Beach Access, Coastal Preservation
January 12 2017

A Monumental Victory!

by Jennifer Savage

Back in September we noted, "it’s a no brainer for the government to take all available measures it has to protect the public lands that it holds in the public trust," and we're thrilled to announce that indeed President Obama today expanded the California Coastal National Monument to include six new sites located in Humboldt, Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo and Orange Counties: Piedras Blancas Outstanding Natural Area in San Luis Obispo County; Cotoni-Coast Dairies in Santa Cruz County; Lost Coast Headlands, Lighthouse Ranch, and Trinidad Head in Humboldt County; and Orange County Rocks off the coast of Southern California.

In addition to being areas of great natural beauty, these places serve as important habitat for seabirds, marine mammals, and other plant and animal life, including endangered species. Piedras Blancas Outstanding Natural Area, for example, is an ecologically-critical research area and home to marine mammals including the elephant seal. The scenic coastal bluffs of Humboldt County’s Lost Coast Headlands provide a coastal sanctuary for hundreds of species. Protection as part of the National Monument will help ensure greater recognition for the historic, cultural and natural character of these public lands. It also protects them from resource-destructive activities such as mining, logging, and mineral and geothermal leasing – and as adaptation to climate change grows ever more imperative, these places are likely to be more resilient.

President Obama expanded the California Coastal National Monument through use of the Antiquities Act, the 1906 law allowing presidents to designate public lands as national monuments to protect their significant natural, cultural, or scientific features. Former Senator Boxer, Representatives Huffman and Eshoo and former Representative Capps championed the effort, with support from Governor Jerry Brown, and numerous other elected officials, community leaders and California residents.

See the full proclamation here