NewsLocal News


A promising outlook for the Western monarch butterfly count in Pismo Beach so far this year

Posted at 6:26 PM, Nov 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-14 22:36:35-05

It’s that time of year again when the Western monarch butterflies make their appearance and rest in their new home on the Central Coast for the winter months.

“They’re just coming from higher altitude climates where they have snowfall this time of year. They’re escaping that weather pattern to be somewhere more temperate which is why they come here," said environmental scientist Ryan Slack with California State Parks.

The Pismo Beach Monarch Butterly Grove attracts people from all over California and outside of the state. For visitor Ashley Hernandez, it’s become a tradition.

“Me and my boyfriend are celebrating our eight-year anniversary and I’ve come here for about 10 years, ever since I was a kid with my family and I wanted to introduce my boyfriend," she said.

The monarch butterflies begin arriving in October.

State Parks officials say the number of butterflies so far is similar to last year.

“Every little bit counts when you’re talking about species that have been decreasing so much over the years," Slack said.

Initial numbers for this year so far are promising. California State Parks officials said there are 24,000 monarch butterflies counted so far.

Last year, the biggest count they had was 22,000.

Slack said while the numbers right now look good compared to last year, when you compare them to historic numbers, the monarch butterflies have experienced a 95% decrease in population.

The black and orange insects clustered together create a view many don’t want to miss.

“I love coming here. Every time they come to migrate through here, it’s so beautiful," Hernandez said.

“I want to bring my grandkids and have them experience this," said Huntington Beach resident Debbie Zimmerman.

State Parks staff says the best time to visit is now through January.

Closer to Thanksgiving, State Parks said they will do another count and have a new, formal count of the monarch butterflies.