In a move that could have significant ramifications for Midwest landowners and farmers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced on December 31st, 2014 that it will consider the monarch butterfly for listing as a threatened or endangered species. Now, the 60-day window to submit scientific and commercial data for the species is coming to a close on March 2nd. At this time, the USFWS is asking for such information as existing conservation measures, population levels, and current range data for the monarch butterfly.
The USFWS lists the loss of milkweed plants as a contributing factor in the reduction of monarch populations. According to the USFWS status review announcement, the use of pesticides in agricultural production plays a part in reducing milkweed habitat for the species. However, in pointing out a potential conflict with rural landowners, some researchers are pushing voluntary incentives to revive monarch populations instead of the mandatory regulations that come with a species listing.
If you would like to provide information for consideration in the USFWS review of the monarch butterfly, you may do so until March 2nd. To comment, visit the federal regulation docket and click “comment now”. If you have questions on how this may affect your property and how to interact with the USFWS, contact me at email@example.com.