Governor Approves Ellwood Butterfly Grove Grant Extension

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Governor Approves Ellwood Butterfly Grove Grant Extension
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Source: City of Goleta

The City of Goleta has more time to complete improvements to the Ellwood Mesa Monarch Butterfly Grove. Yesterday afternoon, September 9, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 115 extending the use of a $3.9 million grant from the California State Coastal Conservancy until June 30, 2023. 

The Coastal Conservancy grant was awarded to the City in 2019 for design and implementation of the Monarch Butterfly Management Plan at the Ellwood Mesa/Sperling Preserve Open Space, a 137-acre open space area owned by the City of Goleta on the eastern edge of the Gaviota Coast.

California Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and California Assemblymember Monique Limón were both instrumental in getting the funds included in the State’s budget bill and extended to June 30, 2023. 

City of Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte expressed her appreciation for their support.  She said, "On behalf of Goleta, I want to express our deepest thanks to Senator Jackson and Assemblymember Limón for their stellar efforts to secure nearly $4 million to fund and implement our Habitat Management Plan. Thanks to them, generations of Goletans will enjoy safe and easy access to Ellwood Mesa, the butterfly preserve, and our beaches and ocean." 

Ellwood Mesa is one of the most important sites for overwintering monarch butterflies in California; in fact, a portion of the site is designated by The Xerces Society as “the premier Monarch site in southern California.” The butterflies arrive at Ellwood Mesa in mid-September and, as winter approaches, cluster into aggregation roosts, often called overwintering or wintering colonies. The project is needed because the monarch population is experiencing a sudden and significant decline in western North America. Monarch overwintering populations throughout California have been in steep decline for the past several years. Locally at Ellwood Mesa, monitoring indicated only 271 butterflies were present at the height of the migration this past winter, down drastically from a recent high of 47,500 butterflies in the grove during 2011-2012.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently evaluating whether the species warrants listing under the Endangered Species Act.

The grant funding specifically supports enhancement of a 75-acre portion of the Ellwood Mesa Open Space used by monarch butterflies. The project consists of implementing the Monarch Butterfly Habitat Management Plan, which identifies how the City will preserve, restore, and enhance monarch butterfly overwintering habitat. The project also includes enhancement of other wildlife habitat, education and outreach, trail improvements, signage, monitoring, research, and implementation of the Community Wildfire Protection Plan.

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vvorker Sep 10, 2020 07:47 PM
Governor Approves Ellwood Butterfly Grove Grant Extension

Hate to break the bad news, but I have not seen much monarch action out in Elwood in the past 3 years, I ride the grove few time a moon!
Seen a Big cluster walking the tracks out near Naples, and heard they are in the grove across the street from Train Museum on Los Caneros Rd.
Imagine they are smart critters, and if I had wings, I would look for better than Elwood these days!

haskelslocal Sep 11, 2020 07:09 AM
Governor Approves Ellwood Butterfly Grove Grant Extension

Improvement money. But to be used on planning, signs, trails, etc. All human stuff irregardless of Monarchs. What do the butterflies need? Healthy trees. Drought has taken a toll on the trees. How about watering them? Start there.

chico berkeley Sep 11, 2020 09:13 AM
Governor Approves Ellwood Butterfly Grove Grant Extension

I would rather see that money spent on something else like-
Repair the pier at Gaviota.
Keep Haskell's beach open to the public.
Fund our underfunded and closed pet shelters.
As big a waste of tax money as the Snowy Plover baloney.
You can not force a species to live somewhere permanently because as climate changes their habitat and range for food changes. OUR climate progressively has been moving north for 40 years that I have been traveling from SB to Utah,Idaho, and Montana.
When was the last time anyone saw a Magpie?
Another animal that you now see in Utah, IN THE WINTER.
Monarchs WERE all over Goleta when we were kids.

tagdes Sep 11, 2020 04:01 PM
Governor Approves Ellwood Butterfly Grove Grant Extension

Chico Last time was 2 days ago for at least 4 different nesting Yellow-billed Magpies at Alisal and others at several other places. They are still common here as they've been in the Valley for years. Black-billed are still very common all over the west and up through Alaska. In Utah they are all over from Flaming Gorge, Brown Park and virtually everywhere around Elk Mountain....Yampa River Core Trail was 2 days ago at the longest. So you you don't have much credence in you thoughts.

Minibeast Sep 11, 2020 01:55 PM
Governor Approves Ellwood Butterfly Grove Grant Extension

Ellwood Bluffs and Coronado Preserve should be accorded *some* bit of maintenance. "Enhancing" the butterfly habitat must entail leaving the trees alone, leaving the trails as natural as possible and making sure that people respect the area. Absolutely no biking, no litter, no digging, no camping or any other destructive/disruptive activity allowed in or near the butterfly habitat. No tossing of rocks or sticks to "wake up" the butterflies, either. Keeping the grove safe for butterflies is important, but what the Monarch butterflies really need now is for people to STOP USING AND CONDONING THE USE OF PESTICIDES. In study after study, the Monarch butterflies' only food source for their caterpillars, Milkweed, has been found to be tainted with pesticides-------100% of Milkweed tested contained pesticides:------------- "June 8, 2020
University of Nevada, Reno
New evidence identifies 64 pesticide residues in milkweed, the main food for monarch butterflies in the west. Milkweed samples from all of the locations studied in California's Central Valley were contaminated with pesticides, sometimes at levels harmful to monarchs and other insects. 32% of the samples contained pesticide levels known to be lethal to monarchs, according to a new study." ( butterflies won't be staging any comeback numbering into the thousands until we all commit to not toxifying their food source.***************In case you don't feel like accessing the article, here's a bit more info:------------ "'We expected to find some pesticides in these plants, but we were rather surprised by the depth and extent of the contamination,' said Matt Forister, a butterfly expert, biology professor at the University of Nevada, Reno and co-author of the paper. 'From roadsides, from yards, from wildlife refuges, even from plants bought at stores -- doesn't matter from where -- it's all loaded with chemicals. We have previously suggested that pesticides are involved in the decline of low elevation butterflies in California, but the ubiquity and diversity of pesticides we found in these milkweeds was a surprise.'"

Gtownie Sep 11, 2020 11:00 PM
Governor Approves Ellwood Butterfly Grove Grant Extension

Perrotte hasnt accomplished anything as mayor in goleta. Under her leadership one thing is for sure - we should have stayed with the county. Get the city employees out of their homes and back to the office perrotte. Just a complete waste of tax payers money.

Eggs Ackley Sep 15, 2020 12:45 PM
Governor Approves Ellwood Butterfly Grove Grant Extension

#1 Exclude humans from the grove otherwise it’s a total waste of money. The monarchs thrived before they were intensively “managed”. Try managing the stupid humans instead, they’re easier to herd.

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