Butterfly & Mississippi's Milkweed

Did You Know?

* Monarch Butterflies need milkweed for food?

* Mississippi is home to 18 species of milkweed?

* Roadsides and fields are the most common places to find milkweed?

* Monarchs are disappearing at an alarming rate?

* You can help save the Monarch!

Green Milkweed

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Managing Roadsides Can Benefit Monarchs & MDOT

Mowing is necessary to maintain safety and aesthetics in certain stretches of highway. Mowing is also costly, and can be detrimental to Monarchs and other wildlife during certain critical periods. Implementation of the Mississippi Roadside Vegetation Action Plan (MRVAP) could benefit both MDOT and wildlife by reducing the frequency and cost of mowing, while providing critical habitat for wildlife, including imperiled species such as the Monarch butterfly.

Simply altering mowing and spraying schedules could have lasting benefits on Monarch populations. Advertisement of MRVAP through road signs and billboards would warrant public support. Planting of native wildflowers, including milkweeds, would further aid in the beautification and ecological value of Mississippi's roadsides.

Why Roadsides?

Roadsides are critical habitats for migrating butterflies because they act as habitat corridors along the migration route. Roadsides offer vast stretches of open habitat for milkweed and other wildflowers to grow. Butterflies and other pollinating insects can utilize these habitats for refuge and nourishment.

Mississippi is a key part of the Monarch migration every year. Monarch butterflies migrate from Canada to Mexico and back. That's an incredible journey! Along their route, Monarchs depend on milkweed as a food source for caterpillars. Mississippi's highways are home to several species of milkweed. The most common species is green milkweed.

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Green Milkweed Seed Pod

You Can Help!

* Plan mowing schedules around the critical period for Monarchs.

* Plant native milkweed species along roadsides and yards.

* Plant native wildflowers to encourage pollination and attract adult butterflies.

* Spread the word!