A big step for coastal conservation!
Earlier this month I joined Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell for a hike on the Point Arena-Stornetta Public lands on the Mendocino Coast. It isn’t often that a Cabinet Secretary visits, and it’s rarer still that one comes to discuss expanding a National Monument in our backyard. I’m thrilled that she accepted my invitation and held a public meeting where she saw and heard the tremendous support from the local community for adding these breathtaking lands to the California Coastal National Monument (CCNM).
This is an unmatched opportunity to preserve more than 1,600 acres of pristine coastal lands. A National Monument designation adds another level of protection to this complex and fragile ecosystem, which includes habitat for several endangered species, coho salmon, steelhead, Great Blue Herons, Peregrine Falcons and the Laysan Albatross.
Safeguarding this national treasure isn't just good for the environment; it would also boost the local economy. This would be the first land-based addition to the California Coastal National Monument, providing a gateway for visitors to experience the Monument, as well as attracting customers to local businesses.
The potential benefit to the local economy is just one of the reasons why the effort to protect this amazing stretch of the Mendocino coast has such broad support—from State and local elected officials to the Manchester-Point Arena Band of Pomo Indians, conservation groups across the country, and local businesses and civic leaders.
We were very fortunate that the House of Representatives unanimously passed my very first bill as a Congressman, which would add this magnificent land to the National Monument. I’m very pleased that our two California Senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, support this effort in the Senate.
As we continue to move this legislation forward, I'm gratified by Secretary Jewell's commitment: at the public meeting in Point Arena she told us that if Congress doesn't get this done, the Administration will. This community meeting was a critical step needed before President Obama can use the authority under the Antiquities Act to do just that.
I’ll keep you updated on our efforts to preserve this spectacular land, but for now, things are looking good! Thank you for all your support.
P.S.: Even the whales were conspiring to impress Secretary Jewell and she was able to see them breaching just offshore!