Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

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Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies
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Source: Office of Rep. Carbajal

[Last week], Rep. Salud Carbajal, Rep. Jimmy Panetta, and Sen. Jeff Merkley wrote to the Principal Deputy Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expressing concern with the recent decision to forego listing the monarch butterfly under the Endangered Species Act and urging substantial investments in monarch conservation efforts so this crucial pollinator does not go extinct before protections are in place.

This monarch butterfly faces growing threats from the loss of milkweed and habitat, global climate change, and disease. The most recent population count for monarch butterflies shows a 99.9% decline in population for monarchs west of the Rocky Mountains, which overwinter in California. Just two decades ago, roughly 1.2 million monarchs overwintered in California. This year, that number is down to 1,914. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service itself estimates that there is a 96-100% probability that the population of western monarch butterflies will collapse within 50 years.

On December 17, 2020 the Service announced that listing the monarch as endangered or threatened was warranted but was precluded by higher priority species. This decision effectively puts the monarch butterfly on a waiting list but denies the species immediate protection. Some species have been on the waiting list for decades and, in fact, 47 species have gone extinct while waiting for their protection to be finalized.

“If the monarch’s precipitous decline continues, the Service must make prompt use of its emergency listing procedure to ensure its survival,” the lawmakers wrote. “To ensure the monarch does not become the 48th species to go extinct while on the candidate list, we urge the Service to make substantial investments in bold conservation actions that not only prevent the butterfly from further decline but also ensure long-term population stability.”

The letter garnered support from 43 conservation organizations, including the Center for Biological Diversity.

“We’re so grateful for the leadership of Reps. Carbajal and Panetta and Senator Merkley, who recognize that time is running out for America’s most iconic butterfly,” said Stephanie Kurose, a senior policy specialist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Monarchs can no longer afford inaction. Without emergency help, these beautiful orange and black butterflies are on a sure path toward extinction. We need to be doing everything we can to save them and fight the extinction crisis. This letter to the Fish and Wildlife Service recognizes that urgency.”

Full text of the letter can be found here.

Groups who have endorsed the letter:

Animal Legal Defense Fund, Animal Welfare Institute, Asheville Alternatives to Pesticides, Beyond Pesticides, Born Free USA, Cascadia Wildlands, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Conservation Council For Hawaii, Conservation Northwest, Earthjustice, Endangered Species Coalition, Environmental Action Committee of West Marin, Environmental Center of San Diego, Environmental Protection Information Center, Friends of the Earth, Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf & Wildlife, Gaviota Coast Conservancy, Great Lakes Wildlife Alliance, Heartwood, International Marine, Mammal Project of Earth Island Institute, Juniata Valley Audubon Society, Kansas Rural Center, Klamath Forest Alliance, LEAD for Pollinators, Inc., Maine Audubon, Maryland Pesticide Education Network, Mass Audubon, Natural Resources Defense Council, New Hampshire Audubon, Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides, NY4WHALES, Oceanic Preservation Society, Pelican Island Audubon Society, Pesticide Action Network, Resource Renewal Institute, Save Our Allegheny Ridges, Toxic Free North Carolina, Turtle Island Restoration Network, UNI Center for Energy & Environmental Education, Western Watersheds Project, Wild Farm Alliance, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Rep. Salud Carbajal represents California’s 24th congressional district, encompassing Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and part of Ventura County.

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CoastWatch Feb 08, 2021 04:30 PM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

@SACJON We all apologize to you for having an opinion other than yours (which you have a plethora of on a daily basis...) I know that I, will strive to have more of a Group Think POV in the future.

sacjon Feb 08, 2021 02:04 PM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

OOPS - dude, that is so tired and debunked. All you cons do is complain whenever a liberal leader takes something on that "how dare they when we have other issues as well!" Get over it man, most adults are capable of handling more than one task on a given day.

Ann Beth Feb 08, 2021 11:12 AM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

Wow, how do you count butterflies? It’s not 1,913, or 1,915....it’s 1,914 butterflies. I love it! And, I love the butterflies...yay for Salud! And yay for the scientists who track them!

