New butterfly habitats coming to Laguna Vista

LAGUNA VISTA — Building on a pledge she signed more than two years ago, Laguna Vista Mayor Susie Houston said the town has begun the work for recreating habitats to protect butterflies.

In the past two decades, the monarch butterfly population has drastically decreased.

In order to save the species, the National Wildlife Federation asked cities across North America to take a pledge to help preserve the butterfly population.

Houston, along with hundreds of other mayors, took the pledge to help.

“We’re in the flyway for the monarchs,” Houston said. “We have to have resting areas for them.”

Laguna Vista is one of 365 cities in America, Canada and Mexico to have taken the pledge and one of only four cities in the Valley, which includes South Padre Island, McAllen and Pharr.

The mayor’s pledge requires the commitment of city leaders to work to restore the natural habitats of the creatures and encourage their residents to do the same.

Mayors are asked to take part in a four-step process that includes taking the pledge, specifying the actions they want to take, taking action and reporting the progress to the National Wildlife Federation annually.

Houston pledged to create habitats and encourage residents and schools to create habitats as well.

Butterfly habitats can be as small as a raised a flowerbed containing milkweed plants and other nectar plants that are native to the area and attract the creatures.

The city built a habitat in Veterans Park but due to a recent addition of monuments, the habitat had to be removed.

In order to continue with the pledge, the city has decided to move the habitat and possibly add more to other parks.

According to City Manager Rolando Vela, the city has already started planting and creating habitats at Roloff Park.

Houston said some residents have donated or pledged to donate butterfly-friendly plants such as milkweed for the habitats.

“If we don’t improve on what they have, we won’t have the monarchs anymore,” Houston said.

What does the pledge ask of mayors?

• Take the pledge — Mayors are asked to commit to both restoring the habitat in the community and encouraging their citizens to do the same

• Specify action — Mayors are asked to specify which actions they would like to take among a list of 25

• Take action — Cities are expected to complete the action

• Report progress — Mayors are required to fill out an annual report on the actions they have taken