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Exterior Q&A: Is the monarch butterfly now listed as endangered? | Outside

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Monarchs

Q: Is the monarch butterfly now listed as endangered?

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Monarch butterflies are not currently listed as endangered by the federal or California governments. (Hillary Sardiñas/DFW Pollinator Coordinator)

A: In July 2022, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has reclassified the migratory monarch butterfly as endangered on its “red list”. It was previously listed as declining.

IUCN’s action will help draw attention to the causes of monarch decline, including habitat loss, climate change and exposure to pesticides. The decline was more pronounced in the western population wintering in California than in the eastern population wintering in Mexico.

However, the IUCN classification does not translate into legal or regulatory protections for the species. The US Fish and Wildlife Service concluded that the listing of monarchs under the Federal CA on Endangered SpeciesThis would be justified, but is excluded due to other high priority species.

Currently, the monarch is expected to be federally listed in 2024. Monarchs are not listed as threatened or endangered under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). The CESA registration process can be found at fgc.ca.gov/cesa.

In early 2022, new data showed that wintering numbers for western monarch butterflies increased to nearly 250,000. While these numbers are encouraging, this year-over-year trend does not represent a full recovery given that historically monarchs numbered in the millions along the California coast.

Nonetheless, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) remains cautiously optimistic and inspired to build on the success of the past year. We are focused on improving the management of CDFW-owned overwintering sites, increasing the availability of native early-season milkweed to support first-generation monarchs, and improving collaboration with state and federal partners to catalyze monarch conservation throughout California.

For more information, visit CDFW’s Monarch Butterfly Web pagewhich includes a section on frequently asked questions.

salmon fishing

Q: When fishing for salmon, is it legal to use a jig over three ounces with treble hooks or does it have to be a single hook?

A: In the scenario you described, the angler should be using a single hook and not a treble hook. It is illegal to use a multiple hook or more than one single hook on non-buoyant artificial lures exceeding one ounce.

This information is covered on pages 17-18 of the California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations. The regulations are designed to prevent salmon snagging.

Halibut

Q: Is it legal to gaff a California halibut as long as it exceeds the minimum size limit of 22 inches? I’m curious about this for boating and shore fishing.

A: Yes, you can fish for legal size halibut. Gaffs may be used to land most species that are at or above the minimum size limit, per California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 14, Section 28.65(d).

Gaffs are not permitted for catching species that have a defined and authorized method of catching or have a snagging ban. Examples include, but are not limited to, sturgeon and striped bass.

Section 28.65(d) also specifies that a dip net with an opening diameter of 18 inches or greater must be on board when fishing from a boat or floating gear in ocean waters.

For more information see the CDFW fact sheet on handling short halibut (PDF).

Bear sightings

Q: I live in the North Bay area and heard of a bear sighting in a residential area. What should I do if I see a bear?

A: If you see a bear in an urban area, we suggest you notify local law enforcement or your CDFW Regional Office. Your local police or sheriff’s department will be in the best position to respond quickly and secure the area in the event of a public safety issue. Local law enforcement may also contact CDFW and animal control authorities for assistance.

That said, the appropriate response to the sighting of a bear depends on the situation.

Note that when bears enter urban areas, they are usually in search of food. The best way to keep a bear away from your property is to remove all attractants like unsafe trash and pet food. For more advice, visit the CDFW Human-Wildlife Conflict Program Web page.

Seeing a bear on the outskirts of town in a less populated area may warrant a call to the non-emergency number of your local police or sheriff’s department. You might consider programming your local law enforcement non-emergency phone number into your phone.

If there is a possible threat to public safety, call 911. For example, seeing a bear crossing a densely populated area would warrant a call to 911.

If an animal has damaged your property or you want to report a bear encounter, you can submit a wildlife incident report online at CDFW through the statewide Wildlife Incident Reporting System.