Monarch Watch Update - May 12, 2004



1) Illegal Logging at Sierra Chincua

2) Monarch Watch Open House and Plant Fund-Raiser

3) Status of the Population

4) The Western Monarch Population

5) The European Paper Wasp

6) About Our Update List


1) Illegal Logging at Sierra Chincua - by Chip Taylor

Large scale logging is underway at Sierra Chincua. Sometime in mid-March 2004 an illegal logging operation moved into Sierra Chincua, specifically into the Federal Zone and the property of the Ejido Cerro Prieto. At this point, the facts are sketchy and it is not clear whether the trees are being selectively logged or whether clear-cutting is underway. Photos (see link below) taken in the Federal Zone on the 24th of March suggest that much of the area is being clear-cut. The scale of the tree cutting and removal (50-100 trucks per day), together with intimidation of some of the residents and investigators, has apparently prevented local authorities from shutting down this operation even though it is within the core area of the monarch sanctuary, as designated in the November 2000 Presidential Decree as the Reserva Biosfera de la Mariposa Monarca. We should have more details on the extent of the logging for inclusion in our June Update. In the meantime, here are some things to consider; there are 300-400 trees per hectare in these forests, each truck carries the remains of three trees, and there have been 50-100 trucks per day leaving the area for a period of at least 7 weeks. In addition, the tree cutting is probably way ahead of the hauling so the size of the deforested area is likely to be quite substantial.


This incident makes it clear that the illegal and uncontrolled activities of businessmen who finance these raids are a serious threat to the Reserva Biosfera, the monarch migration in eastern North America, and the watersheds that support the local residents. This incursion emphasizes a point made by many scientists and conservationists in the past: namely that protection of the core overwintering areas for the monarch butterfly requires that the three governments, Canada, the United States and Mexico work together to develop a management plan for the region, one that includes the infrastructure and finances needed to assure sustainable management and protection of the forests while providing alternate sources of income for the communities.

Unfortunately, this is not the first significant illegal logging event in the Sierra Chincua sanctuary. Illegal logging in the Arroyo Honda (in the core zone of Sierra Chincua) was first reported by Mark Wilson a free lance photo journalist who visited the monarch colonies in January 2003.(Wilson, M. (2003) Orange crush. In Boston Globe, pp. C1, C4, Boston. 25 March 2003.) Further incursions into Chincua began on a larger scale on the north side of the core zone in September 2003. The extent of this deforestation was photographed by Lincoln Brower during a flight over the area on 21 January 2004. Lincoln Brower and a team of scientists from the United States and Mexico, who specialize in geographic information systems (GIS) analysis, are using a number of means to measure the extent of the deforestation and will report on their findings in the near future.

The expanded (online) version of this topic includes translations of a news release from the Grupo de los Cien International, a well known conservation group in Mexico, accounts of a protest against the illegal logging by 500 residents in Angangueo on April 30th, an editorial, an extensive editorial commentary concerning the response to the logging by a regional official, a report of the efforts by talamontes (tree cutters) to free colleagues that had been arrested, and an action by PROFEPA (Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente) to shut down saw mills that have stocks of illegally acquired logs. During the week of 3 May, and again on the 10th of May, several reports appeared on the Mexican television network Azteca in which residents of the Angangueo area were interviewed. Because of a fear of reprisals, in some of these interviews the faces of these people were obscured during the broadcasts. As you will see from these accounts, illegal logging will not be an easy issue to put aside even when the current operation is brought to a halt.



Angangueo, Mich., April 30: In the nucleus zone of the Chincua Monarch butterfly sanctuary, between 400 and 500 pine and Oyamel trees are being knocked down daily, which are removed by no fewer than 100 trucks each day. Those responsible for such devastating havoc are approximately 3,500 woodcutters, who, literally, have invaded the reserve in order to devastate it.

This well organized Mafia utilizes high-powered weapons, makes use of radios to communicate among themselves, and have already gone beyond all reasonable limits of federal, state, and municipal authorities. Despite [the fact] that since last year the inhabitants of the municipality of Angangueo, Michoacan, have made denunciations before the PROFEPA, the PGR, and the governments of the states of Michoacan and Mexico to stop the deforestation, the impunity of the woodcutters continues. At times they are seen being protected by judicial police.

