Monarch butterfly populations have declined by 90 percent during the last two decades. Fortunately, golf courses can make a difference in butterfly and pollinator conservation. Monarchs in the Rough is a pollinator protection program that has already shown great promise in its first year. The USGA is working with Audubon International to establish a network of pollinator habitat demonstration sites on golf courses across the country. The sites are marked with educational signs and provide the habitat needed by a variety of pollinators.
In 2018, Audubon International received a $150,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to support Monarchs in the Rough habitat projects. The USGA provided $100,000 of matching funds that will help increase stewardship activities and increase monarch butterfly habitat on golf courses. Originally, the grant was for 10 states including Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin because these states are on the monarch butterfly’s primary migration route. In March, the NFWF expanded the program to include Ohio and all states west of the Mississippi River.