Fewer Monarchs migrating through the Brazos Valley this year

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COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) - Every spring, Monarch butterflies stop in the Brazos Valley during their migration. They travel from Mexico to Canada. With spring fast approaching, the butterflies will return soon.

"They should be coming in the next two or three weeks and they come through northern Mexico through Texas. This is where they lay their eggs," said Dr. Craig Wilson, Texas A&M researcher.

Wilson said, this year, we aren't going to see as many Monarchs.

"The official count was done at the beginning of March and it works out that there was 124 million, which is down from about 149 million the previous year," said Wilson.

Experts say there needs to be about 300 million to sustain the migration.Wilson believes part of the problem is a lack of milkweed. The cold weather withheld it from growing back as fast.

"The caterpillars have to feed on milkweed and that's one of the reasons the numbers have plummeted. Milkweed is getting scarcer," said Wilson.

The City of College Station is trying to improve the environment for the butterflies. They are part of a mayor's pledge to help provide proper grounds to aid the Monarchs.

"The City of College Station Parks and Recreation department has planted over 100 nectar and milkweed seeds, as well as 300 nectar and milkweed plants, and over 5,000 individual seed packets," said Hallie Hutchins.

They say residents can also do their part to help out.

"You can pick up two free seed packets. It will be a great start to your garden. Just plant them. Find a sunny spot and rich soil," said Hutchins.

Those seeds are available for pickup at the parks and recreation building in Central Park.

Over the next few weeks, more than 500 Texas A&M students will be working on Monarch projects across the area to help create new habitats for them.

Wilson said he hopes more people get involved to help save the Monarch butterfly.

"Every little bit helps," said Wilson.