Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Californians to "Put their money where the monarchs are"

C. Coimbra photo

"....colleagues at Environmental Defense Fund have collaborated with conservationists, academics, agricultural groups and state agencies to develop a Monarch Butterfly Habitat Exchange, dubbed an Airbnb for butterflies, to crowd-source the creation and protection of monarch habitat from large-scale landowners across the country. Early participants in the program will be making new homes for butterflies along the eastern and western migration routes starting this spring.

On Feb. 14, Assemblyman Mark Stone, a Monterey Bay Democrat, introduced legislation that provides money and technical assistance to California applicants.

It’s exactly the type of urgent action we need from state and local leaders, but it’s just a start. Our analysis concludes it will take at least several hundred million dollars over the next decade to double the monarch population. That’s what we’ll need to pay for native milkweed seeds and to pay landowners for restoration and maintenance, including prescribed fire, seasonal mowing and milkweed planting.

It’s a good thing Americans love monarchs, so much they think it’s worth spending $4 billion to save them. Concerned citizens can kick start the monarch recovery fund by donating to the Monarch Butterfly Habitat Exchange, which will support restoration projects at key sites already identified in California, Missouri and Texas.

But to achieve the amount of habitat needed – millions of acres of native milkweed and wildflowers – we will need all hands on deck. That includes food companies and agribusiness, chemical and seed companies, state farm bureaus and wildlife agencies and philanthropic organizations and foundations.

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