SBZZ Feb 08, 2021 09:21 AM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

Monarchs used to pass through my yard all summer long, but last summer was eerie quite - think Silent Spring. Planting milkweed can help...https://www.butterflyfarms.org/butterfly-plant-information/

AQUAHOLIC Feb 08, 2021 09:01 AM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

Worldwide loss of habitat is contributing to the Monarch Butterflies race towards extinction, along with pesticide use, drought/climate change. A toxic mix, created by humankind. (and yes, I am part of that)
I haven't seen a Monarch Butterfly out at the Ellwood preserve in over a year. Photographing them was an annual ritual I really looked forward to. I keep hoping they've moved on to another, more habitable location on the globe, but that doesn't seem to be the case. The only Monarchs I've seen have been on milkweed plants in my own yard.

a-1612802733 Feb 08, 2021 08:45 AM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

It has been a few years since I was out there. There was a shallow "stream" that was carpeted with thirsty butterflies in the morning. Butterflies are like just tiny bits of almost paper that needs to be hydrated to live, and I wonder if that source of moisture, during this drought, is still available to them.

Sail380 Feb 08, 2021 08:13 AM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

No doubt there are fewer butterfly's.
What did butterfly's use to overwinter in before the eucalyptus was planted as an invasive species?
Was their a significant local population of butterfly's before the eucalyptus?

https://www.independent.com/2011/01/15/how-eucalyptus-came-california/#:~:text=The%20blue%20gum%2C%20a%20mid-sized%20eucalyptus%20reaching%20around,when%20the%20bark%20sheds%20off%20in%20long%20strips.

[email protected] Feb 08, 2021 07:57 AM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

Salud isnt the main loser here! Id start with the developers and corporations and your consumption as a people that you can Thank; When we kids the Eucalyptus groves were everywher in SB now just concrete, asphalt parking lots and new housing developments, and its happening, everywhere...Tear the trees out and put in luxury tract homes or another China store....i.e Goleta....What a joke....When i was kid growing up buuterflies would land on us playing outside, kids see a butterfly and they become overly excited and it shouldnt be this way. The Polarization of a kids experience today? Hopefully Salud will spend the ,money wisely!!!

JB86 Feb 07, 2021 09:49 PM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

I can't discern cause and effect here. Appears to me there is as much milkweed as ever, and the tree stands haven't changed, so what is the root cause of the population crash? Seems like we need to know that before we can address the issue. Arm-waving is fine, but isn't likely to produce practical results.

PitMix Feb 08, 2021 11:29 AM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

Supposed to cut back the non-native plants each fall to prevent the fungus from surviving, right? Or buy new plants each year. I'm constantly battling the aphids on my milkweed. The native plants I put in last year did not survive.

a-1612805356 Feb 08, 2021 09:29 AM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

1886: I'm not an entomologist, but a UCSB scientist told me recently that a fungus which grows on non-native milkweed (sold and planted locally) is killing local monarchs. I don't know if the native variety would help, but the one plant I have is continually eaten down and never grows big enough to foster pupae and caterpillars. I had one non-native milkweed that originally spawned a dozen or so monarchs, but the next year it, and the roosting insects, started to turn black. I observed how the pupae sickened and died. There is a dozen or so diseases and parasites that prey on Monarchs. Pulled the plant so it wouldn't infect more. https://monarchbutterflylifecycle.com/blogs/raise/monarch-diseases-parasites-prevention

macpuzl Feb 07, 2021 10:25 PM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

The major suspects are neonicotinoid insecticides and , to a much lesser extent, pollen from Bt modified corn blowing onto milkweed plants within and adjacent to cornfields.

https://www.ars.usda.gov/oc/br/btcorn/index/#bt1

LakerGirl Feb 07, 2021 05:18 PM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

Meanwhile, the elderly continue to die in nursing homes, double murders are becoming a weekly occurrence, businesses gone forever, teachers committing sexual assault and remain on the payroll but BUTTERFLIES! No wonder California is a failed state and is the laughingstock of the world.

Voice of Reason Feb 09, 2021 09:32 AM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

Chillin, chicken little conservatives? I'm pretty sure it's the other side that's been screaming we're all going to die in 12 years due to climate change. In case you weren't aware, when your argument devolves into name calling it's a good sign you don't have a leg to stand on. It is very possible to critique our elected leaders on both sides the isle without being partisan.

