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News Release

Aberdeen center studying milkweed to benefit butterflies

Derek Tilley
(208) 397-4133, ext. 104

ABERDEEN, Idaho — The USDA’s Aberdeen Plant Materials Center has started trials to determine the best planting methods for establishing stands of milkweed — a plant that fills a critical life-cycle niche for declining monarch butterfly populations.

The center, run by the agency’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, has additional trials planned for next spring, aimed at helping canal companies control vegetation along their irrigation ditches without harming milkweed.

Groups petitioned the monarch for a federal threatened species listing in 2014. The Aberdeen center’s manager, Derek Tilley, noted a listing could lead to new restrictions on both public and private lands, as well as on herbicide use.

“My thought is we get ahead of this and start working on monarch conservation before it becomes a major issue,” Tilley said. 

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