"If we all work together, we can ensure that every American child has a chance to experience amazing monarchs in their backyards."
02-09-2015 // Miles Grant
(Edited by Gene – for complete article go to Save the Monarch article
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today launched a major new campaign aimed at saving the declining monarch butterfly. The Service signed a cooperative agreement with the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), announced a major new funding initiative with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and pledged an additional $2 million in immediate funding for on-the-ground conservation projects around the country. Introducing the new initiatives at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. were Service Director Dan Ashe, U.S. Senator from Minnesota Amy Klobuchar, NWF President and CEO Collin O’Mara, and NFWF representatives.
While monarchs are found across the United States — as recently as 1996 numbering some 1 billion — their numbers have declined by approximately 90 percent in recent years, a result of numerous threats, particularly loss of habitat due to agricultural practices, development and cropland conversion. Degradation of wintering habitat in Mexico and California has also had a negative impact on the species.
To directly tackle these challenges, the new cooperative effort will build a network of diverse conservation partners and stakeholders to protect and restore important monarch habitat, while also reaching out to Americans of all ages who can play a central role.
“We can save the monarch butterfly in North America, but only if we act quickly and together,” said Ashe. “And that is why we are excited to be working with the National Wildlife Federation and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to engage Americans everywhere, from schools and community groups to corporations and governments, in protecting and restoring habitat. Together we can create oases for monarchs in communities across the country.”
“Known for its beautiful orange color, fascinating life cycle and remarkable annual migration, the monarch butterfly is the most iconic butterfly in North America,” Klobuchar said. “With the butterfly rapidly disappearing, I am pleased to see the Fish and Wildlife Service taking positive steps to reverse its decline. We must build on this momentum, and I will continue to call on the public and private sectors to join together in the effort to protect the monarch butterfly.”
The memorandum of understanding between the National Wildlife Federation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will serve as a catalyst for national collaboration on monarch conservation, particularly in planting native milkweed and nectar plants, the primary food sources in breeding and migration habitats for the butterfly.
Spectacular as it is, protecting the monarch is not just about saving one species. The monarch serves as an indicator of the health of pollinators and the American landscape. Monarch declines are symptomatic of environmental problems that pose risks to our food supply, the spectacular natural places that help define our national identity, and our own health. Conserving and connecting habitat for monarchs will benefit other plants, animals and important insect and avian pollinators.
The National Wildlife Federation’s program encourages responsible gardening that helps pollinators and other wildlife thrive. It encourages planting with native species like milkweed and discouraging chemical pesticide use. With nearly 200,000 locations and growing, NWF’s Certified Wildlife Habitats and Community Wildlife Habitats recognize individuals, schools, groups and whole communities committed to providing habitat for wildlife, including pollinators. Each of the200,000 certified locations provides food, water, cover and places to raise young. This makes yards, schools, businesses, faith-based organizations, campuses, parks, farms and other community-based landscapes into wildlife sanctuaries.
NWF recognizes the increased need for native milkweed to restore disappearing monarch habitat across large landscapes, and suburban and urban gardens. It acknowledges the role that many NGOs, agencies and the seed and nursery industries must play. To that end, NWF is committed to supporting joint efforts with the Xerces Society, Monarch Watch, the Monarch Joint Venture and seed associations regarding scale and quality of seed required.
For more information and the complete article, go to http://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines/Media-Center/News-by-Topic/Wildlife/2015/02-9-15-U-S-Fish-and-Wildlife-Service-Teams-with-Conservation-Partners-to-Launch-Campaign.aspx
Gene Dempsey, City Forester
Public Works Sustainability Division
Office - (954) 828-5785 Fax - (954) 828-4745