E&E News reported the Fish and Wildlife Service today unveiled a sweeping, multistate plan to protect the monarch butterfly – all without adding it to the Endangered Species Act list. The “candidate conservation” agreement unites state and federal officials with energy and transportation leaders on a common cause.
E&E News reports:
The agreement reached between the service and the University of Illinois, Chicago, “encourages transportation and energy partners to participate in monarch conservation by providing and maintaining habitat” on rights of way and associated lands, according to FWS.
The federal agency says “more than 45 companies in the energy and transportation sectors and countless private landowners will provide habitat for the species” and carry out conservation measures to reduce or remove threats to the species and create and maintain habitat annually.
Officials anticipate that up to 2.3 million acres may be enrolled in the agreement and managed for monarch butterflies and other pollinators.
This effort is an important reminder that infrastructure development and environmental conservation are not mutually exclusive. Many companies have expressed their commitment to responsible development and go above and beyond the required safety and environmental standards. Furthermore, local, state, and federal regulators oversee extensive permitting and approval processes that keep species like the monarch butterfly in mind. The future is bright with close cooperation like this between energy and transportation industry leaders and government officials and regulators.