Gulf-Houston Monarch Flyway Strategy (MFS)

The Gulf-Houston Region is rich with prairie lands and extensive riparian corridors that create conducive opportunities for monarch and other pollinator habitat for use in parks, schools, large prairie landscapes, public rights of way, utility line and pipeline easements and surrounding NWRs which create the type of natural network for monarch population needs. The Gulf-Houston Monarch Flyway Strategy (MFS) was created as a collaborative region-wide effort focused on the preservation and creation of monarch butterfly and other pollinator habitat in the 8-county area in and around Greater Houston.  The many partners of the Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan (RCP) came together to develop this regional Monarch conservation plan as an integrated part of the projects contained in the 5 Key initiatives of the RCP (see map below). This region is the last flyway link between the U.S. and Mexico and is critical to the creation and preservation  of habitat for the monarch’s migration and population growth.

Collectively, these regional projects are part of the three-phase Monarch Flyway Strategy to reverse the decline of the monarch population while simultaneously increasing the number of pollinator plants needed for ecological and crop sustainability in our Region:

Phase A - Grass and riparian lands in urban areas
Phase B - Rural/suburban areas
Phase C - Sustainability and long-term maintenance of these areas 

Below are the four (4) key parts all phases of the Gulf-Houston Monarch Flyway Strategy:  

1)    Habitat Conservation

a.    Inventory of current habitat conservation and management activities on public & private lands in Gulf-Houston Monarch Flyway Region
b.    Conservation and perpetuation of flora resources and larval host plants on public & private lands in Gulf-Houston Monarch Flyway Region, including:

  • Increasing Native Pollinator & Milkweed Seed Supply
  • Growing Milkweed & Nectar Plants for mass distribution in the region
  • Creation of multiple pollinator gardens in urban and suburban areas
  • Incorporation of native pollinator plants and host milkweed plants in residential and commercial landscaping 

c.    Creation & distribution of Native Pollinator Protocols for public & private lands in Gulf-Houston Monarch Flyway Region

2)    Education and Outreach

a.    Monarch Butterfly Interpretative Signage
b.    Presentations, Workshops, and Field Days to convey the importance of multi-native species approach to land management
c.    Participation in a Houston-based Monarch Summit in Fall of 2017 to build collaboration and streamline conservation efforts to minimize duplicative efforts with the Gulf-Houston Monarch Flyway Strategy

3)    Research, Monitoring, and Job Creation

a.    Internal and External Research on Native Pollinator Conservation

  • Annual census to gain insight on the extent restoration enhanced populations
  • Assess pocket prairies and gardens for pollinators

b.    Citizen-Science Initiative to Assess Native Milkweed Species in Gulf-Houston Region

  • Increase HISD schools with a pollinator garden
  • Hold classes on Monarch Flyway Strategy techniques at HPARD's Judson Robinson Jr. Community Center

4)    Partnerships and Collaboration

a.    High-level dialogue with national, state and local organizations and state agencies to promote Monarch and native pollinator conservation efforts
b.    Partner with current opportunities for the Gulf -Houston Region including Native Plant Society of Texas, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services, TSSWCB, and Laura Bush Center’s Texan by Nature


Partners of the Gulf-Houston MFS include:  

  • Katy Prairie Conservancy
  • MD Anderson
  • Memorial Park Conservancy
  • Monarch Gateway
  • National Wildlife Federation
  • Native Prairies Association of Texas
  • Native Prairies Society of Texas
  • Rebuilding Together Houston
  • Student Conservation Association
  • Texan by Nature
  • Texas Park and Wildlife Service
  • Trees for Houston
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service 
  • Wildlife Habitat Federation
  • Armand Bayou Nature Center
  • Bayou Land Conservancy
  • Buffalo Bayou Partnership
  • Coastal Prairie Partnership
  • East End MD
  • Furr HS - Green Ambassadors
  • Greens Bayou Coalition
  • Hermann Park Conservancy
  • Houston Arboretum & Nature Center
  • Houston Audubon
  • Houston Parks and Recreation Department
  • Houston Parks Board
  • Houston Wilderness
  • Houston Zoo
  • Houston Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership


GIS project map last updated in August 2016

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