I think we all know Monarch butterflies and milkweed go together. Do you know what other pollinators and plants are evolved together? Or which flower shapes, fragrances, colors and bloom times attract certain pollinators? The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center recently sent a quiz that answers these questions. ‘Thought maybe you’d like to test your knowledge.
If you’re into native plants and the insects that co-exist with them, you’ve probably heard the name Lincoln Brower. Lincoln was a world renowned Monarch biologist and a conservation leader. He passed away on July 17, 2018. The Monarch butterflies have lost a champion.
Although entomologist Fred A Urquhart is credited with making the location of the Monarch butterflies over-wintering grounds known to us in 1975, it was Dr Brower who brought preservation of the site to our attention.
Monarch Watch’s Chip Taylor wrote, “It was through his advocacy and work with the Mexican government that the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (MBBR) was established to protect the overwintering monarch population in Mexico. Linc was among the first to recognize that the weakest portion of the monarch’s annual cycle is the formation of the overwintering colonies within the oyamel forests on a few mountain tops in a relatively small region of central Mexico. He saw that protection of these sites was key to the preservation of the monarch migration and he worked tirelessly to safeguard these locations, sometimes earning the wrath of authorities and some colleagues.” (Monarch Watch Blog – Dr. Lincoln Brower)
Indeed, Lincoln felt we should value the Monarch migration in the same way we value the Mona Lisa. It is part of our history; part of our culture. There are Monarch butterflies elsewhere in North America and in other locations such as the Caribbean islands, Trinidad, Bermuda and South America. But the incredible migration from south to north and back again is only seen here in North America. That’s why it is so terribly important we do everything we can to preserve this biological phenomenon.
Lincoln P. Brower Award
To carry on Dr Brower’s legacy and to continue to strengthen monarch conservation research, the Monarch Butterfly Fund has established the Lincoln P. Brower Award. This will be an annual grant of $3,000 to support undergraduate or graduate students in research on the conservation of monarch butterflies and their habitats. To donate.
The Environmental Protection Act
In the 1960s, smog was killing Americans, lakes were so low on oxygen they sustained little life, and there was a 400 square mile oil spill off the coast of California that killed bird and other wildlife. Nixon had just become president with a mandate to find some way to fix the environmental problems and stop pollution.
Shortly after taking office, Nixon set up the Environmental Quality Council with the mission to solve these problems. The Environmental Policy Act of 1969 was signed into law on January 1, 1970. Later he signed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act into law. The Environmental Protection Agency which was the administration arm of these Acts became effective December 2, 1970 with William D Ruckelshaus at its head.
The Endangered Species Act (ESA)
The ESA has been amended many times during the past 45 years. But it was not until this administration that it could become the instrument of extinction for endangered and threatened wildlife and destruction of fragile habitat. This administration’s goal of deregulation would allow logging, drilling and other human activities at risk to the environment.
There have already been a number of changes made to the ESA by the current administration, but there are more than 100 proposals before Congress now which would weaken the ability of the federal government to protect endangered and threatened species and habitat even more. They reduce the USFWS’s ability to secure the protection of plant and animal species in peril, and at the same time make it easier to remove species from the protection of the Act.
According to the the Defenders of Wildlife, there are three main ways in which the current proposals would affect the protection of vulnerable wildlife and habitat and give the upper hand to exploitive industries — developers, oil companies, mining companies and big game/trophy hunters. By:
- Injecting economics into what should be purely science-based decisions about listing imperiled species;
- Depriving threatened species from automatically receiving protections from killing, trapping, and other forms of harm and commercial exploitation; and
- Limiting what wildlife experts can look at in their reviews of federal activities.
If these proposals are enacted, wolves along with other endangered and threatened wildlife and plants will be left to the mercy of the more economically-minded states.
See also the Senate’s Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018
What to do?
This Administration’s goal to deregulate the federal government seems to be without regard for the environment or how this might impact the future of the Earth and its residents. If you feel strongly one way or the other about the ramifications of the changes to the Act, please contact your congressman as soon as possible. Go to House.gov and Senate.gov to find their contact information.
Or send comments to the USFWS before September 24, 2018 through the Federal Register system as listed below.
Federal Register Info
“The changes are contained in three major ESA rulemakings currently being conducted by the Department of the Interior and/or the Department of Commerce and announced in the Federal Register on July 25, 2018. They are:
- Revision of the Regulations for Prohibition to Threatened Wildlife and Plants. 83 Fed. Reg. 35174 (July 25, 2018) (Department of the Interior only);
- Revision of Regulations for Interagency Cooperation 83 Fed. Reg. 35178 (July 25, 2018) (Department of the Interior and Department of Commerce); and
- Revision of the Regulations for Listing Species and Designating Critical Habitat, 83 Fed. Reg. 35193 (July 25, 2018) (Department of the Interior and Department of Commerce).” (Defenders of Wildlife)
My brother Dan joined me for a walkabout at our hunting property over the weekend. It was the perfect time to be there. It was hot and humid. Not much in the way of a breeze. But, surprisingly there were no pesky flies or mosquitoes. Just a myriad of native plants and busy wildlife taking advantage of such a lush setting.
We had a great weekend! Here’s just a few of the highlights!! (Click on the photo and then again to enlarge.)
Here a Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum) is being visited by a variety of nectaring insects. I was listening to NPR on the radio, so if you turn the volume up, you can hear a financial specialist speaking about the best way to save money for a child’s future education.