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U.S. creates pollinator conservation center

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will establish a Pollinator Conservation Center focusing on the decline of pollinating species, including the monarch butterfly, announced Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Thursday. The Interior Department also announced a $1 million award to the Monarch Butterfly and Pollinators Conservation Fund at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for work that includes increasing the availability of high-quality habitat.

The steps were announced during a two-day summit at the U.S. Capitol on the monarch butterfly. “If we let the western monarch butterfly go extinct, we’ll lose an iconic, beautiful species, and a critical pollinator, forever,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat.

Haaland said the decline in monarch butterfly populations was a cause for alarm and would require collaborative action to reverse.

In 2020, the Interior Department said the orange-and-black butterfly met the criteria for listing as a threatened or endangered species, but it was put on a waiting list because there were higher-priority cases.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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