Earlier this week, Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, joined other lawmakers in reintroducing the Monarch Action, Recovery, and Conservation of Habitat Act, as well as the Monarch and Pollinator Highway Act.
Rep. Carbajal co-led the introduction of the two bills in the House of Representatives. Also reintroducing the bills were Rep. Jimmy Penetta, D-Carmel Valley, and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon.
The MONARCH Act would provide urgent protections for the struggling Western Monarch Butterfly, an iconic and important butterfly whose population has dropped by 99% since the 1980s. The legislation would authorize $62.5 million for projects aimed at conserving the western monarch and an additional $62.5 million to implement the Western Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan, which was prepared by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies in January 2019. The $62.5 million in funding for each effort would be divided into five annual installments of $12.5 million, according to officials.
The Monarch and Pollinator Highway Act would establish a federal grant program available to state departments of transportation and Native American tribes to carry out pollinator-friendly practices on roadsides and highway rights-of-way. The legislation would help address the steep decline of pollinator populations, which poses a serious threat to California farmers and the American food supply.
“The Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove in my district traditionally hosts the largest western monarch overwintering population in California, but when I went to visit recently there weren’t any monarchs to be found. The western monarch’s population has dropped by 99% over the last 30 years and, unless we act now, they are on a path to extinction,” Rep. Carbajal said in a statement. “The MONARCH Act and Monarch Pollinator Highway Act makes critical investments in conservation projects so we can restore their habitats and preserve this beloved pollinator for future generations to experience and enjoy.”
Rep. Panetta added that we are “witnessing the dramatic decline and potential existiction” of the monarch across North America.
“Our legislation is a small example of how we must continue to fight the effects of the climate crisis by working to preserve the future of a species that means so much to our ecosystem and to us on the Central Coast,” he said in a statement.
Added Sen. Merkley, “If we let the western monarch butterfly go extinct, we’ll lose a unique, beautiful species forever. Every day that we don’t implement experts’ conservation plans inches us a little closer to that reality. We can’t let that happen.”