MONDAY, APRIL 12, 2021. BY XERCES SOCIETY.
Many insect pollinators are declining in California, including bees and butterflies. The Western monarch population has declined 99.9% since the 1980s, likely due to multiple factors including habitat loss and degradation, pesticides, and climate change. One important step we can take to protect these important animals is to increase the amount of habitat available to these species. To this end, The Xerces Society is offering habitat kits that contain climate-smart native plants to project partners who are willing to provide the time, labor, and land to develop habitats that support monarchs and other pollinators in California.
This year, we are offering several different kit types. Please take a minute to look through the different kit descriptions as well as the associated geographic regions, so you can determine which kit would be most appropriate for your project.
Kits available for the Sacramento Valley, the San Joaquin Valley, the Central Coast and Coastal Foothills, and the Sierra Nevada Foothills include (pick-up in Lockeford, CA):
- Wildflower Grassland Kit. This kit contains 1600 small herbaceous transplants (‘plugs’), including milkweed and other plants used by monarchs and pollinators, as well as some native grass seed. Each kit will cover ~0.3 acre if planted on 3 ft. spacing. Minimum order of 1 kit / project. Additional kits can be requested for larger projects.
- Hedgerow Kit. This kit contains 17 woody and herbaceous transplants (including milkweed), which will provide 100 ft of hedgerow when planted on 6 ft spacing. Minimum order of 5 kits / project. Additional kits can be requested for larger projects.
- Riparian Wildflower Kit. This kit contains 1600 small transplants (‘plugs’), including milkweed and other plants used by monarchs and pollinators, and native grass seed. This kit contains plants that do well in riparian areas and can tolerate some seasonal flooding. Each kit will cover ~0.3 acre if planted on 3 ft. spacing. Minimum order of 1 kit / project. Additional kits can be requested for larger projects.
- Riparian Hedgerow Kit. This kit contains 17 woody and herbaceous transplants (including milkweed), which will provide 100 ft of linear habitat when planted at 6 ft intervals. This kit contains plants that do well in riparian areas and can tolerate some seasonal flooding. Minimum order of 5 kits / project. Additional kits can be requested for larger projects.
Kits available for Southern California (pick-up in Valley Center, CA):
- Southern California Kit. This kit contains 32 plants, including 4 shrubs, 8 milkweed plants, and a mix of native grasses and forbs. Each kit will cover ~300 ft2. Minimum order of 3 kits / project. Additional kits can be requested for larger projects.
(Please note that we are not able to provide partial kits or smaller quantities per project than listed above. If applying for kits for multiple projects, please fill out a separate application for each project. A note to our RCD partners; Xerces will be counting these acres as part of our Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) grant deliverables, therefore, RCD’s receiving these kits will not be able to count acres for their own WCB deliverables.)
The kits are intended to be used to create or enhance monarch and pollinator habitat on working lands or public lands, with landowner or land manager collaboration. Applicants must be able to use the entire kit in one project area but it can be divided up within the area. For example, several plantings within one county park, or several areas on a farm or ranch. The kits are not intended to be used in home gardens or very small project areas. If you have questions about your project’s suitability or requests for technical guidance on your project, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are a number of different kits for different geographic regions of California. These regions include the Central Coast and coastal foothill regions, the Central Valley, the Sierra Nevada foothills, and Southern California regions. Kits are intended to be used by agencies to create or enhance monarch and pollinator habitat on working lands or natural lands, with landowner or land manager collaboration. The cost of the kit will be covered by Xerces. We particularly encourage kits from the Priority 1 Monarch Conservation Area, as habitat restoration work in this region should be especially beneficial to monarchs. However, projects in the Priority 2 area will be considered as well. Recipients of the Wildflower Grassland Kit, Hedgerow Kit, Riparian Wildflower Kit, and Riparian Hedgerow Kits must be picked up from the USDA Plant Materials Center in Lockeford, CA. The Southern California Kits must be picked up from Moosa Creek Nursery in Valley Center, CA.
We do not currently have source information on all species, but that information will be included at a later date. It will not be possible to source all seed in the same region(s) that kits are planted, but all species included in each regional kits are native to that region. Kits that are within 5 miles of the coast will not include milkweed but will have the same total number of plants. For more information on why planting milkweed near the coast is not recommended, please click HERE.
TO APPLY FOR KITS, PLEASE COMPLETE THE APPLICATION FORM BY APRIL 30, 2021. APPLICANTS WILL BE NOTIFIED BY JUNE 1, 2021. KITS WILL BE AVAILABLE IN OCTOBER/EARLY NOVEMBER OF 2021.
Below are the species lists, region information, and additional technical information for each kit. Exact species and numbers are dependent on nursery availability and may change.
Table 1. Tentative plant list for Hedgerow kits and Riparian Hedgerow Kits (pick-up in Lockeford, CA). Kits within 5 miles of the coast will not contain milkweed. Exact species composition dependent on nursery availability. Most species will be included as tree-band-sized transplants.
Table 2. Tentative plant list for the Wildflower Grassland Kit and Riparian Wildflower Kits (pick-up in Lockeford, CA). Kits within 5 miles of the coast will not contain milkweed. Kits that include showy milkweed will receive rhizomes of that species. All other species will be included as transplants. Exact species composition dependent on nursery availability.
Table 3. Tentative plant list for the Southern California Kits (pick-up in Valley Center, CA). Kits within 5 miles of the coast (1 mile south of Santa Barbara) will not contain milkweed. All other species will be included as transplants. Exact species composition dependent on nursery availability.
Featured Image: Western monarch (Photo: Stephanie McKnight, Xerces Society)
ABOUT THE XERCES SOCIETY
The Xerces Society is an international nonprofit organization that protects the natural world through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitats. Our name (which is pronounced Zer-sees, or /ˈzɚˌsiz/) comes from the now-extinct Xerces blue butterfly (Glaucopsyche xerces), the first butterfly known to go extinct in North America as a result of human activities. The Xerces blue’s habitat was destroyed by development in the sand dunes of San Francisco, and the species was declared extinct by the 1940s. For nearly 50 years, we have protected endangered species and their habitats, produced ground-breaking publications, trained thousands of farmers and land managers to conserve habitat, and raised awareness about the importance and plights of invertebrates in forests, prairies, deserts, and oceans. Our key program areas are pollinator conservation, endangered species conservation, and reducing pesticide use and impacts.
In 2020, the Lodi Winegrape Commission’s Research, Education, & Communication Committee contributed funding to expand the Xerces hedgerow efforts in the Lodi AVA to even more willing growers, since the demand for kits exceeded the amount which could be supplied via grant funding and the goals of the project align with those of the Commission. For more information on the benefits of planting vineyard hedgerows, click HERE.
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