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.
Monarchs in Peril: Herbicide-Resistant Crops and the Decline of Monarch Butterflies in North America
This comprehensive report reveals the severe impacts of herbicide-resistant genetically engineered (GE) crops on the monarch population, which has plummeted over the past twenty years.
The report makes it abundantly clear: two decades of Roundup Ready crops have nearly eradicated milkweed – the monarch caterpillar’s sole source of food – in cropland of the monarch’s vital Midwest breeding ground.
Recently there have been a number of articles in the press about how people are planting the wrong kind of milkweed and that it’s actually harming monarch butterflies. Inflammatory headlines have warned about how well intentioned people may actually be “destroying” monarchs and how “the plan to save monarchs” by planting milkweed has “backfired.”
Well, I’m here to tell you that there is no need to freak out. And Please, KEEP PLANTING MILKWEED! Here’s why.
If you read the headline “Gardeners’ Good Intentions Are Killing Monarch Butterflies,” you might get the impression that planting milkweed is bad for these butterflies. Well, don’t believe the hype. Monarchs need milkweed—in fact, it’s the only thing their larvae eat!
In the interest of combating that disinformation, dubbed #MonarchGate, which kicked off in the media two weeks ago, I’m going to make a few more things clear. In a hurry?