Over 100 organizations requested an additional $100 million in funding for monarch butterfly conservation from the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee.
The groups signed a letter to restore pollinator habitat by planting milkweed which are monarch caterpillar’s only host plant.
Scientists estimate that more than 165 million acres of milkweed habitat has been lost in recent decades.
The cost of restoring one million acres of milkweed per year would be $100 million, based on the government’s own estimation.
“These beautiful butterflies are running out of time,” said said Stephanie Kurose, an endangered species policy specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Congress needs to take effective action to save the monarch before it’s too late.”
Both the eastern and western populations of monarchs are threatened by pesticides, severe weather and climate change. Monarchs are currently under review for Endangered Species Act protection.
In the past 25 years, the eastern population has declined by more than 80 percent. The western population has declined by more than 99 percent over the past 30 years.
It reached a historic low of less than 29,000 total butterflies in 2018 from 4.5 million in the 1980s.
Scientists estimate between 60-70 percent chance both populations will collapse in the next 20 years.