Our 1,100 miles of California coastline with more than 20,000 small islands, rocks, exposed reefs, and pinnacles between Mexico and Oregon is called the California Coastal National Monument. The scenic qualities and critical habitat of this public resource are protected as part of the National Landscape Conservation System, administered by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of the Interior.
History of the California Coastal National Monument
1848 - All of California’s offshore rocks and islands become part of the territory ceded to the United States after war with Mexico and, as such, become federal property.
- President Herbert Hoover signed Executive Order (EO) No. 5326 temporarily withdrawing all unreserved California offshore islands, rocks, and pinnacles from settlement, location, sale, or entry.
- The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) entered into a cooperative agreement granting DFG management authority on the offshore rocks and islands withdrawn by EO 5326.
- Assistant Secretary of the Interior signed Public Land Order (PLO) No. 6369 revoking EO 5326, replacing it with a 50-year lands and minerals withdrawal (except for two rocks at Crescent City known as Pelican and Round Rocks), and establishing the “California Islands Wildlife Sanctuary.”
On January 11, 2000, the California Coastal National Monument (CCNM) was established by President Bill Clinton with the signing of Presidential Proclamation No. 7264 at a ceremony at the Grand Canyon in Arizona, a ceremony that also established two other Bureau of Land Management (BLM)administered national monuments. With the establishment of the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) within the BLM a few months later a contract was issued to the environmental consulting firm Jones and Stokes for assistance in the preparation of the Monument’s Resource Managment Plan (RMP) and Rick Hanks was selected as the Monument’s first manager.
- BLM signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with DFG to handle the day-to-day management of the California Islands Wildlife Sanctuary, while the BLM retained the legal responsibility for the Sanctuary.
- California Fish and Game Commission established the California Offshore Rocks and Islands Ecological Reserve, covering an area from the coastline to one-half mile out.
- BLM designated the California rocks and islands an “Area of Critical Environmental Concern.”
1998 - Congressman Farr introduced HR 3911 to designate “all unreserved and unappropriated ocean islands…., reefs, rocks, and islets lying within three miles off the Pacific coast of the State of California from Oregon to the Mexican border and above the mean high tides….as wilderness” to be part of the National Wilderness Preservation System.
1999 - Congressman Farr reintroduced the wilderness bill as HR 2277.
- January 11: President Clinton established the California Coastal National Monument (CCNM) to protect “all unappropriated or unreserved lands and interest in the lands owned or controlled by the United States in the form of islands, rocks, exposed reefs, and pinnacles above mean high tide within 12 nautical miles of the shoreline of the State of California.”
- June 5: Bureau of Land Management (BLM), California Department of Fish and Game (DFG), and California Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks) entered into an interim memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate in CCNM.
- May 20: Formal CCNM Dedication (with BLM Honor Guard, a Town Crier, Congressman Sam Farr, BLM California Associate State Director Jim Abbott, State Parks acting Director Ruth Coleman, DFG Deputy Director Sonke Mastrup, et al.), held at Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California.
February 3 – PRBO Conservation Science became first CCNM Collaborative Partner.
- April 21: Assistant Secretary of the Interior (Rebecca Watson) signed Public Land Order (PLO) No. 7601 as a record clearing action revoking PLO No. 6369 (of April 19, 1983) in its entirety (including revoking the establishment of the California Islands Wildlife Sanctuary).
July 1: Seven-acre Sea Lion Rock at Point Arena (Mendocino County) became part of CCNM with BLM’s acquisition of the Stornetta Ranch property.
- May 25: Recreational Fishing Alliance became a CCNM Collaborative Partner.
- June 6: Rights of way issued to U.S. Coast Guard for existing aids-to-navigation on Redding Rock (a.k.a. Reading Rock) located 4½ miles offshore of Orick (Humboldt County) and Mooring Rock just outside mouth of Albion River (Mendocino County).
- September 1: United States Air Force became CCNM’s first “Steward”, a CCNM partner.
- September 8: Trinidad Rancheria (Humboldt County) became a CCNM Steward.
- September 8: BLM California State Director signed Record of Decision for CCNM Resource Management Plan (RMP).
January 17: Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary became CCNM Collaborative Partner.
- January 31: Trinidad Museum Society became a CCNM Collaborative Partner.
- January 31: The Sea Ranch Association became CCNM Steward.
- March 16: City of Point Arena became first municipality to be a CCNM Collaborative Partner.
- March 23: City of Trinidad became CCNM Collaborative Partner.
