"Conservation Efforts Target Monarchs As ESA Decision Looms"

"The Fish and Wildlife Service has committed to making its call on protections for the butterfly by December."

"Judgment day approaches for the monarch butterfly.

Bound by a court settlement, the Fish and Wildlife Service is supposed to decide by early December whether the monarch warrants listing as threatened or endangered. Although the agency misses many Endangered Species Act deadlines, it appears determined to meet this one after several years of study.

“We wanted to make sure that we have all the best science available … and we wanted to make sure that we were able to gather all that information and make a quality decision,” said Nicole Alt, director of FWS’ Center for Pollinator Conservation.

With the migratory butterfly passing through dozens of states, a decision to list the species could be accompanied by the designation of an expansive critical habitat. Combined with other regulatory implications, this could make the long-delayed monarch listing call one of the most consequential actions in the history of the ESA. It also appears likely, some monarch experts say, given the bleak population trends that led FWS to conclude in 2020 that “monarch viability is declining and is projected to continue declining over the next 60 years.”"

Michael Doyle reports for E&E News May 20, 2024.

Source: E&E News, 05/21/2024