Tired of the lack of answers on the part of the government, the schools of Angangueo, the leaders of the ejidos, ecclesiastical authorities, and the town in general organized a protest march this past April 28 to beseech of Vicente Fox-Quesada his urgent intervention, seeing that not intervening in the matter [would result], in less than one month, in no trees remaining in this important sanctuary of the Monarch butterfly open to tourism [and] second only to El Rosario sanctuary that has also been severely logged, like that of the Cerro Altamirano.

The inhabitants of the town of Angangueo expect within 48 hours the response of the President of the Republic to stop and to detain these loggers, since if it isn’t done, the civilian population of the municipality threatens to take actions into their own hands, blaming the federal and state governments for the consequences.

The activity of the loggers has arrived at such cynicism that during the parade, they passed in trucks loaded with trees, making fun of the people that protested the destruction of Chincua sanctuary, one of the most important of the reserves.

As is known, the Monarch butterfly comes from the region of Ontario, Canada, through the United States and arrives at its places of hibernation in Central Mexico at the beginning of November, after carrying out a fantastic migration. In October of 1986, the Group of The One Hundred succeeded in getting the government of Mexico to declare 16,100 protected hectares in five sanctuaries that constitute the Monarch Butterfly Reserve: Chincua, El Rosario, Cerro Altamirano, Chivati Huacal, and Cerro Pelon, from among 13 known areas of hibernation. In 2000, the Reserve was expanded to 52,000 hectares. But despite the decrees, the destruction of the sanctuaries has accelerated, particularly under the government of President Vicente Fox, arriving at a degree of ungovernability.

Since 1992, almost each year during the months of January and February have been dealt mortality rates of hundreds of millions of Monarch butterflies. These massive die-offs have been attributed to the frosts, but according to scientists are the result of tremendous destruction of the forest, which leaves the butterflies exposed to the extremes of the climate.

At the behest of the town of Angangueo, Michoacan, and Homero Aridjis, writer and president of the Group of The One Hundred.

Translated by Carol Cullar


MUNICIPAL AUTHORITIES AND CITIZENS March to demand a stop to the logging of the forests of Angangueo Friday, April 30, 2004

The original text in Spanish can be found at

Images of the march can be found at the web site for La Region a weekly newspaper published in Zitacuaro

The citizen association of Angangueo has declared publicly against the excessive logging of the forests of this region and demanded that federal and state authorities call a halt, because the loggers have already over-run them, and they accused President Vicente Fox of not following through with the promise that he made during his visit to Chincua, of maintaining permanent vigilance.

Approximately 500 persons gathered on the Plaza of the Constitution, after carrying out a silent march carrying banners and placards from La Estacion in which children, youths, and adults participated, headed by the priest, Estanislao Flat, the municipal president, Jorge Martín Arizmendi; the syndicate, Víctor Jesus Vega Hernández; the federal representative, Pascual Sigala, in addition to six citizen representatives. The unanimous petition was a demand to federal and state governments for their intervention so that they stop the excessive clandestine logging and send the Army to patrol, because the Federal Preventive Police, the Ministerial Police, and the inspectors of the PROFEPA are very corrupt.

"It is a silent march, but the silence is also a form of repudiation", said the leader in front of the microphone moments before the caravan to the central plaza arrived. Banners and placards read: "Stop the clandestine logging." "They always come back! No to illegal logging," "Out with loggers, Punish them!, Angangueo demands they stop clandestine logging!"

Eligio González Garcia, in an energetic tone, said that Angangueo is experiencing a grave and life threatening problem because is not possible to control the illegal logging, organizations are causing destructions and damage to the oxygen, the water, to the flora and fauna, therefore the citizenry has organized itself, "from here we plea to President Vicente Fox that there be permanent vigilance in the forests, so the predators may be punished with the full weight of the law.

In turn, representative Pascual Sigala said that the unchecked logging covers ten municipalities of Michoacán and the State of Mexico, and the region produces fifteen thousand liters of water per second that is carried to the State of Mexico and the Federal District, are 500 million cubic meters per year, besides here is present the most marvelous natural phenomenon of Mexico, the monarch butterfly, and made an accounting that if they pass from 50 to 60 loaded trucks of illegal wood daily, they are speaking of three trees per each one [truck], thus accounting for many trees.

