top
Newswire
Calendar
Features
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Related Categories: Santa Cruz Indymedia | Environment & Forest Defense
Stone Bill Protects Monarch Butterfly Habitat
by Assemblymember Mark Stone
Tuesday Feb 27th, 2018 4:51 PM
SACRAMENTO, February 14, 2018 — Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) has introduced legislation to protect and restore the habitat of one of California’s iconic monarch butterfly. AB 2421 provides funds and technical assistance to restore monarch habitats across the state.
sm_central-america-monarch-butterfly.jpg
“Monarch butterflies are dying off at alarming rates, and as their population declines, the ecosystem is threatened,” said Stone. “This measure provides grants and support to farmers, ranchers, nonprofits and public agencies to restore and protect monarch habitats.”

Experts estimate the populations overwintering on the California coast have declined from about 3 million in the 1980s to just 300,000 – a 90 percent decline over just three decades. Scientists argue that there is a 72 percent chance that the butterflies will go extinct within the next 20 years.

Specifically, AB 2421 would establish the Monarch & Pollinator Rescue Program (MPRP) at the Wildlife Conservation Board. MPRP would provide grants and technical assistance to applicants to restore California prairie in an effort to recover and sustain populations of monarchs and other pollinators. Further, the program would coordinate efforts to restore breeding and overwintering habitat throughout the monarch’s range, particularly on farms and ranches in the Central Coast, Central Valley, and Sierra Nevada foothills.

“AB 2421 is exactly the type of urgent action we need to recover the monarch butterfly here in California, and beyond,” said Eric Holst, associate vice president of working lands at Environmental Defense Fund, a sponsor of the measure. “To achieve the amount of habitat needed, we will need all hands on deck, including supportive partnerships between state and local leaders, food companies and agribusiness, chemical and seed companies, and philanthropic organizations and foundations. I’m glad to see California leaders rising to the occasion.”

In the summer, monarchs breed in California prairie habitat, which is a blend of grasses, native wildflowers, and milkweed that once carpeted the Central Valley. The geographic range of California prairie has dramatically shrunk in modern times from pesticide use, expanded development, and climate change. For monarchs, the most critical component of breeding habitat is milkweed, which is the only plant on which monarchs will lay eggs, and the only plant the caterpillars eat. Monarchs overwinter in sensitive forest habitat along the Central Coast, where habitat loss has occurred as a result of development, land management decisions, and climate change.

Monarch butterflies are important to humans because they use resources that are common to many pollinators; as a result, their numbers reflect general pollinator population success. The butterflies also serve as a key source of food for birds, small animals, and other insects. Humans rely on a healthy pollinator population for stable, secure food sources and ecosystems; therefore, it is necessary to take action to protect monarchs.


Contact: Arianna Smith
arianna.smith [at] asm.ca.gov
916-319-2029


Photo: A monarch butterfly in flight (photo credit: Environmental Defense Fund).


https://a29.asmdc.org/press-releases/20180214-stone-bill-protects-monarch-butterfly-habitat



Bill Text:


ASSEMBLY BILL No. 2421

Introduced by Assembly Member Mark Stone

February 14, 2018

An act to add Article 3.7 (commencing with Section 1374) to Chapter 4 of Division 2 of the Fish and Game Code, relating to pollinators.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST

AB 2421, as introduced, Mark Stone. Wildlife Conservation Board: Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Rescue Program.

The Wildlife Conservation Law of 1947 establishes the Wildlife Conservation Board and requires the board to determine the areas in the state that are most essential and suitable for certain wildlife-related purposes. Under that law, the Wildlife Conservation Board may authorize the Department of Fish and Wildlife or the State Public Works Board to acquire real property, rights in real property, water, or water rights for the benefit of wildlife.

The Rangeland, Grazing Land, and Grassland Protection Act requires the Wildlife Conservation Board to carry out the California Rangeland, Grazing Land, and Grassland Protection Program to protect California’s rangeland, grazing land, and grasslands through the use of conservation easements.

