WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Monarch Action, Recovery, and Conservation of Habitat Act (Monarch Act) invests in the conservation and recovery of the threatened western migratory monarch and other native pollinators that are vital to healthy ecosystems, biodiversity and our nation’s food supply. Introduced by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), this important bill will help ensure States and Tribal Nations have the resources they need to recover the western monarch population that has experienced precipitous declines over the last decade.
“We need collaborative public and private investment and legislation like the Monarch Act to ensure the western monarch butterfly thrives for generations to come,” said Dr. Rebeca Quiñonez-Piñón, chief monarch recovery strategist for the National Wildlife Federation. “We must act now to prevent further population declines that could potentially lead to the extinction of the western migratory monarch. Thank you to Senator Merkley for prioritizing the conservation of this awe-inspiring species.”
"We are in full support of the MONARCH Act, which will provide much needed resources to implement the 50 year WAFWA Western Monarch Conservation Plan. The western monarch migration has dropped dangerously close to extinction, and many other pollinators are in the same boat. Pollinators are at the foundation of our natural world. These animals pollinate many crops and 80 percent of all flowering plants, providing food for humans and other wildlife. We are grateful to Senator Merkley for being a leader in monarch and pollinator conservation,” said Sarina Jepsen, endangered species program director with the Xerces Society.
Specifically, the bill authorizes $12.5 million in funding over the next five years to support the implementation of the Western Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan prepared by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. It also establishes the Western Monarch Butterfly Rescue Fund and authorizes an additional $12.5 million over the next five years to support the restoration of natural habitats for monarch butterflies and other pollinators. This fund includes access for Tribal and Indigenous organizations implementing monarch and pollinator conservation plans.
The breeding habitat of the western monarch population covers seven states including Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington, with most overwintering in hundreds of forested groves along the California coast. Over the past three decades, the population of western migratory monarch butterflies has declined by more than 99 percent due to extreme weather caused by climate change, indiscriminate use of pesticides, and the large loss and fragmentation of their breeding and overwintering habitats — that includes the loss of native milkweed and native nectar plants.
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