LAKE COUNTY, Calif .– Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA03), former Assistant Home Secretary during the Clinton administration on Tuesday released a draft to discuss the “Berryessa National Monument Expansion Act Snow Mountain “for public review and comment.
This bill would expand the national monument to include a federally owned parcel of land known as “Walker Ridge.”
This Lake County ridge line is culturally significant to Native Americans and is home to bald eagles and rare wildflowers.
The proposed expansion of the national monument is supported by the Lake County Board of Supervisors, the California Wilderness Coalition, the California Native Plant Society, and the Woodland-based nonprofit Tuleyome.
In 2014, Congressman Garamendi defended bicameral legislation (HR761) to establish the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, along with then-Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Congressman Mike Thompson (D- CA05).
This legislation would have included the area of Walker Ridge in the counties of Lake and Colusa administered by the Federal Office of Land Management within the boundaries of the national monument.
Congressmen Garamendi and Thompson hosted a visit from then-Home Secretary Sally Jewell in 2014 to the Lake Berryessa monument so that she could see the scenery in person and hear from the local community and people. tribal leaders on the need for a national monument designation.
Secretary Jewell said at the time: “This is a beautiful area with a cultural history and great opportunities for outdoor recreation and wildlife viewing, so it is no surprise that the community wants ensure it is protected and passed on to the next generation. “
In July 2015, President Obama declared the federal land surrounding Lake Berryessa a national monument – Presidential Proclamation 9298 – at the request of members of Congress.
Congressman Garamendi’s new bill would expand Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument to include Walker Ridge, an extinct volcanic mountain range with an unusual ‘serpentine’ soil composition that has made it a treasure trove of rare plant species and beautiful, including the adobe lily (Fritillaria pluriflora) which is only found in Northern California.
Other rare and protected animal species that have made their home in this region include the bald eagle, golden eagle, and Tule elk.
The inclusion of Walker Ridge as part of the Berryessa National Monument would not affect pre-existing water rights or impose new regulations on hunting, fishing or motorized recreation that are important to the local economy.
A study by the Winters Chamber of Commerce found that outdoor recreation supports a $ 6 billion industry and 700,000 jobs in California alone.
“Conserving California’s Special Places has been a lifelong passion throughout my tenure in the state legislature, as President Clinton’s Assistant Home Secretary, and now as a member of the Congress representing Lake County. Walker Ridge is one of those special places, and I welcome comments from the public as we work to conserve this unique landscape for future generations of Californians to enjoy, ”said Congressman Garamendi.
The “Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument Expansion Act” would not affect private, state, tribal or non-federal lands. The federal parcel of land proposed to include the national monument does not include the area of the Walker Ridge sector of the BLM in Colusa County.
The bill would also direct the Federal Bureau of Land Management and the United States Forest Service to finally complete the management plan for the national monument, which has remained unfinished since 2015.