Stearns County Eyes New Butterfly Agreement

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ST. CLOUD (WJON News) – Stearns County officials are asking for your input on a new conservation plan.
Stearns County is considering enrolling in the Monarch Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances through the University of Illinois at Chicago and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
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The Monarch Butterfly population has dropped dramatically over the past few decades, and officials believe it’s likely the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose listing the Monarch Butterfly on the Endangered Species List this fall. Listing on the Endangered Species Act would cause county officials to consider butterfly habitats in road management practices.
Enrolling in the program would protect county road maintenance and construction activities if the Monarch Butterfly should get listed under the Endangered Species Act.
This would include the following:
“Business as usual” for county road maintenance and construction activities.
Cutting and haying of road rights of way would continue.
The costs of enrolling in the program include:
Annual fees (approximately $3,700 annually)
Enrollment and application fee ($3,000)
Restrictions to the public on adopted acres (ATV/UTV use, cutting and haying roadsides) during periods when the Monarch Butterfly is present.
The agreement does not cover new road construction.
A list of the proposed costs of entering the agreement, and the rationale behind entering the agreement, can be found on the Stearns County website here.
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