Despite Delays, Monarch Conservation Efforts Continue in Iowa

HTML5 Icon

Dana Schweitzer
Department of Entomology
Iowa State University


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced an extension of the deadline to determine whether the monarch butterfly is warranted for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

The new deadline, December 15, 2020, was originally June 30, 2019. The federal court and current litigants agreed to the extension. It should be noted that the monarch is not currently listed under ESA.

Monarch ButterflyDespite the delay, conservation efforts to help the monarch survive and thrive are important as ever. Conservation and restoration of native species – including milkweed and a variety of early- and late-blooming forbs – will provide habitat for monarch butterflies, bees and other pollinators. Monarch butterflies face many challenges including the loss of milkweed and nectar sources in its spring and summer breeding ranges. Female adult monarchs lay eggs exclusively on milkweed plants.

With ongoing support from the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium, Iowa plans to establish approximately 480,000 to 830,000 acres of monarch habitat by 2038. The consortium is a group of 50 organizations, including agricultural and conservation associations, agribusiness and utility companies, universities, and county, state and federal agencies.

The Iowa monarch conservation strategy — developed by consortium members in 2016 — guides the implementation of voluntary, statewide conservation efforts based on the best available science. The focus is habitat improvements in rural landscapes that do not conflict with agricultural production, are sufficient in scale to support improved monarch breeding success and strive to complement other conservation programs.

During the coming months, USFWS will continue to evaluate the species’ status and corresponding conservation efforts. To learn more about managing or planting monarch habitat on your property, visit

Date of Publication: 
July, 2019