Simón Vargas, in the name of the shareholders of Impulsora Minera of Angangueo, expressed that the authorities have not paid attention and President Vicente Fox himself did not comply with his commitment to install a permanent supervision in the zone, only lasting some two months and later it was forgotten. "We require that the President comply, and it be avoided that some 80 or 100 loaded wood trucks pass per night. The Public Director of Security, Carlos Alberto Romero Varela, also made a call to the federal and state authorities, to those that he has sent official letters reporting the situation, but as of last Tuesday there had been no response.

Translated by Carol Cullar


To Offer Options to Avoid Illegal Logging

The Spanish language version of the article, Ofrecer Opciones para Evitar la Tala Ilegal, can be found at

When social problems become uncontrollable and insupportable, all that remains [is] for participation of the authority to submit to the offenders, but the option exists that offer the required studies of analysis of the causes of that disorder, it is then when peaceful solutions should be sought.

In our region the unrestrained logging of the forests has turned into a serious ecological and social problem, authority is operating compelled by society’s exigencies that is demanding more work and less accountability but fails to study in depth to know the true causes of this phenomenon.

Without being experts in the matter, it is easy to deduce that [when having] no sources of employment, men seek the most direct form of acquiring economic incomes to get family sustenance each day, and in the monarch butterfly zone in abundance timber-yielding resources become a form of harvestable resources, that prior to the limitations conferred by the authority, provided them everything.

Coop members and community dwellers lack other sources of work, that are not those of [the type] of productive projects that the government offers inside its programs created as social support, but exist by default and to are given preferences with partisan eagerness, the options are reduced and the people go down clandestine path[s].

Those who inhabit the zone where tourism presents itself to admire to the monarch butterfly, have guaranteed at least an income that alleviates economic needs in temporary form, later they must seek other forms of income, if they do not find it, they opt for illegality which is cutting timber, stealing it, or taking [it] for themselves but without official authorization.

Meanwhile the State and Federal governments have, in the abandonment of that region, the problem of illegal logging [which] will persist, and for many operating as they do, the ingenuity will prevail to evade them, for many of the persons dedicated now to the illegal logging, it is more important to obtain money for his family, than the punishment that can be imposed.

It has been spoken of many programs to support the economy of the inhabitants of the protected zone, but the reality is that they have not served to complete their objectives, the demagogy and dissembling reign, announcements are done to achieve image, and the people continue poor and without resources.

Neither the promises of Vicente Fox, nor those of the Governor Lazarus Cardenas Batel, have been followed through, it seems that they are waiting so that they are publicly declared able to be heard.

The illegal logging should be fought, but first other sources of incomes should be created that discourage the rural inhabitants from continuing that practice.

Translated by Carol Cullar


Grilla Politica por René Serrano García [editorial]

Political Slanging Match by René Mountain Garcia

The original text for this article can be found on page 5 of the 1 May issue of La Region,

When in ANGANGUEO its habitants decided to march to make public their disagreement with the passiveness of the authorities in deciding to act against the uncontrolled logging, suddenly the Deputy LUCILA ARTEAGA GARIBAY is encouraged and sends a spectacular agent, one with more than 200 elements to inspect sawmills and as occurs in these cases, the lady puffed up her statements as in previous occasions and minimized the problem, saying that the Unit Against Forest Crimes permanently is working, protecting lumber, detaining red-handed [violators], doing inspections in the places where we have accusations of clandestine logging.

She said that the operation had been planned for several days. In reference to the protest march carried out in ANGANGUEO, she recognized that the civil organization is quite worried LIKE THIS GOVERNMENT BY THE PROBLEM THAT IS GENERATED BY CLANDESTINE LOGGING, it has been brought to our attention that in these two years many more operations have been done than in previous governments. For the Deputy, the problem barely is being generated, when here we all know that the problem already exists since many months ago and they have left it to grow, what happens is that she does not want to see it, while the illegal loggers get up to their old tricks and the operations do not worry them because [they] know that they are temporary; and the inspectors of the PROFEPA they convince with some pesos.

