Carrizo National Monument Provided Meaningful Protections Through New Management Plan

Apr 9, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO — More than 60,000 acres of land in the Carrizo Plain National Monument will receive added protection following the signing a new management plan that will guide long-term stewardship of this valuable California ecosystem. As part of Saturday’s celebration for the 10th Anniversary of the National Landscape Conservation System, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will make official a plan to manage the Monument for the many endemic and endangered plant and animal species that inhabit the area. The signing will mark the culmination of a multi-year process that started by the designation of the Monument in 2001.

“The Monument provided an opportunity to safeguard these rare and imperiled species, communities and ecosystems,” said Alice Bond, California Public Lands Policy Analyst for The Wilderness Society. “This plan will help to strengthen the Bureau of Land Management’s positive steps toward ensuring that Carrizo’s extraordinary features will be protected. We are excited to see this promise of additional protection become a reality and hope the plan will be implemented in the way it was designed.”

The plan will provide additional protections for 60,000 acres of the Monument based on their exceptional naturalness and opportunities for recreation and solitude; and will safeguard these pristine areas through active restoration to remove unnatural features and by prohibiting motorized access. These efforts will also diminish the impact of roads and motorized vehicles in the Monument by closing and restoring redundant routes and limiting all motorized use to street-legal vehicles, reducing the risk of off-road use that is formally prohibited by the Monument’s Proclamation. Increased monitoring will also be put into place to ensure that negative impacts to important rock art sites, from illegal ORV use and grazing, does not occur.

“Our teams have spent years working on this effort,” said Cal French, executive committee member of the Santa Lucia Chapter of Sierra Club. “We commend the BLM for significant progress in protecting the wilderness qualities of areas in the Monument and recognizing the wilderness values in these grasslands.”

The Wilderness Society and the Sierra Club have been working to help preserve the grasslands of the Carrizo Plain – located in eastern San Luis Obispo County 20 miles west of the town of Taft - that are home to pronghorn, tule elk and kit fox, as well as stunning Native American rock art and a close-up view of the San Andreas Fault in action. Created in 2001, the 250,000-acre Monument has only limited evidence of human alteration and is the biological cornerstone for the San Joaquin Valley.

“By taking such proactive steps to protect the fragile resources of the Monument, the BLM is fulfilling the mission of the National Landscape Conservation System to protect this landscape and its ecological, cultural and scientific values,” said Nada Culver, Director of The Wilderness Society’s BLM Action Center. “We are pleased that during this, the 10th anniversary of the National Landscape Conservation System, the BLM is recognizing the special values that make Carrizo and all of BLM’s conservation lands such an asset for the American people.”

View comments submitted on behalf of The Wilderness Society and the Sierra Club.