- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
And that it is. It's designed to alert people to a problem that needs fixing.
And that's good news for the monarch butterflies.
California Gov. Jerry Brown has just signed Assembly Bill 559, which gives authority to the Department of Fish and Wildlife to take actions to conserve monarch butterflies and their habit in California.
“In recent years California has seen a drastic decrease in the Monarch Butterfly population partly due to climate change," said Assemblywoman Patty López (D-San Fernando), author of the bill.
"Conserving this butterfly will have positive impacts on the environment and overall economy for tourism to continue to flourish in cities that the butterfly migrates to,” she said in a news release. "For decades these majestic creatures have called our state home and are an inspiring symbol to many of our communities because of its yearly migration.”
López noted--and correctly so--that monarch butterflies "have been on the verge of being endangered" in their natural habitat (the caterpillars feed only on milkweed) and that their food source has "slowly diminished in the state due to climate change and the use of herbicide among other factors."
The federal government, she said, "committed to conserve the butterfly by expanding public-private partnerships with state and local governments."
The bill is a big step toward California's commitment.
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, headquartered in Portland, Ore., helped develop the bill. "The significant thing about this bill is that it clarifies that the California state agency charged with wildlife conservation should, in fact, be working on the conservation of monarch butterflies," said Xerces communication director Matthew Shepherd. "This may not seem a big step, but until now, because of the way that the California state endangered species act was written with respect to invertebrates, it has been unclear whether or not California Department of Fish and Wildlife actually had the authority to work on monarchs. Now they, which allows the department to invest resources and staff time on monarch conservation."
Indeed, saving the monarchs begins with you and me. Get free milkweed seeds (Google "free milkweed seeds" or plant milkweeds obtained from local nurseries.
And why not forgo or cut back on Halloween candy and instead hand out milkweed seeds to the trick or treaters?
Now that's a real treat for monarchs!