U.S. agency pledges $20 million to save monarch butterfly

A monarch butterfly
Monarch populations have steadily declined during the last two decades. The monarch, pictured here resting on a flower, is Minnesota's state butterfly.
Gabriel Bouys | AFP | Getty Images 2010

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursday it will spend $20 million dollars over the next five years to help boost monarch butterfly populations.

The number of monarch butterflies has declined by about 90 percent during the last two decades.

Director Dan Ashe told MPR News host Tom Weber that the agency will be using some of the funds to build up the butterflies' habitat in the Midwest.

"Conservation on the local scale matters, so when someone plants milkweed in their backyard, schoolyard, state park, local park, national wildlife refuge, it makes a difference," he said.

The monarchs are known for their long migration across North America.

Ashe says his agency is cooperating with authorities in Canada and Mexico to ensure adequate habitat across the butterflies' long range.

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