Monarch Placed on Candidate List
Monarch Placed on Candidate List

On December 17, 2020 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) published its 12-month finding that listing of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus plexippus) is warranted but precluded by higher priority actions. With this finding, the monarch becomes a candidate species with a listing priority designation of “8.”  An “8” indicates the magnitude of threats to the monarch is moderate to low and those threats are imminent. In the announcement, the USFWS notes that 161 other species are currently prioritized above the monarch for listing consideration. Each year, the USFWS revisits the species status and listing priority as part of its annual Candidate Notice of Review. In related frequently asked questions, the USFWS indicates that it expects to revisit listing of the monarch in 2024. 

The USFWS’s announcement solicits any new information that may be relevant to its assessment of the monarch’s status. As we reported previously, in early 2020, the USFWS approved the “Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement for Monarch Butterfly on Energy and Transportation Lands” (“CCAA”). The CCAA and other ongoing federal, state, and local conservation efforts may ultimately provide enough monarch conservation that USFWS may revisit its conclusion that listing the monarch is warranted. On the other hand, recent data from the “Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count” indicates monarch numbers appear to be lower this year than in years past. Nossaman will continue to monitor and report on developments regarding the monarch’s status.

  • Brooke M. Marcus

    Brooke Marcus is a natural resources lawyer focused on assisting the renewable energy sector with maintaining compliance with environmental laws. She is go-to counsel for matters involving the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the ...

Nossaman’s Endangered Species Law & Policy blog focuses on news, events, and policies affecting endangered species issues in California and throughout the United States. Topics include listing and critical habitat decisions, conservation and recovery planning, inter-agency consultation, and related developments in law, policy, and science. We also inform readers about regulatory and legislative developments, as well as key court decisions.

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