Also says ARTEGA GARIBAY, that in this administration many more operations have been carried out than previously, but that is not a justification because even though continuing actions lack consistent structure, besides they should install permanent squads in the roads by which circulate the hundreds of trucks, above all during the nights, loaded with lumber without legal documentation.

For her it’s no use the public accusations that coop members and commune members constantly make, persons truly worried by the growing tolerance of the problem, concerning the free circulation of trucks in Sierra Chincua, in Cerro Gordo, in Crescencio Morales, pays attention except for accusations for example by the Engineer, INDALECIO CARRILO DE LA LUZ, Secretary of the forest area of the ALLIANCE OF COOPERATIVES AND COMMUNITIES, a person interested in this problematically, who charges that daily a line of 60 loaded trucks of lumber without corresponding documentation, neither does he give importance to that pointed out by coop members of Sierra Chincua, where the trucks make a row expecting to carry logs, naturally contraband, another case that the Deputy ignores or pretends to ignore is the clash that police from SAN JOSE del RINCON, STATE OF MEXICO, had with loggers that fled to Michoacán.

If the lady does not know, all this means that her intelligence agents are failing her or hide the reality from her, or she outright ignores these serious problems. The strangest thing about this tolerance toward the illegal loggers, is that in each discussion related to the forest subject, the officials do not hesitate to let loose their demagogy, now one supposes that Governor LAZARUS CÁRDENAS BATEL has agents that daily pass a report to him of the worrying, most important facts, of risk, legal and illegal, because they have to be on top of what occurs in the state, considering this, neither do we understand why he does not arrange for those it may concern to act and to deal with the problem that each day depletes the Michoacan forests and that their destruction is leading to serious problems in the environment.

The pillage of the forests, of nature, should not continue because its consequences are disastrous, that we all know, but for the authority not to comply with its obligation to protect them is changing them into accomplices and that irresponsibility should be sanctioned, in this case by the local Congress. It is the representatives that must call them to account for the work of protection and care of natural resources, to the officials responsible for complying with this task, in other ways they will remain unpunished and saying in their speeches that all is well, when we live the reality, those who are not officials and are very near the true problem, the true reality.

The same day of the protest march in Angangueo against the official apathy toward logging illegal, various sawmills of the city were visited in an extensive unfolding of armed elements, as if they were in the countryside, except that the majority were small locations, some that already had a great deal of time without working, as one that is located in the street of Cuauhtémoc that entered as 20 Goe' s, while in out-regions they secured as many as 30 more, all carrying large weapons and their showy uniforms. Finally that day no official figures were stated on the quantity of lumber confiscated, the PGJE alone said that all that was lacking was to quantify the amount of lumber in two sawmills, but that it was a great volume.

It came to be mentioned that there were 500 cubic meters confiscated. We will expect to see if these operations continue and are expanded to sawmills located in open countryside, also we will be alert to know if they are done with the frequency that the Deputy says, if she comes to comply it would avoid the possibility that the peasants and owners of the forests comply with that which they have already promised: to defend [for] themselves what is theirs.

Translated by Carol Cullar


They Capture Brothers That Protected Illegal Loggers

The Spanish language version of this article, Capturan a hermanos que proteg&Mac226;an a talamontes, can be found at

Leonardo Vazquez/Change of Michoacan

Friday 7 of May of 2004: A group of peasants that was dedicated to protecting illegal loggers and to rescue them from the hands of ministerial police who had detained persons with illegal lumber was stopped by capturing couple of brothers that [were] leading them.

Lucila Arteaga Garibay, deputy general of Justice of the State, reported in an interview with this medium [reporter] that the last known action of that group was carried out this past Wednesday in Maravatio, where they managed to rescue four persons that had been captured with four loaded trucks of logs.

Nevertheless the intervention of a group of more than a hundred agents of the State Ministerial Police and of the Special Operations Group enabled the recapture of the loggers and came back to secure the loaded trucks of illegal lumber.

