New Plan Aims to Reverse Monarch Butterfly Decline

National Wildlife Federation Calls on Americans to Submit Public Comments to Save Monarchs

Washington, D.C. – A draft conservation plan that provides a blueprint for reversing the decline of the eastern monarch butterfly population has been introduced by the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (MAFWA).

Eastern monarchs, those 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 essential for reproduction and fewer nectar plants. Pollinators, like this beloved butterfly, are responsible for 1 out of every 3 bites of food we eat, so protecting them for future generations is vital.

The draft plan, called the Mid-America Monarch Conservation Strategy, is welcoming public comment through May 31. The plan builds on existing efforts of state, federal, and local agencies, 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 eastern monarchs. The plan identifies conservation strategies for improving habitats including natural areas, agricultural lands, urban lands, and rights of way. State wildlife agencies and partners like the National Wildlife Federation and our state-based affiliates 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.

The plan primarily focuses on voluntary habitat restoration, mainly by planting milkweed, but also includes education and outreach, research, and monitoring needs related to monarch conservation. Its goal is to plant at least 1.3 billion stems of milkweed so everyone who can help is needed.

For more information, a copy of the draft strategy, and how to submit comments, please visit the MAFWA website at Mid-America Monarch Conservation Strategy.

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