« Protecting America's Arctic: One Man's View | Main | Is Greater Yellowstone’s grizzly population declining? »

07/23/2013

Stornetta Public Lands Move Closer to Protection

Stornetta_waterfall_Bruce Jensen
 

Copyright Bruce H. Jensen 2012

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed Congressman Huffman’s (CA-02) Stornetta Public Lands bill under suspension of the rules (a procedure undertaken when a non-controversial bills are offered a vote).  This is a terrific step forward toward permanent protection of this special place along California’s Mendocino Coast.  Now, we hope for action in the U.S. Senate, as Senators Boxer and Feinstein’s companion bill awaits a hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  

Unfortunately, Congressman Huffman’s bill was amended by Congressman Bishop during markup in the House Natural Resources Committee.  These amendments, included in the final bill, incorporated unnecessary grazing language, despite the bill’s original assurance that existing grazing remain (to the benefit of native butterflies!), as well as a limitation on the means by which additional land can be added to the monument in the future.  These types of unnecessary roadblocks impair the original integrity of the bill; we certainly hope to see them removed in conference with the Senate bill.  

Luckily, Stornetta Public Lands has been highlighted as one of the 5 Best Vacation Spots for Hiking in a recent Health magazine article and we here at Sierra Club could not agree more. The article touted Stornetta for its “stunning views” and described that during a stroll along the trails of Stornetta “you'll come upon waterfalls, tide pools and harbor seals sunbathing on the rocks”. As with the legislation, we are glad to see Stornetta Public Lands receive the attention it rightly deserves as a location worthy of protection and enjoyment.

As we’ve noted before, the Stornetta Public Lands are situated along the south coast of California’s Mendocino County and highlight 1,132 acres of majestic views, tide pools, coastal wetlands, and more. This region is rich with natural bridges, waterfalls, sink and blowholes, as well as two miles of the Garcia River, the Garcia estuary and a five-acre island, Sea Island Rocks. Stornetta has been managed by the Bureau of Land Management since 2004 and is recognized for breathtaking scenery, and outstanding natural resources that encompass riverbanks, wildflower meadows, and shifting sand dunes—a varied environment providing terrific wildlife habitat.

All of this creates a convincing argument for defending this Pacific coast jewel. Permanent protection as an addition to the existing California Coast National Monument would protect the area’s values in perpetuity and promise the ongoing enjoyment of this irreplaceable refuge.

As the bill moves to the Senate we hope that aforementioned, unnecessary amendments that cloud the original intent of the bill are removed, so that what remains is clean legislation with the sole purpose of saving Stornetta Public Lands for future generations to enjoy.

- by Malcolm Mossman

 


User comments or postings reflect the opinions of the responsible contributor only, and do not reflect the viewpoint of the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any posting. The Sierra Club accepts no obligation to review every posting, but reserves the right (but not the obligation) to delete postings that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate.

Up to Top

Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Rss Feed



Sierra Club Main | Contact Us | Terms and Conditions of Use | Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights | Website Help

Sierra Club® and "Explore, enjoy and protect the planet"® are registered trademarks of the Sierra Club. © 2013 Sierra Club.
The Sierra Club Seal is a registered copyright, service mark, and trademark of the Sierra Club.