US to spend $3.2 million to help monarch butterfly

This photo taken Oct. 25, 2014 shows a Monarch butterfly feeding on a Duranta flower in Houston. The federal government pledged $3.2 million on Monday to help save the monarch butterfly, the iconic orange-and-black butterfly that can migrate thousands of miles between the U.S. and Mexico each year. It has experienced a 90 percent decline in population recently. About $2 million will restore more than 200,000 acres of habitat from California to the Corn Belt, including more than 750 schoolyard habitats and pollinator gardens. The rest will be used to start a conservation fund that will provide grants to farmers and other landowners to conserve habitat. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government pledged $3.2 million on Monday to help save the monarch butterfly, the iconic orange-and-black butterfly that can migrate thousands of miles between the U.S. and Mexico each year. It has experienced a 90 percent decline in population recently.

About $2 million will restore more than 200,000 acres (81,000 hectares) of habitat, including more than 750 schoolyard habitats and pollinator gardens. The rest will be used to start a conservation fund that will provide grants to farmers and other landowners to conserve habitat.

The move by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service comes as it considers whether to classify the monarch butterfly as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, which would afford the butterfly more protection.

“We can save the monarch butterfly in North America but only if we act quickly and together,” said Service Director Dan Ashe.

The monarch lays its eggs exclusively on the milkweed plant. Conversion of prairies into cropland and the increasing use of pesticide-resistant crops have greatly reduced milkweed, which is also an important food source, particularly in the heartland, according to the petition filed last August by environmental groups. The conservation projects will be focused on on areas that provide important spring and summer habitat along the butterfly’s migration path.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s