The return of monarch butterflies: Protection and restoration of milkweed habitat

Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) are one of the most iconic butterflies found in the U.S. These spectacular insects are fascinating in many ways, particularly with regard to their migratory patterns; certain populations of monarch butterflies will migrate thousands of miles to their overwintering grounds in California or Mexico.  Unfortunately, total populations have decreased by approximately 90 percent over the past two decades, with one potential cause of decline being loss of habitat, especially milkweed upon which monarch caterpillars feed. In the U.S., establishment of quality pollinator habitat is at the forefront of restoration objectives. It is critical for all organizations and agencies to work together to improve habitat for the monarch butterfly and other pollinators. In 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) was petitioned to protect the monarch butterfly under the Endangered Species Act. A decision will be made in June 2019 on whether the monarch butterfly will be placed on the endangered or threatened species list. To prevent monarchs from becoming endangered or, worse, extinct, we must be proactive with ensuring the safety of their habitats and food sources. Luckily, there are technological advances and preventative measures we can take to help. One way to combat the … Continue reading The return of monarch butterflies: Protection and restoration of milkweed habitat