- April 3: Tsurai Ancestral Society became CCNM Collaborative Partner.
- April 11: CCNM RMP received Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP) Award for “Outstanding Environmental Planning Document for Jurisdiction over 50,000 Population,” presented at AEP Annual Conference, Newport Beach, California.
- April 26: Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers became CCNM Collaborative Partner.
- June 9: CCNM RMP received award for “Planning Implementation, Large Jurisdictions” from Northern Section of California Chapter of American Planning Association’s (APA), presented at APA California Chapter annual meeting, Oakland, California.
- June 16: Hearst Corporation donated Piedras Blancas islets (Piedras Blancas 1 & 2, Outer Islet, & De La Cruz) to CCNM at a transfer ceremony held at Piedras Blancas Light Station, San Simeon, California.
- July 7: Yurok Tribe became CCNM Steward with signing of stewardship MOU with BLM.
- August 30 & 31: First CCNM Summit held and focused on developing a basic “road map” for shared management and RMP implementation for CCNM’s five BLM field offices, Monterey, California.
Partnerships & Gateways:
Key to the success of the California Coastal National Monument has been the establishment of a wide variety of partners and the initiation of CCNM Gateways.
CCNM partnerships and CCNM Gateways were identified as two of the six implementation priorities in the Approved RMP. Since June of 2000, with the execution of an interim memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the BLM and the two other CCNM Core-Managing Partners to collaborate in the management of the CCNM, more than two dozen CCNM partnerships have been developed and memorialized with individual memoranda of understanding.
Many of the CCNM partners are active participants in the CCNM Gateway initiatives. One initial CCNM Gateway was identified for each of the five BLM coastal field offices .
- October 2: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service became CCNM Collaborative Partner.
- October 24: CCNM RMP received the American Planning Association’s California-wide Planning Implementation Award for Large Jurisdictions, presented at APA annual conference at Anaheim, California.
- April 3: Humboldt State University Marine Laboratory became CCNM Collaborative Partner.
- April 19: National Geographic Society, BLM, California Travel and Tourism Commission, and State Parks met to begin development of California Coast Geotourism Initiative, Sacramento, California.
- June 26: Pacifica Chamber of Commerce became CCNM Collaborative Partner.
- September 17: U.S. Coast Guard became CCNM Collaborative Partner.
- October 5: U.S. Navy became CCNM Steward with signing ceremony at Naval Base Point Loma, San Diego, California.
- March 17: Mendocino Coast Audubon Society became CCNM Collaborative Partner.
- March 19: The Sea Ranch Association presented with first CCNM “Rock Star” Award for their exemplary assistance in monitoring seabirds and marine mammals on rocks and islets adjacent to The Sea Ranch properties, The Sea Ranch Association CCNM Stewardship Task Force celebration luncheon, Sea Ranch, California.
- April 18: Coastwalk California became CCNM Collaborative Partner.
- April 25: Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy became Collaborative Partner.
- May 27: Redwood Region Audubon Society became Collaborative Partner.
- June 16: BLM selected as lead for Torch/Platform Irene Spill Seabird Disturbance Restoration Program for California’s south central coast.
- October 30: Point Arena Mayor (Leslie Dahlhoff) recognized as a CCNM “Rock Star” for her work in formation of CCNM Point Arena Gateway, Point Arena, California.
- December 1: Save the Redwood League became a CCNM Steward.
- December 11: BLM California’s National Landscape Conservation System Coordinator (Paul Brink) presented with CCNM “Rock Star” Award at his retirement luncheon in Sacramento, California.
- March 6: Mendocino County Historical Society became Collaborative Partner.
- March 17: City of Rancho Palos Verdes became Collaborative Partner.
- May 11: Moat Creek Managing Agency became Collaborative Partner.
- May 14: The Sea Ranch CCNM Stewardship Task Force received BLM’s “Making a Difference” National Volunteer Award at a Department of the Interior ceremony in Washington, D.C.
- July 15: Humboldt North Coast Land Trust became Collaborative Partner.
- July 16: Del Norte County Historical Society became Collaborative Partner.
- December: Redwood Coast Chamber of Commerce became Collaborative Partner with signing of MOU with BLM.
- January 10: CCNM 10th
Birthday Celebration held at Point Arena, California, starting a year-long, state-wide commemoration.
California Coastal National Monument Facts
- The California Coastal National Monument (CCNM) is one of the Nation’s most unique national monuments.
- CCNM consists of more than 20,000 rocks and small islands located off the 1,100 miles of the California coastline.
