monarch butterfly

Michigan DNR

Help Save The Monarch Butterfly! Comment Sought On Conservation Plan

May 16, 2018 - 7:55 am
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LANSING (WWJ/AP) - Public comment is being sought on a draft of a conservation plan expected to help reverse eastern monarch butterfly population declines.

The draft plan, called the Mid-America Monarch Conservation Strategy, builds on existing efforts by state, federal, and local agencies and private organizations and individuals. It covers a 16-state region stretching from Texas to the Upper Midwest that encompasses the primary production and migratory habitat areas for the butterflies.

Monarch butterflies found east of the Rocky Mountains have declined by more than 80 percent over the past 20 years primarily due to habitat loss, including reduced milkweed required for reproduction and fewer nectar plants.

The draft plan identifies conservation goals and strategies for improving habitats in various categories of land use such as natural areas, agricultural lands, urban lands, and rights of way. State wildlife agencies and partners will be working to add milkweed plants where lacking and to ensure diverse, nectar-plant-rich landscapes with blooming species during seasons when monarchs are present.

"This is the first phase of a long-term strategy that will require increased commitment of people and resources to support enhanced monarch and pollinator conservation and monitoring efforts by many partners over the next 20 years, Terry Steinwand, MAFWA President, said in a statement. 

Monarchs produce multiple generations each year and undertake a lengthy fall migration from the U.S. and southern Canada to the forested mountains of central Mexico where they overwinter. The goal of the strategy is to coordinate state and partner efforts to restore and enhance habitat to support an average overwintering population in Mexico occupying about 15 acres. 

The plan primarily focuses on voluntary and incentive-based habitat restoration and enhancement efforts, but also includes priority education and outreach, research, and monitoring needs related to monarch conservation. 

Comments on the conservation plan will be accepted through May 31. For more information or to submit a comment, visit mafwa.org.