Bakersfield preserve is helping save the butterfly population

BakersfieldNow

by Erin Roney, Eyewitness News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif., (KBAK/KBFX) — At the bottom of the bluffs, you’ll find the Panorama Vista Preserve.

Frank Reynoso, the restoration field manager with River Partners, is out there with a crew planting Milkweed.

Crews work to plant Milkweed at the Panorama Vista Preserve to help the Monarch Butterfly population. April 16, 2021. (KBAK/KBFX).

Reynoso says, “These plants were donated to the preserve. That’s how important it is. The nursery felt it was very important to donate the plants.”

FILE- In this Aug. 19, 2015 photo, Tom Merriman stands behind a monarch in his butterfly atrium at his nursery in Vista, Calif. Researchers with an environmental group are labeling as “disturbingly low” the number of western monarch butterflies that migrate along the California coast. A recent count by the Xerces Society recorded fewer than 30,000 butterflies, which it says is an 86 percent decline since 2017. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File).

Belli says, “In the last few years, they’ve disappeared. We had the opportunity to get this grant. We are one of eight places up and down California that have gotten this grant and it will be really exciting to see the monarch butterflies come back.”

In fact, California had an estimated 4.5 million butterflies at one point but now that number has significantly decreased.

Claire Pavelka, the restoration biologist for the site, says, “The last count taken in November of 2020 has them at less than 2000.”

Pavelka says the life of a monarch butterfly is tied to Milkweed, a plant that is harder to come by in the central valley.

“A big problem is that a lot of the herbicides used in agriculture kill the Milkweed,” says Pavelka. “So it actually can survive in the central valley but it hasn’t been able to thrive there due to agriculture.”

The monarch lays its eggs on the plant, as it carries a compound chemical that protects the offspring from getting eaten. Plus, it’s the only thing caterpillars will eat when born.

So, no milkweed means no butterflies, which poses a bigger problem.

Crews work to plant Milkweed at the Panorama Vista Preserve to help the Monarch Butterfly population. April 16, 2021. (KBAK/KBFX).

Pavelka says, “Without them, plants wouldn’t be able to reproduce and they kind of fall in line with other pollinators like bees as well, they are really critical to the survival of ecosystems for the plant level.”

Beyond their critical role in nature, losing the colorful creatures would be a misfortune.

Pavelka says, “Without them, plants wouldn’t be able to reproduce and they kind of fall in line with other pollinators like bees as well, they are really critical to the survival of ecosystems for the plant level.”

See the original article at BakersfieldNow.

Stay in Touch

Subscribe to the River/Shift and receive updates on new stories and features

About River/Shift

River Partners is helping lead a shift in how we restore floodplains and re-value our river forests. River/Shift shares the latest developments on the restoration projects, advances in science and technology, and partnerships that are bringing life back to rivers to benefit the ecosystems, economies and communities of California.

Join Us

Solutions at scale are more urgently needed than ever. We welcome you to learn more about our projects near your community, contact us with partnership and strategic restoration opportunities, or support our work.