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National Monument Update March 2024

UPDATE:  CALIFORNIA NATIONAL MONUMENT PROPOSALS

by Linda Castro, Assistant Policy Director

 

Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument proposed expansion

 

In 2023 the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and five other Tribes called upon President Biden to protect about 9,000 acres of BLM-managed parcels in Colusa and Lake Counties by adding them to the existing Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument (BSMNM). 

 

Senator Padilla and Representatives Mike Thompson and John Garmendi introduced legislation in 2022 to add Molok Luyuk to the BSMNM and allow the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and other affected Tribes to help the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) collaboratively manage the NM in the future. While the bill advanced in the Senate, it stalled in the House due to the current partisan atmosphere. The good news is that expanding the BSMNM is up to President Biden, and we hope he will act soon given that late last year there was a very successful public hearing on the proposed expansion, a Tribal listening session hosted by Interior Secretary Deborah Haaland (to which CalWild was honored to be invited), and several tours of the potential expansion area by BLM officials.

 

Proposed Chuckwalla National Monument

 

Representative Raul Ruiz, M.D. introduced legislation last September that would designate about 660,000 acres of lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Riverside and Imperial Counties as the Chuckwalla National Monument, as well as expand Joshua Tree National Park on its eastern boundary by about 17,000 acres.

 

The Protect California Deserts coalition has been working on accomplishing this designation and expansion.  CalWild was one of the founding organizations of this coalition and continues to be actively involved in this campaign.  The coalition has been focused on outreach to educate the public about the proposal and to seek support for it.  As of March 8, 2024, the coalition has received letters or resolutions of support from six Tribal Nations, approximately 20 letters from cities and elected officials, and approximately 100 letters from organizations, businesses, and more.  Thousands of individuals have also signed a petition which expresses support for the proposed national monument and asks the President to take action to designate the monument.

 

The coalition is also urging top-ranking Department of Interior and BLM staff to visit the lands that would comprise the national monument so that they can see for themselves the unique and important values that a designation would safeguard.  We are also seeking the support of Senators Alex Padilla and Laphonza Butler.

 

 

Proposed Kw’tsán (Quechan) National Monument

Last month, the Fort Yuma Quechan Indian Tribe publicly announced a campaign calling on President Biden to protect about 390,000 acres of the Tribe’s homelands located in Imperial County as the Kw’tsán National Monument.  While CalWild is not actively engaged in the effort to designate this national monument, we are supportive of it.

 

To learn more about this campaign and to sign the Fort Yuma Quechan Indian Tribe’s petition, please visit:  https://www.protectkwtsan.org/.

 

 

San Gabriel Mountains National Monument proposed expansion

CalWild is also part of the coalition San Gabriel Mountains Forever, which is working to expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.  CalWild was actively involved in the establishment of the Monument in 2014 and continues to be involved in the current expansion effort.

 

Last June, Representative Judy Chu and Senator Alex Padilla called on the Biden administration to expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument by approximately 109,000 acres on its western boundary.  Later in the year, top ranking agency staff from the U.S. Forest Service visited the proposed expansion and held a public meeting at which overwhelming support for the proposed expansion was voiced by the public.  Now the San Gabriel Mountains Forever coalition continues to build support for the expansion to convince President Biden to take action to expand the existing Monument.  Notable support garnered thus far includes:  Gabrieleno/Tongva San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians, Gabrieleno Band of Mission Indians- Kizh Nation, State Senator Anthony Portantino, State Assemblymember Laura Friedman, City and County of Los Angeles, City of Pasadena, City of Glendale, and the City of Santa Clarita.  Both Representative Chu and Senator Padilla previously introduced legislation to expand the existing Monument, which is cosponsored by 27 House Members including Representatives Tony Cardenas and Adam Schiff and Senator Laphonza Butler.

 

Proposed Sáttítla Medicine Lake Highlands National Monument

 

In November of last year, the Pit River Tribe called upon President Biden to protect about 200,000 acres in the Medicine Lake Highlands of the Modoc and Klamath National Forests as the proposed Sáttítla Medicine Lake Highlands National Monument.  CalWild is working with the coalition that is seeking this national monument designation to garner public support for the effort.  The coalition is also seeking the support of Senators Padilla and Butler.      

 

To learn more about this campaign and to sign the Pit River Tribe’s petition, please visit: https://www.protectmedicinelakehighlands.org/take-action.