Iowa group launches plan to help save monarch butterflies

Roadside ditches provide habitat for Monarch butterflies, which is one of the reasons a series of meetings the Minnesota Department of Transportation is holding late this month and early next month likely will see heavy attendance.

AMES, Iowa — An Iowa group has devised a strategy to keep monarch butterflies off the national endangered species list.

The Des Moines Register reports that the 135-page plan issued earlier this week is aimed at helping farmers, backyard gardeners and others boost monarch butterfly habitat in Iowa. Nearly 40 agriculture, conservation, business, utility and government groups, calling themselves the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium, pulled together the strategy.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering protecting monarch butterflies under the Endangered Species Act. Supporters of the protection say farming in the Midwest is among the reasons for monarch’s decline.

Steve Bradbury is an Iowa State University entomologist, and he says it’s unclear exactly how many habitat acres Iowa should add to help keep monarch butterflies off the national endangered species list.

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