California Coastal National Monument expansion – Point Arena-Stornetta Unit
- Location: Mendocino County, CA
- Established by Presidential Proclamation: January 11, 2000
- Expanded by Presidential Proclamation: March 11, 2014
- Size: 1,108 acres
- Managing agency: Bureau of Land Management
- First on-shore expansion of the CA Coastal National Monument
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- Editorial: Mendocino part of a worthy coastal protection, San Francisco Chronicle, March 16, 2014
- Obama to designate monument in Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands in California, Washington Post, March 8, 2014
- Huffman, Secretary Jewell tour Point Arena-Stornetta public lands, Ukiah Daily Journal, Nov. 13, 2013
“This is a welcome move by President Obama. Trout Unlimited has worked with timber companies such as Mendocino Redwood Company and other partners for more than a decade to recover imperiled coastal steelhead and coho salmon populations. The model of collaborative stewardship developed on the north coast is replicable across the country. Bully for President Obama for calling attention to one of the best public-private partnerships in conservation,” Chris Wood, President and CEO of Trout Unlimited”
In January 2000, President Clinton established the California Coastal National Monument to protect the biological treasures situated offshore on thousands of unappropriated or unreserved islands, rocks, exposed reefs, and pinnacles owned or controlled by the federal government within 12 nautical miles of the shoreline of the State of California.
The monument protects feeding and nesting habitat for an estimated 200,000 breeding seabirds. Development on the mainland has forced seabirds that once fed and nested in the shoreline ecosystem to retreat to these protected areas. The monument also protects forage and breeding habitat for California sea lions, southern sea otters, and northern (Steller) sea lions.
The addition of the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands by as the first shoreline unit of the monument expanded the monument to include coastal bluffs and shelves, tide pools, onshore dunes, coastal prairies, riverbanks, and the mouth and estuary of the Garcia River.
The expanded monument presents exemplary opportunities for geologists, archeologists, historians, and biologists to use the historic and scientific objects in these lands to further illuminate the evolving relationship between California’s abundant coastal resources and its human inhabitants.
The human history of Point Arena-Stornetta, which lie within the ancestral lands of the Central Pomo Indians, is written across the landscape. Numerous cultural and archeological sites, including middens and lithic scatters, as well as a few chert and obsidian tools, have been found on these lands.
Some of California’s most spectacular wildlife make use of this striking landscape and its diverse vegetation communities. The Point Arena-Stornetta unit provides important habitat for significant numbers of animal, marine and plant life.
In 2005, Larry Stornetta transferred title of the Stornetta Ranch to the Bureau of Land Management to ensure its long term protection and accessibility to the public.
In 2009, Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) introduced a bill to permanently protect the Stornetta Public Lands as part of the BLM-managed National Conservation Lands. The bill passed the House Natural Resources Committee, but never reached the House floor.
Again in 2012, Rep. Thompson introduced legislation. The bill had received support from local business owners, Mendocino County elected officials, and the County Fish and Game Commission.
In 2013, newly elected Rep. Jared Huffman introduced a bill to add the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands to the California Coastal National Monument (H.R. 1411). The bill was recieved a mark-up in the House Natural Resources committee, where necessary grazing language was added by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) over the objections of the community and the which was opposed by the local ranching family for whom the property was named.
Both the original bill and the Antiquities Act request were supported by the Manchester-Point Arena Band of Pomo Indians, the Point Arena and Fort Bragg City Councils, Trout Unlimited, the Mendocino Audubon Society, the business community including the Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce, the North Coast Tourism Board, Visit Mendocino and the Point Arena Merchants Association, civic leaders and the local community.
Congressman Huffman, joined by Congressman Mike Thompson and Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, subsequently sent a letter to President Obama , urging him to use the Antiquities Act to respond to the community and protect the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands.
In November 2013, Interior Secretary Jewell held a public meeting in Point Arena, CA and received overwhelming and enthusiastic support for a national monument designation.