Press Release from U.S. Rep. Garamendi (July 28, 2021)

Washington D.C.  Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA 3rd District) released discussion draft legislation to add the Lake County portion of Walker Ridge to the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. This tract of nearly 4,000 acres, was within the original Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument boundary, but had been excluded before President Obama signed the Presidential Proclamation on July 10, 2015. Also included in the draft legislation is the requirement to complete a Monument Management Plan within a year.

Located north of San Francisco and Sacramento, Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument is a rugged and diverse landscape. The region is culturally significant to numerous Native American tribes and is also notable for its variety of habitats including grasslands, old growth conifer forests, and woodlands. It hosts imperiled wildlife such as northern spotted owls, Northern California steelhead, martens, and fishers. 

Walker Ridge, approximately 10 miles east of Clearlake, is a jewel of biodiversity. The area hosts ancient blue oak woodlands, rugged rock outcrops, precious meadows, rolling hills of chaparral and extensive stands of McNab cypress. It is home to more than 30 species of rare plants. “We have long fought for the appreciation and protection of this irreplaceable region, which is a mecca of botanical richness within the biodiversity hotspot that is California,” said Nick Jensen, Conservation Program Director for the California Native Plant Society. “We are overjoyed that Congressman Garamendi has introduced draft legislation to expand Berryessa Snow National Monument to include the Lake County portion of  Walker Ridge.”

“Permanent protection of this extraordinary place has been a personal priority since before the Berryessa Snow Mountain campaign began,” emphasized Lake County resident and Tuleyome board member, Victoria Brandon.  “I’m thrilled that my own Congressman John Garamendi has stepped up to save it for posterity by adding it to the Monument.”

Walker Ridge notably provides easy access to a variety of recreational uses including mountain bikers, hikers, OHV riders, equestrians. Don Amador, a long-time trail recreation and resource management professional, noted that, “As one of the OHV recreation partners that helped in creation of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, I want to commend Congressman Garamendi for his proposal to adjust the Monument boundary to include Walker Ridge and the many trails that exist in that area.  The boundary adjustment also makes a lot of sense given the BLM has started its travel planning effort within the Monument and this plan will make it easier for the agency to designate routes that provide connectivity to increase public access and enhance recreation opportunities for all user groups.” By completing a management plan, all user groups will be able to enjoy the many wonders of this remarkable region.

"The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument Expansion Act will safeguard Walker Ridge's natural beauty, wildlife, rare plants, and indigenous treasures,” said Tuleyome Executive Director, Sandra Schubert. “It will also secure continued recreation opportunities in the area while providing a boost for the economy and local communities that have long called for permanent protection of the area.  We support this legislation and commend Congressman Garamendi for protecting Walker Ridge and all of the Monument’s treasures.”  

“Conservation Lands Foundation celebrates and supports Congressman Garamendi’s goal to expand the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument and ensure the special landscape has a robust management plan,” said Elyane Stefanick, California Program Director for the Conservation Lands Foundation. “The addition of Walker Ridge will help protect the area’s rich biodiversity and is a step towards helping the State of California and the Biden Administration meet the important goal of protecting 30% of U.S. lands and waters by the year 2030.” 

We invite you to join us in thanking Congressman Garamendi for introducing this draft legislation and taking an important step toward the long-term conservation of Walker Ridge and management of the National Monument. Individuals are encouraged to submit feedback on the discussion draft legislation by contacting Legislative Assistant, Tigran Agdaian, at [email protected]

The California Native Plant Society is a nonprofit organization working to save and celebrate California’s native plants and places via plant science, advocacy, education, and horticulture. CNPS has nearly 10,000 members in 35 chapters throughout California and Baja to promote its mission at the local level. 

Tuleyome is a science-based conservation organization working in California’s Northern Inner Coast Range region to conserve, enhance, restore, and enjoy lands through advocacy, stewardship, and community engagement. Tuleyome (pronounced too-lee-OME-ee) is a Lake Miwok Indian word that means “deep home place”, which exemplifies our connection to our environment, our communities and our regional public lands.

For more than a decade, the Conservation Lands Foundation has successfully built and led a national movement of community-based advocates to protect, restore and expand places under the National Conservation Lands designation. We’re committed to the ongoing work of building multicultural competency across our sphere of influence to accelerate a conservation movement that is inclusive and addresses its intersectionalities with environmental justice, social justice, and community health.

 

Contacts: Nick Jensen, California Native Plant Society, 916-447-2677 x 278, [email protected]; Sandra Schubert, Tuleyome, 202-329-8648, [email protected]; Elyane Stefanick, Conservation Lands Foundation, 415-663-6278, [email protected]

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