RECENT MONARCH LISTING EXPLAINED
On December 15, 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that listing the monarch as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act is warranted, but precluded by higher priority listing actions. The decision is the result of an extensive status review of the monarch that compiled and assessed the monarch’s current and future status. The monarch is now a candidate under the Endangered Species Act; the USFWS will review its status annually until a listing decision is made.
The following paragraph from Monarch Joint Venture‘s blog post on the ESA decision explains what this means in more detail: The rule that listing monarch butterflies is “warranted but precluded” means that while monarch butterflies would benefit from protections granted under the ESA, there are currently higher priority listing actions that take precedence. With this announcement, monarch butterflies become a candidate species. While candidate species do not have legal protections under the Endangered Species Act, candidate species status highlights the need for continued monitoring, voluntary conservation, and support of the monarch population. To support candidate conservation efforts, the USFWS works with partners to improve habitat and address threats to the population, while also continuing to review the status of the species. The monarch will remain a candidate species until they are listed under the ESA, or until the population recovers and special protections are no longer needed. The status of candidate species is re-evaluated annually. In the case of the monarch butterfly, the USFWS states that they plan to propose the monarch for listing in fiscal year 2024 if listing is still warranted (as prioritized by the National Listing Workplan).
As a candidate species, there are no legal regulations for the monarch butterfly under the Endangered Species Act. However, interim programs and projects that work towards the recovery of monarch butterflies will be put in place through the Candidate Conservation Program. This program allows the Service to work with partners to improve monarch habitat and address threats to the population, while also continuing to review the status of the population. Learn more about the Candidate Conservation Program.
You can find additional answers to your questions in this FAQ from Monarch Joint Venture.
WHY RESTORING & ESTABLISHING POLLINATOR HABITAT IS A WIN-WIN FOR BUSINESS AND CONSERVATION
Saving money, reducing your carbon footprint, supporting the food system, saving water, establishing wildlife habitat are some of the many reasons why pollinator habitat is good for business and the bottom line.
Pollinators are a major part of a natural food web, pollinating over 75% of our crops. Additionally, insects form the foundation of a balanced ecosystem that sustains higher forms of wildlife. Providing enough habitat throughout the migratory pathway is essential to maintaining and improving conditions for the unique and beautiful monarch as well as numerous other species of wildlife.
Restoring a diverse habitat of native grasses, forbs, and wildflowers will increase productivity and the wildlife potential of the land. Native grasses, when compared to introduced grasses, are drought tolerant and low maintenance–saving you money and storing carbon! Native grasses have adapted to the poor soils common to many parts of Texas yet provide lush, high protein forage under normal rainfall without the need for expensive fertilizers.
The monarch butterfly makes an annual migration from Canada to Mexico, passing through Texas along its pathway. Texas is known as “the funnel” of the monarch migration because of its geographic positioning. Monarch butterflies must pass through our state during both phases of their migration each year. This happens every spring and fall and makes Texas a crucial place for monarch and pollinator habitat.
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO
Create or restore pollinator habitat on your company property. Here’s a few resources that will get you started:
- Texan by Nature’s Monarch Resources
- Monarch Joint Venture’s Resources on Creating Habitat for Businesses
- CEMEX’s Texas Native Landscaping Guide
- Mowing and Management Best Practices for Monarchs
- Plant milkweed! Monarch Watch periodically has free milkweed available and you can purchase milkweed through their milkweed market.
Enroll in a CCAA. We know that many energy companies and transportation agencies are interested in what this decision means and its effect on the Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement for Monarch Butterfly on Energy and Transportation Lands (Monarch CCAA).
In short, the CCAA is now more important than ever! By enrolling now, CCAA Partners implement actions that could help save monarchs, potentially contribute to a “not warranted” determination, and provide certainty to their business operations. Further, the fact that USFWS determined that the monarch warrants listing means that the species is in trouble. Unless the species’ status improves considerably in the next few years, a future listing is assured.
To learn more about what this listing means for the Monarch CCAA check out this document and visit the Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group at the University of Illinois-Chicago’s website.
Support conservation organizations. A handful of organizations within our 90+ Conservation Partner network are committed to protecting and creating habitat for monarchs and pollinators. Contact us if you would like more information about our partners, where they operate, and how your company can support their efforts – we will be happy to connect you!
EXAMPLES TO LEARN FROM
- EOG Resources’ Pollinator Habitat on Rights-of-Ways Project
- CEMEX’s Balcones Dry Comal Creek Wildlife Habitat Center
- General Mills’ Multi-year, $4 million investment in pollinator habitat
- BAE Systems Pollinator Habitat
- Marathon Petroleum’s Texas City Campus’ Conservation Efforts
- Dell Technologies’ Round-Rock Campus Pollinator Habitat
TRACK YOUR EFFORTS & GAIN RECOGNITION
Track your efforts using the Monarch Conservation Database. Information entered here helps track where conservation efforts, actions, and plans are occurring and may be used to update the monarch butterfly SSA.
We want you to share your efforts with the world for others to learn from and recreate. The following programs offer recognition for pollinator and monarch projects: