[First Reprint]








Sponsored by:


District 27 (Essex and Morris)


District 16 (Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset)






     Urges U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list monarch butterfly as threatened species.



     As reported by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee on March 4, 2021, with amendments.


A Senate Resolution urging the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to list the monarch butterfly as a threatened species.


Whereas, The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is an iconic large orange and black butterfly that is one of the most familiar butterflies in North America; and

Whereas, Every autumn, millions of monarch butterflies undertake a spectacular multi-generational migration thousands of miles from Canada and the northern United States to Mexico and California, stopping along the way in places like New Jersey, to feed and reproduce; and

Whereas, Monarch butterfly populations in North America represent the vast majority of all monarch butterflies in the world; and

Whereas, Monarch butterfly habitat has been drastically reduced and degraded throughout the butterfly’s summer and winter ranges by the decline of nectar sources, commercial development, logging, and broader environmental changes; and

Whereas, One of the major reasons for monarch butterfly population decline is the increased use of pesticides that kill milkweed, the monarch butterfly’s preferred plant host; and

Whereas, Climate change also poses a dire threat to the monarch butterfly, as several scientists have predicted that the monarch butterfly’s overwintering habitat in Mexico may be rendered unsuitable by global climate change, and that much of the monarch butterfly’s summer range may also become unsuitable due to increasing temperatures; and

Whereas, Disease and predation also contribute to population decline and major threats facing the monarch butterfly include numerous pathogens, such as viruses, bacteria, and protozoan parasites; and

Whereas, The monarch butterfly population has declined by more than 90 percent in the past two decades, and is presently near the lowest population ever recorded; and

Whereas, The federal “Endangered Species Act” (16 U.S.C. s.1531 et seq.) allows a species to be listed as “threatened” when it is at risk of becoming endangered in a significant portion of its range; and

Whereas, Although there are small populations of monarch butterflies throughout the world, the North American monarch butterfly population is significant because without it, the redundancy, resiliency, and representation of the species would be so impaired that the monarch butterfly would become increasingly vulnerable to extinction; and

Whereas, Numerous other species have been protected under the federal Endangered Species Act that have large ranges and relatively abundant population sizes but have experienced precipitous population decline and face significant threats to their

     continued existence, such as the gray bat (Myotis grisescens), Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis), and piping plover (Charadrius melodus); and

Whereas, In 2014, a group of conservationists, including the Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for Food Safety, and the Xerces Society, petitioned the Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior, through the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, to protect the monarch butterfly under the federal Endangered Species Act; and

Whereas, Based on information in that petition, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that the monarch butterfly population may warrant federal protection, and began the process of conducting a thorough assessment to determine if the monarch butterfly should be listed as a threatened species; and

Whereas, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is presently developing a database to capture new, ongoing, and planned conservation efforts for the monarch butterfly, including the enhancement of blooming nectar plant habitats, and to help the agency and its conservation partners assess conditions for the monarch butterfly now and into the future; and

Whereas, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1[anticipates making a listing decision concerning the monarch butterfly in June 2019]  1announced in December 2020 that listing the monarch butterfly as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act is warranted, but precluded by higher priority listing actions1  ; and

Whereas, New Jersey has long supported the preservation of the monarch butterfly, and in 2017, passed two separate pieces of legislation helping to protect the species:  the “Adopt a Monarch Butterfly Waystation Act,” P.L.2017, c.250 (C.13:1B-15.162 et seq.), and the “Milkweed for Monarchs Act,” P.L.2017, c.252 (C.13:1B-15.170 et seq.); and

Whereas, New Jersey values the important role that pollinators, such as the monarch butterfly, play in the ecology of the State and the nation, and there is bi-partisan support in New Jersey for programs and legislation that protect and encourage pollinators and the habitats that support them; now, therefore,


     Be It Resolved by the Senate of the State of New Jersey:


     1.    This House urges the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to list the monarch butterfly as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act.


     2.    Copies of this resolution, as filed with the Secretary of State, shall be transmitted by Secretary of the Senate to the Governor of the State of New Jersey, to the President of the United States, the Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior, the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in the United States Department of the Interior, every member of Congress elected from the State of New Jersey, the Governor of New Jersey, and the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.