After that intervention of the group of peasants, [agents] managed to identify Mar&Mac226;a Luisa Valencia Tellez and Pedro Valencia Tellez, as those who headed the group that was dedicated to defend the illegal loggers through quick mobilizations and even springing them from jail.

"These persons are the ones that go (went) taking care of the travel of the loaded trucks of illegal wood; they did not carry weapons, but when the persons unite to intimidate the police, they arrive almost 200 [people strong] and carrying sticks and clubs made precisely to strike blows and stones, we already had them located as to who offers the protection", explained Lucila Arteaga Garibay. To conceal their actions the peasants that are dedicated to giving that protection are shielded behind a group that previously formed part of the Democratic Rural Union (UCD).

"They send then by and by, via cell phone, they notify them: 'we have in such and such a point some detained and everybody meet up' to do what they did (to rescue their companions) and [one must] understand that our people that stop them are only three or four agents of the Ministerial Police", said the Deputy.

That group operated in the Eastern region of the State, according to the investigations of the State Ministerial Police and although several of the members were stopped and two of the presumed ringleaders, Arteaga Garibay recognized that the risk exists that others [will] regroup to continue offering that type of protection.

Translated by Carol Cullar

Note: One of the reasons it has been difficult to stop illegal logging is that the loggers have adopted the tactic described in this article. When loggers are arrested and trucks impounded, the police are mobbed and there are even rumors that government officials have been held hostage until the persons and property have been released. The tactic failed in this instance. Maravatio is west of Angangueo, toward Morelia, and is near the unprotected monarch colony known as San Andres.


They Confiscate Lumber in Monarch Sanctuaries

Leonardo Vazquez/Change of Michoacan

The Spanish language version of the article, Decomisan madera en santuarios de la monarca, can be found at

Friday 7 of May of 2004: More than 100 thousand cubic meters of illegal wood were confiscated in the municipality of Ocampo during an operation that lasted more than four hours, with the intervention of 40 inspectors of the Federal Attorney's office of Environmental Protection supported by some police from the attorney general's State Justice office and Special Operations Group.

Additionally, a sawmill was detected in the same municipality whose volume in back yards and workshops surpasses a thousand cubic meters of pine and oyamel lumber, originating from the monarch butterfly protection zone; the dimensions of that place are such that the delegate of the PROFEPA, Francisco Luna Contreras, said that they will need some three days in order for the inspectors to conclude the measurement.

The total lumber confiscated yesterday in Ocampo trebles the volume secured last week in Zitacuaro, where a similar operation was carried out and a total of 339 cubic meters of irregular lumber was detected.

During the more than four hours that the inspection lasted, more than 20 sawmills and workshops were visited, in which proprietors argued that the attendant or the owner themselves was not found [in order] to hide the lack of documentation that vouched for the legal acquisition of scores of trunks ready to saw.

Francisco Luna Contreras explained that the inspection completed objectives to detect and to confiscate the illegal lumber, to deter the existence of secret sawmills and to [increase chances] that the businesses that have some irregularity will approach the secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources Office to normalize their operation.

The lumber that was detected in an irregular way was not seized for the PROFEPA, therefore now the owners can rely on a period of five working days to demand its [return] with the respective documentation and, in the case of not [presenting them], then, yes, they will be confiscated, and the owner will have to pay a penalty that could amount to 200 minimum salaries in the most serious cases.

The seizure considered most significant by the PROFEPA delegate was that of the sawmill located in the community of El Paso, municipality of Ocampo, which by volume will surpass a thousand cubic meters, the majority without legal invoice, but also because [it] originating from the area of the monarch butterfly reserve.

Already more operators come

The [raid] carried out yesterday in Ocampo is the second mass cooperation realized by the attorney general's office of State Justice in support of the PROFEPA delegation; the first one was April 28 in Zitacuaro.

In respect [to which] Lucila Arteaga Garibay announced that both [raids] form part of a campaign that will continue against the illegal loggers mainly in the Eastern portion of the state, although he did not pinpoint when the next one will occur he implied that it could to occur very soon, "perhaps the next week or in a month".

The intention is to not leave to work in peace the sawmills that include some illegal lumber inside the total volume that they handle in their workshops.

