John Laird

Obama Designates New National Monuments Along California Coast

Dan General

California John Laird

John Laird

California Natural Resources Agency Secretary John Laird issued the following statement in support of President Obama’s action under the authority of the Antiquities Act of 1906 to expand the California Coastal National Monument to include six individual sites across the northern, central, and southern California Coast:  Trinidad Head, Lost Coast Headlands, Waluplh-Lighthouse Ranch, Piedras Blancas, Cotoni-Coast Dairies, and Orange County Rocks and Islands:

“California has enthusiastically supported the protection of these signature sights by including them in the California Coastal National Monument, created in 2000. I am pleased to see the expansion of these already well-loved spaces. The six individual sights across northern, central, and southern California highlight the diverse treasures of our coastal environments. Many of these areas are adjacent to iconic state-protected lands. The President’s action will further protect these special places, and allow for better cooperation between the state and federal government in order to manage and protect these lands for all stakeholders.”

California Coastal National Monument Expansion

Fast Facts

  • Original monument protects unappropriated or unreserved islands, rocks, exposed reefs, and pinnacles within 12 nautical miles of the California shoreline
  • Point Arena-Stornetta expansion protects approximately 1,665 acres in Mendocino County
  • Managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
  • Expansion adds six new areas totaling approximately 6,230 acres:
    • Humboldt County – Trinidad Head, Waluplh-Lighthouse Ranch, and Lost Coast Headlands
    • Santa Cruz County – Cotoni-Coast Dairies
    • San Luis Obispo County – Piedras Blancas
    • Orange County – Orange County Rocks and Islands

What is the effect of the President’s proclamation?

The President’s proclamation expands California Coastal National Monument by adding six new areas, comprised entirely of existing federal lands. The designation directs the BLM to manage these areas for the care and management of objects of scientific and historic interest identified by the proclamation. The areas generally may not be disposed of by the United States and are closed to new extractive uses such as mining and oil and gas development, and subject to valid existing rights. The designation preserves current uses of the land, including tribal access, hunting or fishing where allowed, and grazing.

Will there be an opportunity for local input in the management planning process?

The BLM’s planning process for the expansion areas will include opportunities for public input, consistent with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and the BLM’s planning regulations and policies. The BLM will coordinate with state, local, and tribal governments as part of the planning process.

What kind of public process took place before this expansion?

In 2015, former Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), former Representative Lois Capps (D-24-CA), and Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-18-CA) and Jared Huffman (D-2- CA) introduced the California Coastal National Monument Expansion Act (S. 1971 and H.R. 3565 in the 114th Congress), which would have expanded the monument to include the same six new areas. In September 2016, BLM Director Neil Kornze joined Representative Capps and state officials in attending a public meeting on the expansion proposal in Cambria, CA. In front of a standing room-only crowd at the public meeting, speakers from area tribes, local government, the conservation and recreation communities, and local residents spoke almost entirely in support of the proposed expansion.

Where are the expansion areas?

  • Trinidad Head, a promontory in Trinidad Harbor, contains 13 acres managed by the BLM.
  • Waluplh-Lighthouse Ranch, twelve miles south of Eureka, contains 8 acres managed by the BLM.
  • The Lost Coast Headlands, thirteen miles further south, contains about 400 acres managed by the BLM.
  • Cotoni-Coast Dairies, contains 5,785 acres outside Davenport managed by the BLM
  • Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area, contains 25 acres managed by the BLM and was designated by Congress in 2008.
  • Rocks and islands off the coast of Orange County, managed by the BLM and reserved by Congress in the 1930s for park, scenic, and public purposes as well as the possibility of future lighthouses.

Who supports the expansion?

Beyond support from the California Congressional delegation, many diverse voices have spoken out in favor of permanent protection of these areas. Local governments supporting the monument expansion include the City of Trinidad, City of Capitola, City of Scotts Valley, City of Watsonville, and the San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors. Governor Jerry Brown is also a supporter. Local tribes including the Wiyot Tribe, Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community of the Trinidad Rancheria, Northern Chumash Tribal Council, Northern Valley Yokut/Ohlone/Bay Miwuk Tribe, and Amah Mutsun Tribal Band have all endorsed the expansion. More than 90 local businesses have written in support of the expansion, along with twelve local chambers of commerce, more than eight business alliances and tourism boards, and 20 outdoor recreation businesses based in California. Numerous national, state, and local conservation groups have endorsed the expansion.

How does the expansion impact public access?

The expansion allows for public access, such as for hunting or fishing where allowed, which continue to be managed by the State of California. It also ensures that tribes will continue to be able to access sacred sites and cultural sites for traditional cultural and customary uses. Visitors may use motorized vehicles on designated roads and non-motorized mechanized vehicles (e.g. mountain bikes) on designated roads and trails, consistent with the care and management of monument objects. Currently the Cotoni-Coast Dairies unit is largely closed to public access, and the proclamation provides that it will be opened to the public upon completion of a management plan, consistent with the care and management of monument objects.

How does the expansion impact grazing?

Authorized grazing within these monument additions, including grazing as a management tool, will continue to be governed by the same laws, regulations, and policies as are generally applicable on other lands administered by the BLM, consistent with the protection of the objects identified in the proclamation.