The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced May 24 that it has extended the deadline to determine whether the monarch butterfly warrants federal protection under the Endangered Species Act to December 15, 2020.
According to a press release from FWS, the deadline extension was agreed to by the Center for Food Safety and Center for Biological Diversity, who had petitioned the Service to formally assess the status of the butterfly. The extension allows the Service to focus additional effort on obtaining the best available science, including data from the latest overwintering surveys.
“Conservation of the monarch and other at-risk species is a Service priority,” said Charlie Wooley, the Service’s acting Midwest Regional Director, in the FWS press release. “Properly assessing the status of the monarch butterfly is a vast and complex undertaking. It involves significant data collection and analysis across a huge swath of North America. We thank the petitioners for agreeing to the additional time to ensure we get this right.”
The deadline extension will not alter the Monarch Collaborative’s work to enhance coordination and collaboration across agricultural stakeholders to promote establishment of habitat and implementation of practices that support the recovery of monarch butterfly populations in U.S. agricultural landscapes.
You can read the announcement of the deadline extension here.