Local Elected and Appointed Officials

Local Elected and Appointed Officials

The monarch butterfly is a beloved insect across North America, but their population is in serious danger. Over the past 20 years, monarch populations have declined by nearly 90%. This steep decline is largely due to loss of habitat, as well as other interacting factors including climate change, disease, parasites and pesticides.The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is conducting a thorough assessment to determine if the monarch butterfly needs Endangered Species Act protection. Monarch butterflies are an iconic species making them an effective ambassador for the other pollinators in decline. Monarch habitat is pollinator habitat. Elected and appointed officials have a chance to help turn the tide and bring back the pollinators.

Local governments have become a powerful force for monarch conservation. Your community can make a real difference and your leadership will propel their success!

The presence of pollinators, and the services they provide, are essential to our food supply. They are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat! Pollinators support healthy sustainable farms and are critical to state’s agriculture economy. Key crops - like almonds, melons, cucumbers, squash, strawberries, apricots, and berries - rely on honey bees and other pollinators to flourish. Not only do these crops contribute to the economy, they also happen to be the most nutritious foods in the human diet.

A healthy, diverse habitat not only supports pollinators, but game birds and other valuable wildlife species benefit and can promote activities such as hunting, birding and hiking.

Beyond the role pollinators and their habitat plays in our economy, plants that support pollinators are critical to our ecosystems. These plants provide clean water, stabilize the soil to prevent erosion, saving money and providing environmental services. Pollinator plants can buffer waterways, and store carbon.

How can you and your community help monarchs and other pollinators?

  • Take the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors’ Monarch Pledge: Pledge your community to support monarchs with at least three actions outlined in the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge, and join a growing network of cities with access to resources for engaging in monarch conservation!

  • Create native pollinator habitat: Examples of pollinator habitat opportunities for municipalities in particular are at public parks, median strips, community gardens, and municipal buildings. Engaging DOTs is an excellent way to get local agencies involved. City properties like recreation centers and libraries can host demonstration gardens and serve as community hubs where citizens can learn how to help. Educating citizens about how and where to grow milkweed is also a key piece for success. Register your pollinator gardens for the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge.

  • Adapt local weed and mowing laws: Sometimes local laws and ordinances have restrictions on the growing of milkweed, or other plants, considered to be potential noxious species,, or stipulate mowing of potential monarch habitat. Education efforts from concerned citizens and legislators can motivate change for these policies. If changing these laws entirely is not feasible, smaller scale steps can be taken, for example, creating a permit to allow growing of milkweed and nectar plants.

  • Pass a pollinator friendly resolution: Your municipality can be a national leader on the issue! While a few cities have passed pollinator resolutions, this is a new trend that  your municipality can join to demonstrate leadership  Pollinator friendly resolutions celebrate the pollinator friendly practices your municipality already has in place. They are also critical to changing practices to protect pollinators and are catalysts to bigger change in your communities, statewide, and nationally. While all resolutions are pledges for pollinator protection, these best practices can add detail and scope to improve pollinator health in your community.

    • Examples of possible resolutions:
      • Eliminate or reduce the use of neonicotinoids and other systemic pesticides.

      • Increase pollinator forage in the city.

    • Tips for your pollinator friendly resolution: 
      • Include goals, timelines, and mechanisms to track success of the resolution.

      • Include public communication and education in your resolution.

      • Engage in broader state, regional and national policy change.

    • More detail on best practices for pollinator friendly resolutions can be found from Pollinate Minnesota. Note: the MJV does not endorse any policy statements made on links to external pages.
  • Sign a National Pollinator Week Proclamation: Join the 51 Governors and countless city officials that have signed proclamations declaring National Pollinator Week in June of each year. Support local community events and sustainable business initiatives.

Resources

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