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Eastern Iowa biodiesel plant announces monarch butterfly habitat

A monarch caterpillar perches on a milkweed plant in the Lowe Park Demonstration Gardens in June 2015 in Marion. Milkweed, the food source for monarch caterpillars, will be present on a 1-acre Monarch Fueling Station that Western Dubuque Biofuel plans for its plant near Farley. (The Gazette)
A monarch caterpillar perches on a milkweed plant in the Lowe Park Demonstration Gardens in June 2015 in Marion. Milkweed, the food source for monarch caterpillars, will be present on a 1-acre Monarch Fueling Station that Western Dubuque Biofuel plans for its plant near Farley. (The Gazette)

Monarch butterflies migrating across Iowa soon will have a new location to fuel up for their journey.

Western Dubuque Biodiesel on Friday announced plans to create a Monarch Fueling Station at the company’s plant near Farley.

The habitat will be about 1 acre. Work will begin this summer to eradicate non-native grasses from the field. A dormant seeding of native plants and milkweed — monarch caterpillars’ food source — will begin in November, according to a news release from the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.

Tom Brooks, Western Dubuque Biodiesel general manager, said in the release the project fits into the company’s efforts to be environmentally responsible.

“The Monarch Fueling Station Project is a unique way we can continue to do that. With this project, we are helping fuel a brighter future for the monarch butterfly and other important pollinators,” he said in the release.

The project is part of a larger effort by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association and Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium to expand monarch habitats on Iowa ethanol and biodiesel plants.

“As these Monarch Fueling Stations grow, that same passion and community-oriented work ethic will help these projects flourish and make a lasting impact for the monarch butterfly population,” Kevin Reynolds, the fuels association’s habitat establishment coordinator, said in the release.

• Comments: (319) 398-8309; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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