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Field reports: Idaho-reared monarch butterfly found in California

UPDATED: Sat., March 10, 2018, 6:09 p.m.

Monarch butterflies are known to make epic journeys. (Terri Colby / TNS)
Monarch butterflies are known to make epic journeys. (Terri Colby / TNS)

A monarch butterfly born in Boise spent the winter on the California coast, where it was found this week.

This is the first documented case of a tagged Idaho monarch making the journey to California, according to a news release from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Washington State University began a tagging program in 2012.

The butterfly was found in a swimming pool in the Santa Barbara area. The butterfly was not injured and flew off after being rescued, the release said.

The butterfly was reared by Idaho resident Melinda Lowe in August. She named the butterfly Monet.

Monet left Idaho in September. She flew approximately 662 miles southwest on a skyward journey across Nevada and into southern California before settling in the greater Santa Barbara area, according to the news release. That area is a common overwintering site for monarchs.

“This is big news. Monet is the first Idaho monarch in my study to be recovered in California, and at 6 months of age she is the longest-lived monarch documented in this Washington State University tagging effort” said Dr. David G. James, an associate professor at WSU specializing in invertebrate conservation in a news release. “Monet will go down in Idaho monarch history, that’s for sure.”

The news of Monet’s epic journey is made more special because the monarch butterfly population is declining, alongside other pollinators. The decline may be because of habitat fragmentation, urban and agricultural development, pesticide use and lack of nectar plants for food, according to the news release.

In the case of the migratory monarch, the lack of native milkweed is believed to be making an already difficult and dangerous migration harder.

Rail riders offer scenic views

RECREATION – The north Pend Oreille Valley Lions Club is offering a new rail-centric activity. Rail riders are four-person, pedal-powered railroad bicycles.

The tour goes along the Pend Oreille River in Ione, Washington. The ride first heads south through scenic pastureland before going north, up to the impressive Box Canyon Trestle, according to the Lion’s club website. The total trip is 12 miles.

Rides start at the end of May, but tickets can be ordered now. To order tickets and for more information: lionsrailriders.com.

Talk will examine ice age floods

ENVIRONMENT – Learn about the unique geology of Eastern Washington on Friday in a presentation on by Dr. Gene Kiver. His talk, “Recessional Cataracts and the Ice Age Floods,” will examine how the rock coulees of eastern Washington formed. Kiver taught Geology for more than 32 years at Eastern Washington University and continues to actively explore and research the geology of this area.

The talk will go from 7-9 p.m. at the Lair, Building 6 on Spokane Community College’s campus. The event is free.

Idaho game officials deal

with mountain lions

WILDLIFE – Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials have had their hands full dealing with mountain lions this winter.

Recent incidents include: a mountain lion killed by local sheriff’s deputies near an elementary school in Bruneau, Idaho; three other lions killed in the Wood River Valley; and at least two lions released after being inadvertently trapped by licensed trappers, according to a IDFG news release.

Mountain lions are game animals and hunting them is regulated by IDFG, but there is no trapping season for them.

Palouse Conservation District receives nearly $1 million

CONSERVATION – The Palouse Conservation District will receive nearly $1 million in grant money from the Washington Department of Ecology for water quality projects.

The money is just a small portion of the $220 million the agency awarded to projects across the state this year.

DOE spokeswoman Jessica Payne said nearly all of the projects in Whitman County receiving money deal with what is called “nonpoint” pollution.

“In general, most of our grants go to funding stormwater projects, wastewater treatment plant projects and nonpoint projects – projects that are more general, where we don’t have a ‘point’ source where the pollution is coming from,” she said.

Yellowstone fee proposal passes Wyoming Legislature

RECREATION – The Wyoming Legislature has passed a proposal to collect a fee at Yellowstone National Park to fund wildlife conservation efforts in the states surrounding the park.

The measure, which also involves neighboring Grand Teton National Park, was approved Thursday and goes to Gov. Matt Mead for his consideration.

Proponents say the idea is to generate money for Wyoming, Montana and Idaho to deal with issues like wildlife collisions, disease and migration routes.

The Wyoming resolution does not specify how the fee would be assessed or what the amount would be.

Since only the federal government can impose fees in national parks, the resolution seeks to start a conversation between the three states and federal officials.


 
Tags: outdoors