Oregon Sen. Merkley helps launch center to save bees and butterflies

A new center dedicated to saving pollinating species like bees and butterflies is launching.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, was among the officials working toward the launch of the Pollinator Conservation Center at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The center will focus on addressing declining populations, including monarch butterflies, across North America.

Conservationists say that over the past 30 years, the monarch butterfly population has decreased by 85%, and western monarch populations have declined by nearly 99%.

Many species of pollinators, like bumblebees, are affected by loss of habitat, increasing pollution, pesticides and climate change.

Researchers say when it comes to conservation, having data compiled in a central place will be hugely helpful.

“There is a real desperate need for everyone who has information about these species, in this case bumblebees, but also monarch butterflies and other things, there’s this real need for the service to have all of the information in one place, and that’s a huge challenge, actually,” said Lincoln Best, lead taxonomist with the Oregon Bee Atlas at Oregon State University.

Meanwhile, if you want to help out pollinators at home, you can plant native plants in your garden that bloom during multiple seasons to be a food source.

You can also avoid or limit the use of pesticides.