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Butterflies off the ESA list--for now

WASHINGTON--In Washington, the American Farm Bureau is welcoming the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s report that will have the agency keep tabs the nation’s monarch butterfly population.

Fish and Wildlife announced that’ll keep the monarch butterfly off the endangered species list. The Service issued a “warranted but precluded” decision that means the monarch will be considered a candidate species for now. Ryan Yates of the American Farm Bureau.

"Instead of listing the Monarch as a “threatened species,” the Service will instead consider the species as a “candidate” for listing. So, moving forward, the service will review the monarch annually to make a decision on whether it's warranted listing as a threatened species at that time, or whether to keep it as a candidate species. Ultimately, I think what that does for stakeholders, it gives more opportunity for public-private partnerships to continue to support and enhance conservation efforts for the monarch," said Yates.

Yates says monarch butterflies migrate from Mexico to Canada each year, through U.S. farm country.

"That pathway crosses a great deal of land covering a large swath of the United States, and with that, creates opportunities when we’re looking to enhance conservation for the species. Ultimately, this species requires habitat as it progresses on its journey every year. Farmers and ranchers are in a unique position where they have the ability to invest in conservation measures through federal programs such as CRP to provide habitat benefits for bees and butterflies like the monarch," said Yates.

Yates and the Farm Bureau says farmers and ranchers are already striving to be part of the solution.

"We’ve been doing this for several years now, working with partners not only in agriculture but with the right of way groups, state DOTs, state wildlife agencies, who are also developing conservation plans. And so again, this really requires a pretty substantial public-private partnership that we are certainly very happy to be a part of, and certainly are committed to continuing the conservation efforts for the monarch moving forward," said Yates.