Obama's Plan to Protect the 1500-Mile Flyway Used By Monarch Butterflies


Monarch butterflies’ 2500-mile annual migration hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing—er, flying—as of late. Luckily, POTUS has a plan to ease their journey. (#ThanksObama.)

In a report released May 19, a White House task force outlines a 5-year strategy aimed at slowing the startling decline of honey bees and Monarch butterflies, which are key pollinators our food supply depends on.

Each year, Monarchs embark on an epic, multigenerational odyssey. After wintering in Mexico, the butterflies begin their journey north, generally laying their eggs and dying in the southern United States. Their offspring continue the flight northward as far as Canada.

However, a marked decrease in the stuff butterflies survive on, including nectar-producing flowers and milkweed—which farmers and home gardeners alike have helped destroy using the popular herbicide Roundup—means their populations are shrinking.

That’s where the plan for a protected "flyway" comes in. Two federal agencies—the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service—will work to restore butterfly habitats along a crucial Monarch flyway corresponding with Interstate 35, a 1568-mile road extending from the Texas-Mexico border to Minnesota.

They'll team up to ensure there’s adequate vegetation along the flyway, as well as plenty of safe breeding habitats, and will spearhead an awareness campaign. The hope is that these measures will help increase the Monarch butterfly population from its current 56.5 million to 225 million by 2020.

Click here to check out the full report.

[h/t Quartz