The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) plans to invest over $3 million to plant more milkweed so monarch's don't starve. But the plan is an expensive, voluntary, stop gap. We still need Endangered Species Act protections for the monarchs to stop excessive use of Monsanto's chemicals.
Monarch butterflies have completed their 3000 mile journey south to Mexico, and there seem to be a few hundred more of them than last year1 -- a good sign for a species close to the brink of extinction. Even better, earlier this week the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced a $3 Million plan to plant more milkweed -- so the monarchs will have something to eat during their flight north in a few weeks.2
While this is good news, until we list Monarchs as an endangered species we can't stop Monsanto from selling GMO crops and chemicals that decimate milkweed. In just a few weeks, farmers will begin spraying Monsanto chemicals on millions of acres. That will do more harm to the monarchs than the FWS program does good, and potentially reduce populations to dangerously low levels again.
With just a few weeks left in the comment period, we're running out of time to convince FWS and President Obama to change their approach. Can you chip in to help us mount a bigger, more effective campaign to get FWS' attention before the March 2 deadline?
According to the World Wildlife Fund and Mexican authorities, 69 percent more Monarchs made it to Mexico this year, compared to last year. But that's still a tiny fraction of the number that should have made it, and the species remain close to the brink of extinction.
That's what makes this comment period so important. Yes, it's great that Obama's Fish and Wildlife Service has recognized that the drop in Monarch populations warrants consideration for listing them on the Endangered Species list. But getting them to act on that information, especially by taking on a multi-billion dollar chemical company like Monsanto -- that's the real challenge and the real goal.
We've got a plan to make sure FWS knows it's not enough to study the Monarch, they need to take action to protect it and it's food supply. But to make it work, we need to raise $5,000 before the end of the comment period. Donations will help us buy ads where FWS can see them, commission additional research and maybe even bring a supporter like you to the Monarch's Mexican wintering grounds. Can you chip in to help us make it happen?
Drew Hudson, Director, and the team at Environmental Action.
1 - Associated Press, Mexico: Monarch Levels Rebound, The New York Times, January 27, 2015
2 - Kate Sheppard, Government Pledges $3 Million To Save Monarch Butterfly, Huffington Post, February 9, 2015