The 2019 Monarch Conservation Implementation Plan is now available. This annually updated plan identifies and prioritizes monarch conservation actions in the U.S. that will help restore sustainable monarch butterfly populations.
It will take widespread collaboration between all sectors to reach our nation’s monarch conservation targets and preserve the monarch migration for generations to come. The Implementation Plan serves as a guiding document to support new or ongoing conservation actions, and is available for all to use.
Representatives from Monarch Joint Venture (MJV) partner organizations and other stakeholders, including members of the Mid-America Monarch Conservation Strategy, contributed to the 2019 Implementation Plan. As a national coordinating body for monarch conservation, the MJV will help identify opportunities for collaboration, and support and guide conservation actions carried out by partners.
Now is an important time to continue this work.
The eastern monarch population numbers saw an increase of 144% this year, occupying 6.05 hectares of forest in Mexico. Good weather conditions during the breeding season likely supported the increase, as well as efforts across North America to protect and restore habitats. However, monarchs cannot rely on persistent good growing-seasons to sustain them into the future. Collective efforts to establish, maintain and protect high quality habitat for monarchs are critically important, and must continue. If a population size of over 6 hectares were maintained, the eastern monarch population would be at a substantially lower risk of declining to a point at which recovery would be unlikely (Semmens et al. 2016).
Western monarchs, which overwinter in along California’s Pacific coast, are at an even greater risk of extinction than the eastern population. In the winter of 2018-2019, less than 1% of the historic population size remained. The Xerces Society, with a coalition of researchers and conservation partners, set a short-term goal to stabilize the western monarch population this year to ensure it can rebound from devastatingly low numbers.
Monarch conservation is growing as a part of larger pollinator conservation movement. Monarchs are an ambassador for pollinator, grassland, wildlife and environmental conservation. Efforts to create and maintain monarch habitat benefit many other species and issues, and the monarch’s charisma engages a wide range of stakeholders in conservation on a large scale.
The Monarch Joint Venture is proud to be part of this movement. The 2019 Monarch Conservation Implementation Plan supports an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to conservation. Any individual or entity is encouraged to use this plan to identify and integrate monarch conservation into their efforts.
The Monarch Joint Venture is a national partnership of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, businesses and academic programs working together to conserve the monarch butterfly migration. The content in this article does not necessarily reflect the positions of all Monarch Joint Venture partners. Header photo by Wendy Caldwell, El Rosario monarch sanctuary, March 2018.