The David Suzuki Foundation is calling on governments and rail, road and hydro agencies across Canada to join the growing ranks of milkweed lovers who are rallying to support monarch butterfly conservation.
Over the past month, U.S. federal and state agencies have made encouraging announcements, including a commitment of US$3.2 million for programs to grow milkweed — the plant monarchs depend on — in schoolyards and gardens and on highway roadsides from Mexico to Minnesota.
Last year NRDC filed a petition with EPA asking them to review the use of glyphosate (also known as Roundup) in light of its effects on monarch butterflies and to impose restrictions on its use. After more than a year, EPA has yet to respond to our petition so today we are filing a lawsuit to compel them to act with expediency.
Anyone who has been following the plight of the monarch butterflies knows that they are in trouble.
Monarchs have been in the news a lot lately, most of it grim. Numbers have dropped dramatically over recent years from various causes, including climate change, illegal logging at the insects’ overwintering sites in Mexico and new practices in the agricultural industry.
A major factor is the widespread use of GMO crops that are Round-Up resistant, allowing U.S. farmers in the monarch’s summer breeding grounds in the Corn Belt to spray the herbicide on their fields to kill weeds.
We are writing to further engage you in taking more immediate and larger scale actions to help farmers recover milkweeds and other native plants for threatened monarchs. These same plantings will also help recover populations of native bees and honeybees required by farmers.
While we are grateful to specific individuals on your team who have already affirmed their commitments to positive change, we remain concerned by the mixed messages coming from your organization as a whole.
You could make a good case that the Monarch butterfly is America’s favorite insect. Unfortunately, it’s in a death spiral, of our making, as we may have lost 90 percent of the Monarch. This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service unveiled a massive effort to save the Monarch migration, which will soon carry the butterflies over Oklahoma, on their way from Mexico to the upper Midwest.
We used to be able to blame the Monarch’s decline on Mexican farmers, who cut down the trees in the butterfly’s over-wintering grounds.
The MJV brings together numerous conservation, research, and educational programs along with their respective resources in a coordinated effort to conserve monarch butterflies and their amazing migration.
Recently, the Monarch Joint Venture welcomed the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) as a partner to strengthen monarch and pollinator conservation throughout their networks and programs.
Monarch butterflies have experienced a breathtaking decline in the past 20 years, going from a billion strong in 1996 to roughly 30 million today because of habitat destruction. On Monday, the U.S. government announced the first federal pot of money for rescuing monarchs, with the Fish and Wildlife Service earmarking $3.2 million for the effort.
About $2 million will go toward conservation programs…
Threatened animals like elephants, porpoises and lions grab all the headlines, but what’s happening to monarch butterflies is nothing short of a massacre. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service summed it up in just one grim statistic on Monday: Since 1990, about 970 million have vanished.
It happened as farmers and homeowners sprayed herbicides on milkweed plants, which serve as the butterflies’ nursery, food source and home.