Dover becomes ‘monarch city’ | Bonner County Daily Bee

DOVER – After Rathdrum, Dover has become a “monarch city” – part of the community’s long-standing commitment to protect and promote the endangered butterfly’s habitat.

The council voted unanimously on May 9 to accept the designation and established the first week of June as “Pollinator Week” under a proclamation signed by Mayor George Eskridge. The efforts are part of the city’s commitment to its natural environment, city officials said.

Dover is one of the few U.S. cities with more than 20% designated open space and is home to many native plants, animals, and beneficial insects. Last year, the Kaniksu Land Trust and the nonprofit Mighty Monarchs planted seven monarch butterfly habitats – known as monarch way stations – in the Pine Street Woods meadow area.

Members of Mighty Monarchs have worked with Dover and surrounding communities to share information about monarch butterflies and other native pollinating insects and plants, and to establish way stations and milkweed gardens in the community.

The western monarch butterfly begins its migration each spring from Baja and the California coast and travels north to Canada, said De Trenbeath, a Dover resident and member of the Mighty Monarchs.

“These incredible butterflies will complete approximately three life cycles and the offspring will arrive in Idaho during the month of June,” Trenbeath said. “They will then reproduce in the summer, using milkweed as the only food source in the larval stage.”

The monarch butterflies complete a few 30-day reproductive cycles and then begin their migration back to warmer climates in early September. “This amazing butterfly will travel thousands of miles and winter in various locations along the coast of California and northern Mexico,” Trenbeath said.

However, due to increased residential and commercial development, pesticide use and declining sources of milkweed, Trenbeath says the monarch butterfly population in the West has declined by 97% since the 1980s. According to the Xerces Society, only 233,394 monarch butterflies were counted at 256 overwintering sites in the 2023-2024 season.

“The City of Dover and its residents, together with local businesses, environmental groups and surrounding communities, can have a positive impact on protecting the monarch butterfly and other pollinators and promoting a native pollinator environment,” Trenbeath said.

Planting native milkweed is one of the most important things communities and residents can do to help monarchs, she said. Female monarchs lay their eggs only on milkweed, the only food source for the developing caterpillars.

Planting other native plants such as Aster, Narrowleaf Penstemon and Goldenrod and non-native ornamental plants such as Cosmos and Zinnia will help the monarch’s nectar source and other pollinators.

“And just as important, it is to be educated about the devastating effects of pesticides on our pollinator population,” she said. “Ask your local nurseries if the plants are pesticide-free. Establishing a pollinator-friendly pesticide regimen will help protect the monarch and other vital pollinators.”

Trenbeath encouraged area residents to join the effort to help the butterflies and encourage their return to Northern Idaho, and to help other pollinators thrive as well, Trenbeath said. That can be as simple as planting native milkweed and other native and flowering pollinator plants and taking the time to learn about the effects of pesticides and following a pollinator-friendly regimen, and local organizations like the Mighty Monarchs in their efforts.

“Congratulations to Dover for making this important commitment to protect and support our monarch and the entire pollinator population,” Trenbeath said.

For more information on how you can help monarch butterflies, contact the Mighty Monarch at [email protected].