Do you know that the Monarch Butterfly, the Illinois state insect, might be listed as an endangered species within two years? That’s right, in 1974 a third-grader from Decatur suggested that the monarch butterfly become the state insect and after effective lobbying by school children, the Illinois General Assembly passed the legislation in 1975. Oh, wait? You wanted to know more about the endangered species listing, you say, not the state insect? Right. Yes, indeed. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a 2014 petition to protect the monarch butterfly was filed under the Endangered Species Act. Based on information in the petition, USFWS determined that federally protecting the monarch may be warranted. The agency is now assessing the Monarch’s condition using the Species Status Assessment framework. IL Corn is engaged with many other stakeholders in formulating a state-level plan to address Monarch habitat issues, the goal being to prevent a so-called listing of the Monarch.
As the Fish and Wildlife Service states on their website, “Sometimes early conservation efforts can prevent the need to list a species under the Endangered Species Act, if they are effective.”
So what can you do to participate in early conservation efforts? You can find out more here https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/SSA.html.
You may also choose to participate on your farms and properties by establishing a milkweed population. This can be done in non-cropping areas and the boundaries can be controlled with typical herbicide formulations.
BASF has started a Monarch Challenge. Find out more on their Facebook page. They’ll even send you some milkweed plants to get you started.
Pollinator seed mixes typically include appropriate habitat and nectar plants for Monarch’s as well. Check with your local seed supplier to find out more.
Pheasant’s Forever has seed mixes available, too, customized by state. This Nebraska affiliate website has great information about pollinators and Monarchs specifically. http://nebraskapf.com/habitat-programs/pollinator/