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Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

The monarch butterfly is one of the most familiar and charismatic insects of North America, renowned for its distinctive migratory phenomena and reliance on milkweed, the monarch’s larval host plant. Once widespread and common throughout its range, populations have undergone significant declines. The western population of monarchs that breeds west of the Rocky Mountains and largely overwinters in coastal California has declined 74% since the late 1990s. The much larger eastern population that breeds east of the Rockies and overwinters in Mexico has declined at a similar rate. (Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. 2019. Western monarch butterfly conservation plan, 2019– 2069. Version 1.0.)

Monarch Butterfly Surveys and Habitat Assessments

During the permitting process often times agencies will require habitat Assessments and/or species surveys prior to project approval.  Reagan Smith Energy Solutions’ full service Wildlife Department is specialized in species surveys, habitat assessments and biological evaluations. We work with developers to determine best management practices and feasible mitigation measures to aid in the protection of habitat and protected species.  For more information about surveys or habitat assessments please contact Monica Smith Griffin, msmith@rsenergysolutions.com

Western Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan

In 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) was petitioned to list the monarch as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA). The USFWS found that the petition contained sufficient information to demonstrate that listing may be warranted and initiated a formal status review to inform their listing decision, anticipated in June 2019.

Concurrent with the status review, USFWS and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies have actively promoted collaborative efforts across state, organizational, and land ownership boundaries to address threats and opportunities facing monarchs and other pollinators. In 2017, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) established the Western Monarch Working Group (WMWG) to proactively lead a multistate cooperative agenda for conservation of the western monarch population. If implemented in a timely manner, WMWG efforts could preclude the need to list the monarch under the ESA. The Western Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan (hereafter “Plan”), is intended to articulate and attain WAFWA’s vision to identify and promote a shared set of coordinated, ecosystem-based conservation strategies across all partner agencies to achieve the vision of a viable western monarch population.

The Plan currently encompasses the states of Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington, which comprise the core of the western monarch range. In contrast to the eastern range, the western range is distinct in containing overwintering, breeding, and migratory habitats comprising the entirety of the monarch’s migratory life cycle. With the exception of the California wintering sites, critical knowledge gaps still exist on the distribution and quality of monarch breeding and migratory habitats and primary threat factors influencing monarch declines in the western landscape. (Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. 2019. Western monarch butterfly conservation plan, 2019– 2069. Version 1.0.)

For assistance with Monarch Butterfly conservation efforts please contact Monica Smith Griffin at msmith@rsenergysolutions.com

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