Monarchs are a beloved creature, beautiful in their appearance and incredible in their ecology (did you know a monarch migrating from Wisconsin to Mexico will fly over 1,500 miles to do so?). Despite their popularity among the public, the eastern North American monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) population has declined by a stunning 90% in just the last twenty years (Xerces Society)! Let that soak in: only one in ten monarchs remain on the landscape.
Due to this massive decline, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) was petitioned to list the monarch as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act. As of December 2020, the USFWS determined that listing the monarch is "warranted but precluded", which means that based on evidence of their decline, monarch butterflies need protection but there are higher priority species that take precedence at this time. Here is an FAQ about the decision.
The 16 states along the eastern monarch population's migration path from southern Canada to central Mexico, including Wisconsin, will continue to voluntarily implement the Mid-America Monarch Conservation Strategy which outlines regional goals for species recovery. Partners of the WI Monarch Collaborative will also continue to voluntarily work towards the goals outlined in the WI Monarch Conservation Strategy in order to protect and increase monarch populations.
The Collaborative is comprised of six Working Groups and overarching Coordination and Communication Teams. The Working Groups are coordinated by the following co-leads: