b'Science and Research Natural Resources Conservation ServiceThe Illinois NRCS State Biologist stays current on peer-reviewed publications and incorporates key findings into agency guidance and policy to ensure on-the-ground application is backed by science and that technicians use the latest technology and tools. NRCS representatives serve on several of the IMP committees, including the Science Committee, and share the latest technology tools and information with their respective committee members. Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) Dr. David Zaya, Dr. Ian Pearse, Dr. Greg SpyreasThe decline in the population of monarch butterflies and the connection to the decline of milkweed plants have stimulated numerous investigations of correlation. The understanding of milkweed populations is inadequate. This prompted Dr. David Zaya, Dr. Ian Pearse, and Dr. Greg Spyreas to develop a 2017 research paper titled Long-Term Trends in Midwestern Milkweed Abundances and Their Relevance to Monarch Butterfly Declines. The paper was published in BioScience. The researchers used a long-term plant survey from Illinois to evaluate trends in the population of milkweeds and the decline ofIllinois and measured the density of nectar/pollen plants monarch populations. The paper also highlighted habitat(with information at the species level), milkweed density, management practices that could promote enhancing andand monarch egg and larvae density in each plot. The CRP increasing milkweed populations. The research projectplots included CP42, other high diversity plantings (e.g. found that populations of milkweed species in naturalprairie restorations), and various lower diversity plantings areas have remained stable during the past 20 years, while(e.g. hayfield, big bluestem planting). Dr. Zaya also set up populations of milkweed in cropland areas have declined.an experimental milkweed planting, to see where monarchs Overall, Illinois has seen a 66% loss of milkweed availablemost prefer to lay eggs and how larval survival differs for monarchs. Management practices, such as less frequentbetween different areas. The researchers spent the rest of mowing and woody and exotic species control, promotethe summer tracking the planted milkweeds and revisiting diverse native grasslands and wetlands, and improve habitatthe identified fields for plant and monarch counts. The for the common milkweed species, A. syriaca., and thus,information from this study will quantify how CP42 and increase monarch habitat.other areas around the farm can contribute to pollinator and monarch resources. It can show where milkweed plantings IFB and Dr. David Zayaare most useful, and provide insight about monarch survival The Illinois Farm Bureau isin agricultural settings. working alongside Dr. David Zaya to better understandSouthern Illinois University Survey onmilkweed density in agriculturalFarmers Perceptions on Pollinator Habitatsettings, including set-asideResearchers at Southern Illinois University Carbondale conservation areas have sought farmer input through a statewide online and around the farmstead.pollinator survey. Dr. Kofi Akamani, Assistant Professor of During the summer of 2018,Forest Recreation and Conservation Social Science in the Dr. Zaya conducted a two- Department of Forestry, along with Chris Sedivy, a graduate part study, which surveyed theresearch assistant in the Department of Forestry, are hoping vegetation at approximately 40to learn about the barriers for farmer adoption of pollinator CRP plots across east-centralhabitat, and the potential actions that can be taken to help farmers increase pollinator habitat. The Ag Subcommittee is Dr. David Zaya conducting considering opportunities to use that survey into the future. field work.21'