Posted: Mar 29, 2014 8:01 AM
Updated: Mar 29, 2014 8:02 AM
HOUSTON (AP) A half-century ago Monarch butterflies found plenty of nourishment migrating from Mexico to Texas. Native white-flowering balls of antelope milkweed covered grasslands, growing alongside nectar-filled wildflowers.
But now, these orange-and-black winged butterflies find mostly buildings, manicured lawns and toxic, pesticide-filled plants after crossing the Rio Grande.
Already hampered by disappearing habitat in Mexico and years of drought, the Monarch is getting help from a Texas state agency that is preserving ecosystems. Nonprofits are also offering grants and rare plant seedlings to boost habitat.
Each grant is a few hundred dollars, and the way-stations just small beds of milkweed and wildflowers. But Nature Conservancy ecologist Charlotte Reemts says each small garden helps because habitat is rapidly disappearing.