ChillinGrillin Feb 08, 2021 10:44 PM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

These chicken little conservatives are too much. What did the GOP do to solve or even try to address a serious problem when they had control of all branches of government? Exactly zero. All talk and zero substance. People blame Trump but Congress is broken and rotted by wealthy interests. On both sides, the government is broken and corrupt. But at least now we don't have a has-been reality TV actor who would rather play golf than be president.

sacjon Feb 08, 2021 05:34 PM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

LAKERGIRL - yeah, lived here my whole life. 2 double murders doesn't = "double murders are becoming a weekly occurrence." Yeah, that's a tragic situation, but it's not like it's happened all the time here. And once again, you can have multiple priorities, especially as a Congressman. If he was only focusing on one thing, you'd be losing your mind. He's liberal and you hate that, we get it.

LakerGirl Feb 08, 2021 04:48 PM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

Do you live in this town? There were 2 double murders within a week of each other.

https://www.independent.com/2021/01/04/two-shot-dead-two-wounded-in-eastside-shooting-on-sunday/

Facts are stubborn things much like your understanding of what’s happening to this once great town.

LakerGirl Feb 08, 2021 04:46 PM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

I consider rampant crime, kids not going to school, elderly continuing to die in nursing homes, homeless encampments staring fires, businesses gone forever, priorities, but no one else does apparently.

sacjon Feb 07, 2021 06:29 PM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

LAKERGIRL - we have weekly double murders? Aside from the one a month ago, what are you talking about? Why would you lie about that? How many teachers are being paid after convictions for sexual assault? Do you truly expect our leaders to focus only on ONE issue at a time? The laughing stock is YOU.

gizmo1 Feb 07, 2021 04:58 PM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

I never saw Salud do anything until the election now that the elections over butterflies!!!!!! are you kidding me??? in these times -he should be paying us -us not paying him

CoastWatch Feb 07, 2021 03:47 PM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

LOL! Time well spent Saluid... Meanwhile, kids are not in classrooms, local businesses are disappearing and the vagrants and criminals get free reign in your District.... but, oh those butterfly's!

ChemicalSuperFreak Feb 09, 2021 03:43 AM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

Yacht, not sure of the Butterfly Effect was the cause, but over the weekend I noticed an odd switching of "First Commented" and "Most Recent Comments", and even possibly a delay on posted comments. Either way, I appreciated your comment, as it certainly points out the importance of not being dismissive of affects and their effects.

ChillinGrillin Feb 08, 2021 10:34 PM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

Coast watch: Do you understand how government works? Congress has exactly zero power over everything you listed. But maybe you're right, they should work on real priorities like defending against the Jewish space lasers. Or getting Mexico to pay for a 2,000 mile wall through a desert and next to a large river. Maybe if they try again and work for literally two weeks, they can replace Obamacare with something "much better." Anyone remember when that was a thing? For exactly two weeks? Then Stable Genius said it was "much harder than he thought" and moved on to writing love letters to North Korea or yelling nonsense on Twitter. A true giant of history.

ChemicalSuperFreak Feb 07, 2021 05:38 PM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

Yacht, not sure if you're asking me or Coast, but yes I've heard of the Butterfly Effect. Chaos theory, to a small extent, is taught when you take a course in ordinary, nonlinear differential equations---which I did in college. Given that butterflies are important pollinators, loss of them can lead to catastrophic outcomes for the human race---namely starvation.

ChemicalSuperFreak Feb 07, 2021 05:11 PM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

I care about the butterflys! That's why Salud needs to focus his efforts on driving the homeless out of areas surrounding the Goleta Butterfly Grove if he really means what he says. There are numerous homeless encampments in that area and the smoke/haze from their warming/cooking fires are killing our butterflys. (1)

It appears that none of the environmental groups that endorsed this letter read Nature, or related scientific journals, as there are 72 references in the cited paper that contain similar conclusions. Combined with the well-publicized homeless situation, the proximity of the camps to our natural open spaces and the wildfires that result from these illegal activities, it's disappointing that these environmental groups aren't demanding more action from politicians when it comes to protecting the ecosystem from being irreparably damaged by the homeless.

(1) Tan, Y.Q., Dion, E. & Monteiro, A. Haze smoke impacts survival and development of butterflies. Sci Rep 8, 15667 (2018)" https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-34043-0

yacht rocked Feb 07, 2021 04:44 PM
Rep. Carbajal Urges Protection of Monarch Butterflies

You've not heard of the Butterfly Effect? According to Wikipedia, "In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state." See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect . Lose the butterfly and humankind is lost, amigo.

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