Existing law authorizes the Department of Fish and Wildlife to take feasible actions to conserve monarch butterflies and the unique habitats they depend upon for successful migration and authorizes the department to partner with federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, academic programs, private landowners, and other entities that undertake actions to conserve monarch butterflies and aid their successful migration.

This bill would establish the Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Rescue Program, to be administered by the Wildlife Conservation Board, for the purpose of recovering and sustaining populations of monarch butterflies and other pollinators. To achieve these purposes, the bill would authorize the board to provide grants to private landowners, nonprofit organizations, or public agencies, for the restoration of California prairie on private and public lands and to provide technical assistance to those grant recipients. The bill would establish the Monarch Butterfly Rescue Fund Account in the State Treasury, and would authorize expenditure of moneys in the fund, upon appropriation by the Legislature, for purposes of the program.


DIGEST KEY

Vote: majority Appropriation: no Fiscal Committee: yes Local Program: no


BILL TEXT


THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. The Legislature hereby finds and declares all of the following:

(a) Monarch butterflies are a favorite butterfly of people throughout North America, and concern for their survival brings people together like few other wildlife species such that, in February 2014, the United States, Mexico, and Canada joined efforts to ensure monarch butterfly recovery.
(b) Experts estimate that monarch butterfly populations overwintering on the California coast have declined to about 300,000 individual monarch butterflies, which is a fraction of its peak estimated to be over three million in the early 1980s.
(c) These same experts estimate that the probability of extinction of migrating monarch butterflies in the western United States is 72 percent over the next 20 years.
(d) Monarch butterflies face a number of threats, including loss of overwintering habitat, disease, and predation. But the consensus of most scientists studying their decline believe that the most critical threat is the loss of their breeding habitat.
(e) Since nearly one-third of the most promising California winter habitat for monarch butterflies is on privately owned land, collaboration with landowners is critical. Fortunately, many landowners are some of the strongest advocates for protecting and restoring overwintering and breeding habitat for the monarch butterfly.
(f) Concentrated action to restore breeding habitat throughout the monarch butterfly’s spring and summer range, particularly on farms and ranches in the Central Valley and Sierra Nevada foothills, can help rebuild populations relatively quickly.
(g) The monarch butterfly’s breeding habitat is California prairie, a blend of grasses, native wildflowers, and milkweed that, as documented by John Muir in the 1870s, once carpeted the Central Valley. Milkweed is the critical component. Monarch butterflies exclusively lay eggs on several species of milkweed and they only feed on milkweed during the caterpillar stage. This same habitat, California prairie, provides food and shelter to a wide variety of pollinators, including native bees and bumblebees, and dozens of bird and mammal species.

SEC. 2. Article 3.7 (commencing with Section 1374) is added to Chapter 4 of Division 2 of the Fish and Game Code, to read:

Article 3.7. Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Rescue Program

1374. (a) The Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Rescue Program is hereby established and shall be administered by the Wildlife Conservation Board.
(b) The purpose of the program is to recover and sustain populations of monarch butterflies and other pollinators.
(c) To achieve the purposes of the program, the Wildlife Conservation Board may do both of the following:
(1) Provide grants for the restoration of California prairie on private and public lands to private landowners, nonprofit organizations, or public agencies.
(2) Provide technical assistance to grant recipients, including farmers and ranchers, regarding restoration of California prairie.

1374.1. (a) The Monarch Butterfly Rescue Fund Account is hereby created in the State Treasury. The account shall be administered by the Wildlife Conservation Board. Moneys in the fund may be expended, upon appropriation by the Legislature, for the purposes of this article.
(b) Moneys may be deposited into the fund from gifts, donations, funds appropriated by the Legislature for the purposes of this article, or from federal grants or other sources, and shall be used for the purpose of implementing this article, including administrative costs.

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB2421