The Keystone Monarch Collaborative noted today’s decision from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) that adding the monarch butterfly to the list of threatened and endangered species is warranted but precluded by work on higher-priority listing actions. This means USFWS has added the monarch butterfly to the candidate list and assigned it a listing priority number of eight. This priority number indicates the magnitude of threats is moderate and those threats are imminent. The monarch’s status will be reviewed each year until it is no longer a candidate.
“We conducted an intensive, thorough review using a rigorous, transparent science-based process and found that the monarch meets listing criteria under the Endangered Species Act. However, before we can propose listing, we must focus resources on our higher-priority listing actions,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Aurelia Skipwith in a press release. “While this work goes on, we are committed to our ongoing efforts with partners to conserve the monarch and its habitat at the local, regional and national levels. Our conservation goal is to improve monarch populations, and we encourage everyone to join the effort.”
The mission of the Monarch Collaborative would not have changed with any listing decision. Today’s announcement only reinforces the Collaborative’s commitment to promoting voluntary efforts to restore, enhance, and protect monarch habitat while maintaining producers’ flexibility in their operations. We will continue to work with our members to help farmers and landowners identify agricultural and conservation practices to support healthy monarch populations, increase awareness of those strategies with the agricultural community and other interested parties, and promote the implementation of those practices that will support monarch butterfly populations in agricultural landscapes.
Here is the link to today’s announcement from the USFWS.
To learn more about what the December 2020 ESA listing decision for monarch butterflies means for landowners, read this list of FAQs from the Monarch Joint Venture.