http://www.cec.org/pubs_docs/documents/ ... sh&ID=2300
Here are the specific breeding habitat conservation measures proposed by the Plan http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k75/4af/con.jpg
However, I don't understand how any of them would effectively stop the ongoing destruction of breeding habitat.
Even if the human population was not growing in the USA, large amounts of milkweed breeding habitat would and are being permanently lost each year due to construction of new homes and shopping centers, increased roadside mowing and sprayingand increased use of herbicides on cropland.
THE PLAN'S PROPOSED SOLUTIONS:
a) Develop plans to plant regionally appropriate species of milkweed in areas where milkweed is a limited resource.
b) Strengthen monarch butterfly habitat protection on public and private lands.
c) Assess effects of land use changed on milkweed (e.g conversion of undeveloped land into crop monocultures or homes)
d) Develop guidelines for farm buffer for nectar sources.
e) Develop road, powerlines and railroad rights of way habitat protection programs; promote protection in facilities such as golf courses or parks.
f) Study and limit impact of herbicides and insecticides on monarch breeding habitat
g) Develp highway and other roadside mowing regimens compatible with monarch breeding.
WHY I DON'T BELIEVE THE PROPOSED SOLUTIONS WOULD BE EFFECTIVE:
a) It is physically and logistically impossible to plant an amount of milkweed even remotely equal to the amount permanently lost due to construction of new homes and shopping centers, increased roadside mowing and spraying and increased use of herbicides on cropland. And to establish even one milkweed patch requires earth moving, fossil fuel burning equipment, mechanical or chemical weed control and some form of irrigation water to get the seedlings established. Even if all goes well it takes years for a patch to become well established.
b) The public, including conservationists have been wanting larger and larger homes and cars for the past 30 years and so more shopping centers have been built to furnish these homes which permanently destroys milkweed habitat.
c) The public, including conservationists, have been wanting wider, safer roads that provide improved storm drainage so more intense roadside spraying and mowing has been needed which decreases or permanently eliminates milkweed patches.
d) The public, including conservationists, have been wanting farmers to adopt no-till farming methods to conserve topsoil, but no-till farming relies on increased herbicide use to control the weeds.
e) The public, including conservationists, have been wanting more and more organically grown food. But the same organic farming methods (e.g. unsprayed crop margins and creating habitat refuges for pollinating bees) which would benefit milkweed and butterflies and increase the abundance of wildlife (coyotes, racoons, skunks and so forth) also increases the chances of E. coli contamination. The public, unfortunately, is quick to sue organic farming companies if they get sick (e.g. the E. coli organic spinach lawsuits last year) so now organic row crop farmers are having to clean up the weeds (including milkweed) and bushes along the crop margins.
f) The public, including conservationists, have been wanting more biofuels to help reduce our dependence of foreign oil, but producing biofuels requires more wildland to be converted to farmland. Producing biofuels also requires crop yields on existing farmland can be increased because without increased yields there would be food shortages. And the only known way to increase yields is by growing herbicide tolerant crops which permanently kills off the milkweed in crop fields.
In summary, I don't understand the Conservation Plan would make a significant dent in stopping the ongoing and accelerating destruction of milkweed breeding habitat.