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    US to spend $3.2m to aid monarch butterflies

    WASHINGTON — The federal government on Monday pledged $3.2 million to help save the monarch butterfly, the iconic orange-and-black butterfly that can migrate thousands of miles between the United States and Mexico each year.

    In recent years, the species has experienced a 90 percent decline in population, with the lowest recorded population occurring in 2013 and 2014.

    About $2 million will restore more than 200,000 acres of habitat from California to the Corn Belt, including more than 750 schoolyard habitats and pollinator gardens. The rest will be used to start a conservation fund that will provide grants to farmers and other landowners to conserve habitat.

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    The move by the US Fish and Wildlife Service comes as it is in the midst of a one-year review to determine whether to classify the monarch butterfly as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, which would afford the butterfly more protection.

    Associated Press