Santa Cruz County
CA

Agenda Item
DOC-2021-340

Direct the Chair of the Board to send a letter to our legislative delegation in support of the Monarch Action, Recovery, and Conservation of Habitat Act of 2021 (Monarch Act of 2021- H.R. 1983), and the Monarch and Pollinator Highway Act of 2021 (MPH Act of 2021- S. 806), as recommended by Supervisor Coonerty

Information

Department:Board of Supervisors: Third DistrictSponsors:Third District Supervisor Ryan Coonerty
Category:BOS Third District - Board LetterFunctions:General Government

Attachments

  1. Board Memo
  2. S. 806 Bill Text
  3. HR 1983 Bill Text

Board Letter

Recommended Action(s):

Direct the Chair of the Board to send a letter to our legislative delegation in support of the Monarch Action, Recovery, and Conservation of Habitat Act of 2021 (Monarch Act of 2021- H.R. 1983) and the Monarch and Pollinator Highway Act of 2021 (MPH Act of 2021- S. 806).

 

 

Executive Summary

The western monarch butterfly population has severely declined over the past 30 years, and they are at imminent risk of extinction. Actively restoring native milkweed and nectar plants, monarch overwintering habitat, and other pollinator habitat, and ensuring that key habitats are protected from destruction, are critical to ensuring the survival of western monarch butterflies. To address these concerns, Congressman Jimmy Panetta has introduced two bills: The Monarch Act of 2021 and The MPH Act of 2021, which the County of Santa Cruz should support.

 

 

Background

The population of Western monarch butterflies is at imminent risk of extinction. Over the past three decades, the population of western monarch butterflies has declined by more than 99 percent due to prolonged drought, loss of milkweed and native pollinator habitat, loss of breeding and overwintering habitat, and climate change. In 2020, the population of western monarch butterflies reached a new historic low of 1,914 butterflies, falling below the predicted extinction threshold for the third year in a row. The extinction of the population of migratory western monarch butterflies is now likely to occur within the next two decades if urgent action is not taken. Actively restoring native milkweed and nectar plants, monarch overwintering habitat, and other pollinator habitat, and ensuring that key habitats are protected from destruction, are critical to ensuring the survival of western monarch butterflies and can also help facilitate conservation of other essential pollinators. In addition, enhancing pollinator populations can result in improved pollination services for neighboring land, including agriculture and wildlife ecosystems.

 

Analysis

To address these concerns, Congressman Jimmy Panetta has introduced two bills: the Monarch Act of 2021 and the MPH Act of 2021. The Monarch Act of 2021 would:

 

1) establish the Western Monarch Butterfly Rescue Fund in the Treasury of the United States and authorize $12.5 million for each of Fiscal Years 2022-2026 to provide grants for projects aimed at conserving western monarch butterflies;

2) direct $12.5 million from the Department of the Interior to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for each of Fiscal Years 2022-2026 to facilitate implementation of the Western Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan, which was prepared in January 2019; and

3) require an annual report to Congress describing the status of western monarch butterflies, including a summary and evaluation of the projects that have been funded through this legislation and the Western Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan.

 

The MPH Act of 2021 would establish programs to provide grants through the Department of Transportation to eligible entities (like Caltrans) to carry out activities to benefit pollinators on roadsides and highway rights-of-way, including the planting and seeding of native, locally appropriate grasses, and wildflowers, including milkweed. These types of best practices have been successfully used in statewide roadside pollinator habitat programs. The bill would also authorize $5 million for each of Fiscal Years 2022-2026 to fund pollinator habitat projects. Currently, western monarch butterflies lack State and Federal legal protection to keep their habitat from being destroyed or degraded and becoming extinct. Congressman Panetta’s legislation provides much-needed support to conserve and sustain the population of western monarch butterflies. Our Board should support this important bill designed to protect and rehabilitate this population. Without additional support efforts such as those described in these bills, extinction of this population is imminent.

 

Body

Strategic Plan Element(s)

4b. Sustainable Environment: Natural Resources

Meeting History

Apr 27, 2021 9:00 AM Video Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting
RESULT:APPROVED [UNANIMOUS]
MOVER:Ryan Coonerty, Third District Supervisor
SECONDER:Manu Koenig, Vice Chair, First District Supervisor
AYES:Manu Koenig, Zach Friend, Ryan Coonerty, Greg Caput, Bruce McPherson

Discussion