Every year millions of monarch butterflies migrate from northern and eastern U.S. and Canada to spend winter in southern California and Mexico. Now, these threatened species are getting a little more help along the way, thanks to an agreement between The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), and more than 45 transportation and energy companies and private landowners.
The agreement protects habitat corridors along the butterflies’ migration path so they can more easily travel. This includes avoiding monarch-harming herbicides, holding off mowing when monarch larvae are developing, and planting more native plants that the species rely on for food and shelter.
200 energy, transportation, government, and nonprofit agencies collaborated to draft the agreement in a way that incentivizes private landowners to want to protect these species. The UIC’s role will be to serve as an intermediary between the USFWS and landowners.
Unfortunately, at the current rate, monarchs could be declared endangered by December 2020. This new agreement is a beneficial step toward protecting this vulnerable species. You can also plant milkweed and other native plants in your home garden to help protect these beautiful orange insects.