Rep. Huffman Introduces New Legislation to Expand the California Coastal National Monument
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) today introduced legislation to expand the California Coastal National Monument to include five sites along the California coast, including two in Humboldt County. The California Coastal National Monument Expansion Act of 2015, introduced with Reps. Lois Capps (CA-24) and Anna Eshoo (CA-18), would protect nearly 6,000 acres of coastline throughout California, enhancing protections and boosting tourism.
Today’s bill introduction builds on Rep. Huffman’s longstanding commitment to protecting the California coast: the very first bill Huffman introduced as a member of Congress, the California Coastal National Monument Expansion Act of 2013, created the first land-based addition to the National Monument in Mendocino County. After the House of Representatives unanimously passed Huffman’s bill in 2013, President Obama used his executive authority to add the 1,660 acres to the National Monument.
“I am proud to work with Representatives Capps and Eshoo to further protect our state’s breathtaking coast for future generations,” said Huffman. “To bring new lands on the North Coast into this National Monument is good for the economy and for the environment, and I look forward to working with my colleagues—along with local officials and communities, tribes, and businesses—to build the support necessary to see this through.”
National Monuments bring tourists from around the world to shop at local businesses, dine at restaurants, and stay at hotels, strengthening the local economy and spurring job growth. In Mendocino County, 74 percent of tourists visit the region’s public lands, bringing an estimated $314 million in annual economic activity to the region. After the expansion of the National Monument in Mendocino County in 2014, visits to the Point Arena Lighthouse rose 40%.
In Humboldt County, tourism is responsible for more than $330 million in economic activity every year. In Santa Cruz County, tourism brings in more than $700 million every year and is one of the county’s top industries. Tourism in San Luis Obispo County produces more than $1 billion annually and is also the county’s largest industry, supporting 15,570 jobs in 2011.
The California Coastal National Monument, created by President Clinton in 2000, protects more than 1,100 miles of California coastline, including more than 20,000 small islands, rocks, exposed reefs, and rookeries.
The California Coastal National Monument Expansion Act of 2015 would add the following sites to the California Coastal National Monument:
- Trinidad Head in Trinidad, CA (13 acres). Trinidad Head is a rocky promontory surrounded by sea stacks in Trinidad Harbor. The area offers breathtaking ocean views of the offshore rocks and islands of the California Coastal National Monument. Trinidad Head is currently managed by BLM.
- Lighthouse Ranch near Loleta, CA (8 acres). Lighthouse Ranch is located twelve miles south of Eureka and five miles northwest of Loleta, situated on Table Bluff. The site overlooks the Eel River Delta, the South Spit of Humboldt Bay, and the Pacific Ocean, occupying a site of exceptional panoramic views. Lighthouse Ranch is currently managed by BLM.
- Cotoni-Coast Dairies near Davenport, CA (5,780 acres). The Cotoni-Coast Dairies are home to rare species (such as the California Red-legged Frog, the American peregrine falcon, coho salmon, and steelhead trout) and are lined with coast redwoods, six watersheds, freshwater wetlands, rolling coastal terrace grasslands, and riparian corridors flowing directly into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The Cotoni-Coast Dairies are currently owned and managed by BLM.
- Piedras Blancas Outstanding Natural Area in San Luis Obispo County (20 acres). The Piedras Blancas Outstanding Natural Area is home to the historic Piedras Blancas Light Station, first illuminated in 1875. The site is surrounded by the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, rocky shoreline, and large rocks of the California Coastal National Monument. This area includes coastal vistas, estuaries, wetlands, dune fields, and a large array of marine wildlife, including harbor seals, sea lions, sea otters, Bottlenose and Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, Gray and Humpback Whales, and Elephant Seals. The Piedras Blancas Outstanding Natural Area is currently co-managed by BLM and the California Department of Parks and Recreation.
- Orange County Rocks and Islands along the coast of Orange County, CA (2 acres). A small number of geologic formations located off the coastline of Orange County in the Laguna Beach area, totaling approximately two acres, were not included within the California Coastal National Monument as they were covered by legislative withdrawals made in the 1930s intended to reserve the rocks for future lighthouses. Former Congressman John Campbell, who previously represented this area, repeatedly introduced legislation to add these rocks and outcroppings to the National Monument, as they provide important habitat for seabirds and marine mammals.
The full text of The California Coastal National Monument Expansion Act of 2015 can be found HERE.
Maps of each land addition can be found HERE.
Earlier this year, similar legislation was introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein (S.1971).
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