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Rathdrum becomes first Monarch USA city in Idaho

This Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 photo provided by Darlene Burgess shows monarch butterflies at Point Pelee National Park in Canada. (Darlene Burgess / Associated Press)
This Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 photo provided by Darlene Burgess shows monarch butterflies at Point Pelee National Park in Canada. (Darlene Burgess / Associated Press)
Associated Press

RATHDRUM, Idaho – Officials in the northern Idaho city of Rathdrum are hoping a new designation will attract a new kind of tourists: Monarch butterflies.

The city is the first in the state to receive the Monarch City USA designation from the nonprofit group by the same name based in Maple Valley, Washington.

The Coeur d’Alene Press reports monarch cities plant milkweed and nectar plants within their boundaries to attract and aid the iconic orange and black butterflies. A small Monarch City sign featuring the butterfly will soon be posted at the city’s entrance.

Data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service show that nearly a billion monarch butterflies have vanished since 1990. The milkweed and nectar plants they rely on are decreasing across the country.

Rathdrum city administrator Leon Duce said city officials sought the designation after looking into whether milkweed is a noxious weed. Duce says they learned the plant category includes many flowering and native wildflowers.

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