WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA03), a former Deputy Secretary of the Interior during the Clinton Administration, released a discussion draft of the “Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument Expansion Act” for public review and comment. This draft legislation would expand the National Monument to include a federally owned land parcel known as the “Walker Ridge” tract. This ridgeline in Lake County has cultural significance to Native Americans and is home to bald eagles and rare wildflowers. The proposed National Monument expansion is supported by the Lake County Board of Supervisors, California Wilderness Coalition, California Native Plant Society, and the Woodland, CA-based Tuleyome nonprofit.
In 2014, Congressman Garamendi championed bicameral legislation (H.R.761) to establish the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, with then-Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA05). This legislation would have included the Walker Ridge tract in Lake and Colusa Counties administered by the federal Bureau of Land Management within the National Monument’s boundary.
Congressmen Garamendi and Thompson hosted a visit by then-Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell in 2014 at Lake Berryessa Monument so she could view the landscape in person and hear from local community and tribal leaders about the need for a national monument designation. Said Secretary Jewell at the time, “This is a beautiful area with cultural history and great opportunities for outdoor recreation and wildlife viewing, so it’s no surprise that the community wants to make sure that it is protected and passed on to the next generation.” In July 2015, President Obama declared the federal land surrounding Lake Berryessa as a National Monument (Presidential Proclamation 9298), at the Congressmen’s urging.
Congressman Garamendi’s new draft legislation would expand the 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 trove of rare and beautiful plant species, including the adobe lily (Fritillaria pluriflora) found only in Northern California. Other rare and protected animal species that make their home in this area include the bald eagle, golden eagle, and tule elk.
The inclusion of Walker Ridge as a 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, CA Chamber of Commerce indicated 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 Deputy Secretary of the Interior to President Clinton, and now as a member of Congress representing Lake County. Walker Ridge is one of those special places, and I welcome the public’s comments 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 impact privately owned, state, tribal, or non-federal land in any way. The federal land parcel proposed for inclusion within the National Monument does not include acreage of the BLM’s Walker Ridge tract in Colusa County. The draft legislation would also direct the federal Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service to finally complete the management plan for the National Monument, which has remained unfinished since 2015.
The full discussion draft legislation is available HERE.
The map of the proposed expansion depicting the Walker Ridge tract in Lake County is available HERE.
Interested members of the public may submit their feedback on the discussion draft legislation to Congressman Garamendi’s office at:
Tigran Agdaian, Legislative Assistant
Congressman John Garamendi (CA-03)
2368 Rayburn House Office Building
Phone: (202) 225-1880
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