Abandoned Lots/golfcourses

Paul Cherubini paulcher at concentric.net
Tue Jun 9 11:30:42 EDT 1998

Here in California monarch butterfly researchers have been finding a
substantial number of overwintering sites are located on golf courses
and in city parks in urban areas such as the San Francisco Bay Area and
the Los Angeles Basin.
Of the 30 or so large, permanent overwintering colonies that exist along
the central and northern California coast, the biggest colony last
winter was located on the Black Hill Golf course in Morro Bay,
California  (110,000 monarchs were there in early January).

Two other large golf course colonies are located in the San Francico Bay
Area between Oakland and San Jose, California. One is at the Sky West
Golf course in Hayward, California (it had 60,000 monarchs last winter)
and the other is at the San Leandro Marina Golf course in San Leandro,
California (it had 30,000 monarchs).

Video of the San Leandro Golf course colony was broadcast on the CBS
evening news with Dan Rather last December. 

For years, Californians have heard from some segments of the scientific
community that the monarch butterfly  migration in California is an
"endangered phenomenon" because the butterflies won't use and can't
survive the winter in just any old clump of trees. These scientists have
said the butterflies have specialized habitat requirments such as  a
closed canopy of preferably native trees growing in a pristine like
environment  away from human activity and urban pollution.  A diverse
and well developed layer of understory vegetation has also been claimed
to be a habitat requirement.  These "requirements" are obviously not met
by the skimpy rows of eucalyptus trees  and undertstory layer of plain
turf found at the Morro Bay, Hayward and San Leandro Golf courses.

It appears that a reevaluation of monarch butterfly overwintering
habitat requirements is in order. 

Paul Cherubini, El Dorado, California
paulcher at concentric.net

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