Effort to save monarch butterfly gets $20 million boost

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a $20 million plan Thursday to restore the monarch butterfly.

Director Dan Ashe told MPR News host Tom Weber that the Service will "dedicate $4 million in funding for monarch conservation in the next year."

The funding will repeat over the next five years. Pheasants Forever, Nature Conservancy, Xcel Energy and others are partners in the initiative.

Conversation highlights:

"Conservation at the local level matters," Ashe said. Planting milkweed in your backyard makes a difference.

The "Midwest in the United States is ground zero," said Ashe about monarch butterfly conservation. 50 percent of the butterflies that winter in Mexico come from the corn belt. Ashe says this is where we will win the "war to bring back the monarch butterfly."