The Xerces Society has been a proponent of monarch butterfly conservation for decades. In the early 1980s, Xerces founder Robert Michael Pyle and Lincoln Brower worked to list the monarch migration as an endangered phenomenon with the IUCN, and the Society’s first employee was hired to conserve California overwintering sites at that time. In the last two years we’ve seen a remarkable increase of interest in monarch conservation. Two things in particular spurred this: the 2014 petition to list the monarch butterfly under the Endangered Species Act (submitted by the Xerces Society and partners) and the national pollinator strategy released by the White House, which has led to a policy that encourages all federal agencies to take action for pollinators — including monarch butterflies.
We have been able to draw on decades of experience in monarch conservation to contribute a rigorous scientific approach as well as expertise in habitat restoration, management, and conservation education to better understand the best approaches to recover monarchs. We have provided guidance, technical support, and pollinator expertise to federal agencies such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, National Park Service, and the U.S. State Department, and have worked under contract with the Federal Highways Administration to conserve monarch butterflies. Through our involvement in the Federal Monarch Butterfly High Level Working Group, the National and Tri-National Monarch Science Partnership, and the Monarch Joint Venture, we are advancing the science and practice of monarch conservation, and shaping state, national, and international monarch conservation priorities.