U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Service Director Dan Ashe Boost Monarch Conservation
August 20, 2015
Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and Service Director Dan Ashe. Photo by Katie Steiger-Meister/USFWS.
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe joined forces to show their support for monarch butterflies, announcing the Service will dedicate $4 million in funding for monarch conservation in the next year.
“This funding will allow us to work with partners to conserve monarch breeding and migration habitat in priority areas throughout the country,” said Ashe. “We will also focus on increasing the availability of seed for native milkweeds and nectar plants, education programs and other large-scale efforts across the range of the monarch.”
Amy Klobuchar and Dan Ashe tag monarchs at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Katie Steiger-Meister/USFWS.
Ashe said the Service will focus on first-generation spring breeding areas in Texas and Oklahoma, summer breeding habitat in Minnesota and other Midwest states, and areas west of the Rocky Mountains important for the western monarch population.
“From small business owners to elementary school students, everyone can play a part in helping preserve the monarch butterfly,” Klobuchar said. “With the butterfly rapidly disappearing, it was great to join committed Minnesotans and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to further our collaborative effort to protect the butterfly from extinction.”
Senator Klobuchar is a longtime monarch advocate, encouraging federal agencies to build on and strengthen public-private partnerships to preserve monarchs. She supports efforts such as the collaborative work among the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Wildlife Federation and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to reverse the decline.
The announcement came as Senator Klobuchar and Director Ashe hosted a Monarch Conservation Celebration at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Bloomington, Minnesota. The event featured Dr. Karen Oberhauser of the University of Minnesota’s Monarch Lab, and included a monarch tagging demonstration. Participants took part in fun, hands-on activities for families and young conservationists focusing on monarch biology, migration and habitat.
Monarch butterflies travel thousands of miles over many generations during migration, from Mexico, across the United States, to Canada. Monarch populations have dropped from a 1996 wintering population of more than 1 billion to an estimated 56.5 million this year. Loss of prairie habitat and declining numbers of milkweed, which sustains monarch caterpillars, are among the causes.
Director Ashe has pledged to restore and enhance more than 200,000 acres of monarch habitat on public and private lands this year, along with supporting more than 750 schoolyard habitat projects and pollinator gardens across the country.
For more information on monarch conservation, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/monarch/
Amy Klobuchar sharing monarch stories. Photo by Katie Steiger-Meister/USFWS.