- Under the responsibility of the United States Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (commonly referred to as the “BLM”), the CCNM is part of the National Landscape Conservation System.
- Established on January 11, 2000, by Presidential Proclamation under the authority of section 2 of the Antiquities Act of 1906.
- CCNM is among the most viewed but the least recognized of any of the Nation’s national monuments.
- The CCNM was established to elevate the protection of “all unappropriated or unreserved lands and interest in lands owned or controlled by the United States in the form of islands, rocks, exposed reefs, and pinnacles above mean high tide within 12 nautical miles of the shoreline of the State of California.
- The Presidential Proclamation recognizes the need to protect the CCNM’s overwhelming scenic quality and natural beauty, and it specifically directs the protection of the geologic formations and the habitat that these rocks and small islands (i.e., the portion above mean high tide) provide for seabirds, sea mammals, and other plant and animal life (both terrestrial and marine) on the CCNM.
- In addition, the proclamation recognizes the CCNM as containing “irreplaceable scientific values vital to protecting the fragile ecosystems of the California coastline.”
- CCNM is home for thousands of seals and sea lions, a haven for hundreds of thousands of seabirds, a habitat for millions of upper rocky intertidal species, and a spectacular interplay of land and sea.
- The mission of the CCNM is to protect and foster an appreciation for and a stewardship of California’s coastal resources associated with the CCNM, while the stated goals for the CCNM include using the CCNM to help enhance cooperative and collaborative initiatives and partnerships through cooperation, collaboration, and partnerships with a variety of communities, agencies, organizations, academic institutions, the public, and other stakeholders.
- The only way that the CCNM can be effectively managed is with partnerships. The CCNM is located adjacent to or embedded within many jurisdictions, including other federal and state agencies, counties, municipalities, tribes, and private entities. With the myriad of adjacent and overlapping responsibilities and jurisdictions, BLM intends to continue with existing partnerships and develop new partnerships to share some of the management responsibilities.
- The three partnership categories for the CCNM are:
- Core-Managing Partner: Each of the three “core” agencies- -BLM, California Department of Fish & Game, and California State Parks- -responsible for collaborating in the overall management of the entire CCNM.
- Collaborative Partner: An organization, governmental or private, that is interested in collaborating with the core-managing partners in any of a variety of programs, actions, and management elements associated with the long-term management of the CCNM.
- Steward: A select entity with ownership and management responsibility for a specific portion of the coast that adjoins part of the CCNM and that is interested in serving as the “steward” for that portion of CCNM.
- The CCNM Resource Management Plan (RMP), completed September 2005, provides the “blueprint” for the management of the CCNM by establishing the management framework, outlining the goals and objectives, identifying dozens of management actions needed to implement the plan over the next 15 to 20 years, and providing the major implementation priorities.
- The basic framework established for the CCNM consists of four equally important aspects, each with a corresponding focus- -Preservation (the management focus), Landscape (the ecosystem focus), Partnerships (the collaborative focus) and Communities (the local focus).
- The CCNM RMP identifies the following six implementation priorities:
- Protecting the CCNM resources and resource values
- Developing and maintaining partnerships
- Conducting, maintaining, and updating the CCNM Site Characterization Study and Survey
- Establishing and supporting a series of “CCNM Gateways”
- Developing and implementing a Seabird Conservation initiative
- Initiating and maintaining a Tidepool Connections network
- Key to the successful management of the CCNM is the development of effective community involvement and a sense of community “ownership.” The primary means to accomplish this is the establishment and implementation of a series of “CCNM Gateways.” Located at various points along the California coast, the CCNM Gateways provide a sense of place for this unique and extensive monument. The CCNM Gateways help to bring the monument into focus and serve as a way to link it with local communities and initiatives.
- CCNM Gateways are sections of the California coast that serve as focal points or visitor contact locations for the CCNM. They can be areas, towns, cities, communities, or various locations that are ideal for providing visitor information and services, and have the infrastructure and interest in serving in this capacity. Each CCNM Gateway is also the vehicle to establish a local “flavor” for a specific portion of the monument and provide local stewardship.
Gateways to the Monument
Even though you can see great views of the California Coastal National Monument up and down on the beautiful Mendocino coast, the headlands off the village of Mendocino and our own Spring Ranch Headlands from Stevenswood Spa Resort there are sections that serve as focal points that include areas, towns, cities or communities that have an infrastructure and interest in providing visitor information and services. Only 45 minutes south of Stevenswood Spa Resort is the coastal town of Point Arena that offers a Gateway to the Monument.
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