The Renewable Energy Group (REG) biodiesel plant near Newton, Iowa is growing a monarch fueling station.
Local Pheasants Forever representatives recently conducted a seeding of native grasses, milkweed, and other plants that attract pollinators. The mixture has a special emphasis on milkweed plants, the only plant monarchs can lay their eggs on.
Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Habitat Establishment Coordinator Kevin Reynolds helped REG get started with the project last year. He said while the majority of the plants will spend the first growing season developing roots, there will be some growth in the spring.
“It will take the habitat a few growing seasons to become fully established but some species will pop up as early as this coming spring,” Reynolds said. “It takes some patience in the beginning but after the first few years REG will be on their way to making an important impact for the monarch butterfly.”
REG – Newton’s Monarch Fueling Station spans one and a half acres. To prepare for seeding, plant employees previously focused on eliminating non-native grasses from the area.
The Monarch Fueling Station Project was established by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) in partnership with the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium in December 2017.