The operating method of many workshops, was confirmed accordingly later from consistent [practices], is that the owners of some sawmills try to conceal the illegal origin of the lumber with invoices legally sent off, but that shelter only a part of the total volume that is processed in the place.

For such irregularities many owners of sawmills will be fined, and in cases of recidivism the total of the sanction will be doubly imposed by PROFEPA, according to the delegate Luna Contreras, through that means is sought to impound the illegal lumber, to make those who use [this method of illegal paperwork] pay the consequences, and thus "make it as expensive as the legal [methods]", he said.

Up to 10 thousand peso yield per tree

In round numbers, a single tree logged in an illegal way yields some five thousand pesos to whomever fells it and processes it into planks then sells it in that same municipality, without even investing in its transfer, but if [they] [transport] it for example to Toluca, State of Mexico, the price is doubled; up to ten thousand pesos can be gotten for it.

A worker in one of the sawmills inspected yesterday in Ocampo explained that each tree can produce around 120 boards of two meters length by an inch in thickness and some ten [inches] wide.

Each one of those pieces, but of legal wood, has a value of some 40 pesos in that municipality, although the majority of the ones that are processed there are sent to the State of Mexico, where the price approaches 80 pesos each.

In that way those who log in an illegal manner and processes the resource can achieve up to ten thousand pesos, while investing only his work and a little consumption of electric energy, "therefore many prefer to continue tumbling mountains", the worker said that asked not to be identifying.

And he is in the sawmill where efforts detected more than 50 cubic meters of illegal lumber that was covered fraudulently with greater volumes of the commodity that was processed right there, but of lawful origin.

Translated by Carol Cullar

Note: This article seems to suggest that the strategy of PROFEPA is to confront the lumber mills and the owners of these businesses rather than the loggers at the site of the clear-cutting. The discussion of the economics of tree harvest make it clear that invasive clear-cutting can be extremely lucrative. The value of the harvested trees at each stage in the process suggests that it will be extremely difficult to stop illegal logging.

Azteca television in Mexico has been a leader in reporting on illegal logging. The following videos are available by subscription on the Azteca website:

Noticieros > Azteca13 > Hechos de la Noche > Ecocidio en Michoacán
Fecha: 05/11/04 Hora:22:28:42 Duración:06:13

Noticieros > Azteca13 > am > Los asesinos de la mariposa monarca
Fecha: 05/04/04 Hora:05:47:50 Duración:03:19

Noticieros > Azteca13 > am > Mariposa Monarca y la tala inmoderada
Fecha: 05/03/04 Hora:05:50:33 Duración:02:30

Noticieros > Azteca13 > am > La tala inmoderada de árboles
Fecha: 03/02/04 Hora:09:44:34 Duración:13:18

Noticieros > Azteca13 > Hechos de la Noche > Tala inmoderada, un mal que no acaba
Fecha: 02/18/04 Hora:23:30:52 Duración:02:26

Noticieros > Azteca13 > Hechos de la Noche > Tala clandestina en Michoacán
Fecha: 02/16/04 Hora:22:50:46 Duración:02:09

Our thanks to Carol Cullar, Dir. Rio Bravo Nature Center Foundation, Eagle Pass, TX who graciously provided the translations of the above articles and to Janis Lentz for her assistance in locating these texts.


2) Monarch Watch Open House and Plant Fund-Raiser

Saturday, May 15th, 8am-3pm, Foley Hall, West Campus

Our Spring Open House and Plant Fund-Raiser will feature a butterfly vivarium with a variety of species, demonstrations of iChatAV, videos of monarchs, live exotic and local insects, a honey bee observation hive, brown recluse spiders and spider expert Jamel Sandige, and at least 1600 continuously blooming butterfly and hummingbird plants you can select from for your garden. We are suggesting a $2.00 donation to Monarch Watch for the herbaceous perennials and annuals and $3.00 each for the shrubs. Most plants are in 4" pots. Although these are relatively small plants, they are beginning to grow rapidly.

We hope to see many of you this weekend, but if you are unable to visit us in person, please visit us online at

where you can see what we're up to via webcams and photos. Be sure to stop by to sign our online Guestbook and read what others are saying!


