Butterflies are free – from protection in Nevada

By: - August 22, 2022 4:13 pm

Monarch butterfly. (Photo courtesy John Buse/Center for Biological Diversity)

A bill draft authorizing the Nevada Department of Wildlife to protect monarch butterflies, bees and other terrestrial invertebrates advanced from the Nevada Legislative Joint Interim Standing Committee on Natural Resources, yesterday.

While the Nevada Department of Agriculture has authority over insects that are considered pests, no agency has authority over non-pests like butterflies, bees, snails, worms and tarantulas. The bill draft will be for the next legislative session when it convenes early next year.

“The insect extinction crisis has come to Nevada, and without the tools to conserve invertebrates, the state risks losing its wild ecosystems,” said Patrick Donnelly, Great Basin director at the Center for Biological Diversity. 

More than 700 documented species of insects call Nevada home and the state ranks eighth in the nation for butterfly diversity, but 109 of those are on its at-risk tracking list including monarch butterflies. 

“Butterflies, bees and other pollinators are the backbone of the desert ecosystem,” Donnelly said. “This bill would give the state the authority it needs to address the many threats these creatures face. ”

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Camalot Todd
Camalot Todd

An award-winning, investigative and enterprise reporter, Camalot Todd has over seven years experience in print, digital, radio and TV journalism. She covered mental and behavioral health in New York for Spectrum News 1 Buffalo through the national service program, Report For America, where she won the Mental Health Advocates of WNY Advocacy Award in 2020 for her coverage on mental health stigma. She also served as an inaugural member of the Report For America Corps Advisory Board Member, 2021-2022. Previously, she reported on community issues in Las Vegas, including a long-term project on underage sex trafficking, for the Las Vegas Sun and its sister publication, Las Vegas Weekly. For the Sun, she wrote a pathbreaking investigative piece called, “Children on the Cusp: The transition from foster care to adulthood is leaving some behind.” The piece won the Nevada Press Association best investigative story of the year and named Camalot the Best Community Reporter of 2017. She also worked as a reporter for KUNV radio and is a graduate of University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Camalot was selected for National Press Foundation Opioid and Addiction Fellow 2021 and led the Syracuse Press Club's Journalism Lab as an educator from 2021-2022.