Recent attention to the proposed, threatened status of the monarch butterfly (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 12/29/14) has increased interest in conservation efforts and actions that can be taken to preserve and encourage monarch butterfly breeding in the upper Midwest. Below are several resources that can provide background and details.
According to Matthew Shepherd, Communications Director for the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation a new report about the monarch butterfly prepared for the U.S. Forest Service by NatureServe and the Xerces Society is now available. The Conservation Status and Ecology of the Monarch Butterfly in the United States summarizes the monarch’s North American distribution, life history, population, current conservation status, and potential causes of decline. The report concludes the eastern monarch population is “critically imperiled” due to recent rapid decline and widespread threats. The western population, with a slightly slower rate of decline and less widespread threats, was categorized as “vulnerable to imperiled.” The report provides a set of breeding and overwintering habitat management recommendations. Download the report from the Xerces Society website.
The Xerces Society has a separate page of information on milkweeds and milkweed sources for planting in landscapes, gardens and monarch habitats. Look for the Project Milkweed page on their website.
Monarch Watch at University of Kansas has been previously mentioned as a source of scientific information about monarch butterflies. Monarch Watch provides instructions to "create, conserve and protect milkweed/monarch habitats" through the Monarch Waystation program.