Outside Questions and Answers: Are There Two Populations of Monarch Butterflies in California? | Outside

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California Monarchs

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Orange and black butterfly on green shrub. (Courtesy photo)

Question: Are there two populations of monarch butterflies in California?

A: Ultimately it is not clear, but we continue to monitor research as we are responsible for their conservation and successful migration.

In addition to the decline in the population of migrating western monarchs, scientists are seeing an increase in the number of resident monarchs that breed year round. Resident monarchs have been reported in greater numbers in coastal areas from San Diego to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Historically, the migratory monarch population wintered in coastal groves from October to March. During the remainder of the year, monarchs migrated and bred in all states west of the Rocky Mountains. In the past, winter breeding may have occurred at a low level. However, in recent years, it has spread along with the decline in the migratory population.

A 2021 scientific study estimated that there were some 12,000 resident monarchs, more than six times the remaining migrating population.

Scientists are currently studying the factors that influence the transition to year-round breeding. One hypothesis is that the expansion of the non-native tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) in home gardens may induce winter reproduction. Climate change could also play a role, as a warmer winter exposes monarchs to temperatures that can cause them to end reproductive diapause prematurely.

It is not clear whether the resident monarchs represent a distinct population from the migrating population or whether there is a mixture. If these are distinct populations, questions remain as to whether resident and migrating populations can persist side by side. Finally, scientists are still trying to determine whether the transition to year-round breeding represents a persistent trend or is a short-term adaptation to local conditions.

As a fiduciary agency, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is responsible for protecting California’s flora and fauna, including terrestrial invertebrates such as monarch butterflies for their ecological value and public enjoyment. California Fish and Game Code (FGC) Section 1021 directs the CDFW to “take feasible steps to conserve monarch butterflies and the unique habitats they depend on for successful migration”.

Turkey Hunting Guides

Question: I’m a fairly inexperienced turkey hunter, but I’d like to learn more this fall. Other than word of mouth, do you have any suggestions on how (and where) I might find a good guide?

A: Yes. CDFW maintains a list of licensed hunting and fishing guides. You can find the list on our website, and sort by services offered, target species and / or department, as well as by name or license number if you are looking for a specific guide.

Guided hunts are often worth the investment for new hunters – you pay for their shared knowledge and experience, and it dramatically increases your chances of a successful outing. Good luck!

Alteration of the lake and stream bed

Question: My neighbor throws earth in the stream near our house. Is it legal?

A: It could be. California Fish and Game Code (FGC) Section 1602 (a) requires notification to the CDFW of any activity that would significantly alter the bed, bank or channel of a river, stream or lake, or that would remove material where it may enter a river, stream or a lake. Therefore, it would be illegal for your neighbors to alter the creek bed near your house without notifying the CDFW.

CDFW requires a Alteration of the lake and stream bed (LSA) Agreement when a project activity can have significant negative effects on fish and wildlife resources. For more information, visit CDFW’s LSA program online.

Section 5650 of the FGC sets out prohibitions on water pollution, including the discharge of any of the following into California waterways:

1. Any petroleum, acid, coal tar or oil tar, carbon black, aniline, asphalt, bitumen or residual petroleum product or carbonaceous material or substance.

2. Any waste, liquid or solid, originating from any refinery, gas house, tannery, distillery, chemical plant, mill or plant of any kind.

3. Any sawdust, shavings, slabs or edging.

4. Any factory waste, lime or slag.

5. Any cocculus indicus.

6. Any substance or material harmful to fish, flora, mammals or birds.

If you believe you have witnessed an environmental crime, you must document the incident (s) via CalTip: Wildlife.ca.gov/Enforcement/CalTIP. Other agencies, including local government entities, the Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the Army Corps of Engineers, to name a few, may also have legal authority. on these activities.

Bag limit in relation to possession

Question: What is the difference between a bag limit and a possession limit? Is the possession limit always double the bag limit?

A: The bag limit is defined in California Fish and Game Code (FGC), section 18 such as the maximum limit, in number or quantity, of birds, mammals, fish, reptiles or amphibians that can be legally captured by one person for a specified period of time.

The possession limit is defined in article 19 of the FGC as the maximum, in number or quantity, of birds, mammals, fish, reptiles or amphibians that can be legally possessed by a person.

The answer to your second question is no, the possession limit is not always double the bag limit. The possession limit and the bag limit are often different, so it is essential to consult the appropriate regulations for the fish, game or other species you are trying to take.

For example, during waterfowl season, the daily bag limit is seven ducks. The possession limit for ducks is triple the daily bag limit, so a hunter can legally own 21 ducks.


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