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Western Iowa Energy biodiesel employees seed plants at Monarch fuelling station

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Employees at Western Iowa Energy’s biodiesel plant have recently carried out a dormant seeding at the company’s Monarch fuelling station.

The seeding included native grasses and other plants that attract pollinators, including milkweed, which is the only plant monarch butterflies can lay their eggs on.

According to Iowa Renewable Fuels Association’s habitat establishment coordinator, Kevin Reynolds, many of the plants will spend their first growing season developing a root system, with some of the species growing quickly.

“Once the habitat establishes itself, Western Iowa Energy will be able to make a meaningful impact to help grow and sustain Iowa’s monarch butterfly population,” Reynolds said. “These pollinators need habitat and Iowa’s biofuels plants are leading the way in finding creative ways to expand the number of monarch butterfly habitat acres across the state.”

The Monarch fuelling station was set up earlier this year, with plant employees focusing on eliminating non-native grasses from the four-acre plot to prepare for seeding.

“We are excited to take the next step toward providing much-needed habitat for monarch butterflies and other pollinators,” said Kevin Bieret, operations manager at Western Iowa Energy. “We look forward to seeing the growth in the habitat come spring.”

The Monarch fuelling station was established by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, in partnership with the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium in December 2017. It aims to help Iowa’s ethanol and biodiesel plants establish monarch habitat on plant grounds.