The United States Fish and Wildlife Service announced a plan to pump $20 million into habitat restoration efforts for monarch butterflies over the next five years.
Monarch butterflies are in a perilous situation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service just announced a $20 million cash boost to ongoing rescue efforts. According to a report from Maine News, Fish and Wildlife Director Dane Ashe and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced that the agency would dedicate $4 million over each of the next five years to help protect the endangered butterfly.
The monarch is famous for its distinctive orange and black patterns and its appearances in elementary school classrooms across the nation. The support follows a White House initiative to support populations of key pollinators through habitat restoration efforts.
Ashe visited a monarch conservation celebration at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge to announce that the funds given to FWS for the rescue efforts will be devoted to specific partners that can help protect migration and breeding habitats in certain areas across the country.
Of the restoration efforts, the most important is planting native milkweed, the monarch’s favorite food. The effort will seed the plant along the prairie that follows Interstate 35, which runs from Duluth to Texas.
Monarchs are also known for their extensive migratory paths – the travel from the north each year to the tropical regions near the equator to breed in the winter. The increased financial support will help minimize the loss of butterflies along this path, which dropped from 1 billion in 1996 to just an estimated 56.5 million this year.