3) Status of the Population - by Chip Taylor

Unfortunately, there is little to say about the status of the population. There have been relatively few sightings in recent weeks. This is not too surprising since the interval from mid April to 15 May is usually a time of relatively few sightings. New monarchs, progeny from the overwintering monarchs that moved into Texas and other southern states in March and early April, are beginning to emerge and move northward. These monarchs move rapidly and generally do not linger. Sarah Schmidt spotted a monarch visiting the milkweeds placed outside our building on the 7th and I spotted another while mowing my yard on the 8th. These observations suggest that there is a flow of monarchs northward in the Midwest, even though the number of sightings to date are few. The number and distribution of the sightings in the northern states over the next 4 weeks should give us a better assessment of the prospects for a good summer and fall population.


4) The Western Monarch Population

For the last several months we have been reporting in these updates on the grants received by the city of Goleta, California to fund the purchase of Ellwood Mesa, a site that contains the monarch overwintering site known as Ellwood Main. After last month’s update we received an email from Chris Lange, one of the leaders of this project, who clarified the terminology and provided additional details on the project.

Date: Mon, 26 Apr 2004
From: Chris Lange
Subject: Re: Monarch Watch Update - April 19, 2004, Western Pop.

Dear Monarch Watch,

I admire the work and enjoy the good read every time I receive your MW Update. We in California are especially fortunate that you have extended your hand to monarch issues "out west".

My husband and I live near Ellwood Main, and are up to our happy eyeballs in monarchs. We are also deeply involved in the long local effort to preserve Ellwood Mesa. So I'd like to comment on your coverage of the recent "Save Ellwood Mesa" campaign referred to in the article. Your comparison to monies available for Mexican site conservation left a few things out.

1. Where Ellwood is concerned, clarifying WHICH Ellwood one means is often needed, so here goes.

"137 acres" refers to the Mesa. Raising the $20.4 million is part of an agreement the goal of which is to conserve that WHOLE mesa.

"Ellwood Main" is historically the name given to the largest monarch overwintering site in the eucalyptus grove which forms the northern border of the Mesa.

"Ellwood Complex" is monarch habitat comprising E. Main and the whole grove -- a bit over 22 acres of the Mesa.

2. This eucalyptus grove is already a designated ESHA (environmentally sensitive habitat area) and would by itself never have been built on, campaign or not. So why is this campaign SO important to monarchs?

This lovely Mesa happens to sit on a marine terrace overlooking the Channel Islands. So pricey is BUILDABLE oceanfront land, that $20.4M is paired with a transfer of buildable land as a package deal. The grove does go with the larger deed transfer, to new owners -- the City of Goleta. In short, the Save Ellwood Mesa" campaign has always been about conserving more than the grove holding Ellwood Main.

3. STILL--CAMPAIGNING FOR THIS DEAL BENEFITS MONARCHS AND THE MIGRATION MANY WAYS. We in Monarchs Unlimited and in FOTEC (Friends of the Ellwood Coast) have flung ourselves wholeheartedly into the "Save Ellwood Mesa" campaign: for one thing, development will be shrunk and moved off-mesa to minimize human impacts to Ellwood Main. For another, it will put the whole Ellwood Complex into the hands of the City of Goleta as part of a passive use park. That's an access and permanent protection plus!

4. There is an OSHMP (Open Space and Habitat Management Plan) associated with this "land swap" -- and it promises to lend monitoring and enforcement guidelines to the entire natural open space parkland -- with a funding mechanism and a science-based respect for the migration perpetuity.

THIS is what $20.4M is about.

Thanks for your ongoing coverage!

Chris Lange, President FOTEC, 2004 and member of Monarchs Unlimited


5) The European Paper Wasp - by Chip Taylor

Last month’s call for reports on the presence of Polistes dominulus

the invasive European paper wasp, resulted in 8 emails from subscribers who reported seeing this wasp in their areas. I passed these accounts on to the expert, Kurt Milton Pickett, who is tracking the spread of this insect. If these sightings prove to be accurate, 2-3 new states and one Canadian province will be added to the list of areas occupied by this species. We will keep you up to date on information regarding the distribution and impact of P. dominulus as it become available.


6) About Our Update List

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