Endangered Species Act Listing Decision for Monarchs is Released

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service announced on December 15th that adding the monarch butterfly to the list of threatened and endangered species is warranted, but precluded by work on higher-priority listing actions. With this decision, the monarch becomes a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and its status will be reviewed each year until it is no longer a candidate. 

A monarch sitting on a purple blooming plant with text saying "Endangered Species Act listing for monarchs is warranted but precluded"
Photo courtesy of Monarch Joint Venture

The U.S. FWS announcement summarizes information used to support their decision, including an assessment of ongoing voluntary conservation efforts. 

The Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium members will be reviewing the U.S. FWS decision in the coming weeks. 

To stimulate conservation of the monarch, the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium supports proactive, voluntary efforts that are vitally important to preserving the species. The Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium was formed in 2015 with a goal of promoting monarch breeding and survival in Iowa. The consortium is a group of 50 organizations, including agricultural and conservation associations, agribusiness and utility companies, universities and county, state and federal agencies. 

Establishing and maintaining monarch habitat on agricultural lands, urban and suburban areas, rural roadside rights of way and public lands is essential for Iowa to meet its monarch conservation target of establishing 480,000 to 830,000 acres of habitat by 2038. More details about this target and information on best management practices and activities to reach these goals are provided in the Iowa Monarch Conservation Strategy

Iowa's strategy is part of a multistate plan of 16 states. Iowa's habitat target represents approximately 12% of the regional habitat goal established in the multistate plan. 

Information about the consortium and how to support monarch conservation is available at: www.iowamonarchs.info.

The official 12 month finding for the monarch butterfly was posted in the Federal Register on December 17th.