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Ecosystem Conservation Working Table

The complexity of conserving North American ecosystems and their biodiversity requires trans-boundary collaboration. This table and its predecessors have worked together to advance an ecosystem-based approach to conservation, focusing in particular on opportunities for transboundary cooperation in the planning and management of terrestrial and marine protected areas and on wetlands and grassland conservation.

Mission Statement"To foster collaboration regarding designated conservation areas to ensure protection, management, and restoration of North American ecosystems and their biodiversity."

The CWS, USFWS, and the National Commission for Protected Areas (CONANP) are the lead agencies for this table.  A variety of other partners have made important contributions to this table's work, including Parks Canada, the U.S. National Park Service, the U.S. National Oceonagraphic and Atmospheric Administration/National Marine Fisheries Service, and the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (NACEC).


  • All three countries made significant progress on monarch conservation. Mexico convened the 2nd International Symposium for Research and Conservation of the Monarch Butterfly, September 2014, in Valle de Bravo, State of Mexico to review the 2008 North American Action Plan and develop a Domestic Action Plan for Mexico. This event was organized by World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-Mexico and the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve of the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP), in collaboration with the National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO), the State Government of Mexico, and the Government of Michoacán.
  • Over the last several years, the Ecosystem Conservation Working Table (ECWT) program of work has focused on landscape and seascape scale conservation, climate change and adaptation, and invasive species. In 2014-2015, in response to the precipitous decline in the population of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) and trinational commitment to working on monarch conservation, the Executive Table added monarch butterfly conservation as a fourth strategic priority.
  • Last fall, Environment Canada organized a monarch workshop for stakeholders and prepared and released for public review and comment a proposed Management Plan for the Monarch in Canada.
  • Federal agencies in the U.S. are developing monarch conservation strategies in conjunction with development of a National Pollinator Health Strategy. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) made significant commitments to monarch conservation in 2014-2015, including restoring and enhancing more than 200,000 acres of monarch habitat on public and private lands; allocating $2 million for  priority monarch habitat conservation planning, design, delivery, and inventory and monitoring projects; and partnering with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to establish the Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund, seeded with $1.2 million in February 2015.
  • In addition, the three countries collaborated on two monarch projects for the Commission for Environmental Cooperation’s (CEC) 2015-2016 Operational Plan: Engaging Farmers and Landowners to Support Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Conservation ($300K) and Monarch Flyway: Communication, Participatory Conservation, and Education Programs ($300K). 

Terms of Reference [pdf]