TRENTON – Today, legislation sponsored by Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez establishing an ‘Adopt a Monarch Butterfly Waystation’ program in the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) was approved by the Assembly.
“The population of monarch butterflies is in decline and in great danger of extinction,” said Senator Cruz-Perez (D-Camden-Gloucester). “Preserving them in New Jersey is a way of contributing to nature and the environment. This legislation will ensure that New Jersey provides the necessary resources to successive generations of monarch butterflies.”
The bill, S-1732, would authorize groups, organizations, businesses, and individuals to “adopt” assigned portions of State-owned lands to develop and maintain monarch butterfly waystations and coordinate with program volunteers, public interest organizations, and government officials to arrange for the adoption of State-owned lands.
The bill also requires the DEP, in consultation with the Department of Education and citizen, educational, and environmental groups, to prepare educational materials on the decline in the monarch butterfly population and the ways in which residents can create and conserve monarch butterfly habitats, and to distribute these materials to schools and public interest organizations. Under the bill, each program volunteer in the “Adopt a Monarch Butterfly Waystation” program would be required to sign a waiver to release all State and local government entities and employees from any liability for injury or damages caused or sustained while developing or maintaining a waystation.
Adoptions would last for one year, but could be renewed on an annual basis.
The bill was approved by the Assembly with a vote of 71-0. The bill was approved by the Senate with a vote of 40-0. Now it heads to the Governor’s desk for consideration.