THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release January 17, 2001
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CARRIZO PLAIN NATIONAL MONUMENT
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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Full of natural splendor and rich in human history, the majestic
grasslands and stark ridges in the Carrizo Plain National Monument contain
exceptional objects of scientific and historic interest. Since the
mid-1800s, large portions of the grasslands that once spanned the entire
four hundred mile expanse of California's nearby San Joaquin Valley and
other valleys in the vicinity have been eliminated by extensive land
conversion to agricultural, industrial, and urban land uses. The Carrizo
Plain National Monument, which is dramatically bisected by the San Andreas
Fault zone, is the largest undeveloped remnant of this ecosystem, providing
crucial habitat for the long-term conservation of the many endemic plant
and animal species that still inhabit the area.
The monument offers a refuge for endangered, threatened, and rare
animal species such as the San Joaquin kit fox, the California condor, the
blunt-nosed leopard lizard, the giant kangaroo rat, the San Joaquin
antelope squirrel, the longhorn fairy shrimp, and the vernal pool fairy
shrimp. It supports important populations of pronghorn antelope and tule
elk. The area is also home to many rare and sensitive plant species,
including the California jewelflower, the Hoover's woolly-star, the
San-Joaquin woolly-threads, the pale-yellow layia, the forked fiddleneck,
the Carrizo peppergrass, the Lost Hills saltbush, the Temblor buckwheat,
the recurved larkspur, and the Munz's tidy-tips. Despite past human use,
the size, isolation, and relatively undeveloped nature of the area make it
ideal for long-term conservation of the dwindling flora and fauna
characteristic of the San Joaquin Valley region.
The Carrizo Plain National Monument also encompasses Soda Lake, the
largest remaining natural alkali wetland in
southern California and the only closed basin within the coastal mountains.
As its name suggests, Soda Lake concentrates salts as water is evaporated
away, leaving white deposits of sulfates and carbonates. Despite this
harsh environment, small plant and animal species are well adapted to the
setting, which is also important to migratory birds. During the winter
months the lake fills with water and teems with thousands of beautiful
lesser sandhill cranes, long-billed curlews, and mountain plovers.
The Carrizo Plain National Monument owes its existence to the geologic
processes that occur along the San Andreas Fault, where two of the Earth's
five great tectonic plates slide past one another, parallel to the axis of
the Plain. Shifting along the fault created the Plain by rumpling the
rocks to the northeast into the Temblor Range and isolating the Plain from
the rest of the San Joaquin Valley. The area is world-famous for its
spectacular exposures of fault-generated landforms. Stream valleys emerge
from the adjacent mountains, only to take dramatic
right-angle turns where they intersect the fault. Ponds and sags form
where the ground is extended and subsides between branches of the fault.
Benches form where the fault offsets valley walls. Many dramatic landscape
features are products of the interplay
between very rapid fault movement and slower erosion. The dry climate of
the area produces low erosion rates, thereby preserving the spectacular
effects of fault slip, folding, and warping. On the Plain, these
fault-related events happen intermittently, but with great force. In 1857,
the strongest earthquake in California's recorded history ripped through
the San Andreas Fault, wrenching the western side of the Carrizo Plain
National Monument thirty-one feet northward.
The area is also distinguished for its significant fossil assemblages.
The Caliente Formation, exposed on the southeast side of the Caliente
Range, is host to abundant and diverse terrestrial fossil mammal remains of
the Miocene Epoch (from 13 million to 25 million years ago). Fossils of
North American provincial mammalian ages (Arikareean, Hemingfordian,
Barstovian, Clarendonian, Hemphillian) are represented in sedimentary rocks
in that formation. These terrestrial fossil remains are interlaced with
marine sedimentary rocks bearing fossils of mollusks, pectens, turitellas,
In addition to its geologic and biological wealth, the area is rich in
human history. Archaeologists theorize that humans have occupied the
Carrizo Plain National Monument area since the Paleo-Indian Period (circa
11,000 to 9,000 B.C.). Bedrock mortar milling features, village middens,
and elaborate pictographs are the primary manifestations of prehistoric
occupation. Some of these, such as the Painted Rock and Sulphur Springs
rock art sites, are recognized as world class. European expeditions
through the area date back to the late 1700s, with settlement beginning in
the 1850s. Livestock ranching, farming, and mining activities in the last
century and a half are evidenced by numerous artifacts and historic ranch
properties within the area.
Section 2 of the Act of June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431),
authorizes the President, in his discretion, to declare by public
proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and
other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the
lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be
national monuments, and to reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the
limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area
compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be
WHEREAS it appears that it would be in the public interest to reserve
such lands as a national monument to be known as the Carrizo Plain National
NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States
of America, by the authority vested in me by section 2 of the Act of June
8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C.
431), do proclaim that there are hereby set apart and reserved as the
Carrizo Plain National Monument, for the purpose of protecting the objects
identified above, all lands and interests in lands owned or controlled by
the United States within the boundaries of the area described on the map
entitled "Carrizo Plain National Monument" attached to and forming a part
of this proclamation. The Federal land and interests in land reserved
consist of approximately 204,107 acres, which is the smallest area
compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be
All Federal lands and interests in lands within the boundaries of this
monument are hereby appropriated and withdrawn from all forms of entry,
location, selection, sale, or leasing or other disposition under the public
land laws, including but not limited to withdrawal from location, entry,
and patent under the mining laws, and from disposition under all laws
relating to mineral and geothermal leasing, other than by exchange that
furthers the protective purposes of the monument. For the purpose of
protecting the objects identified above, the Secretary shall prohibit all
motorized and mechanized vehicle use off road, except for emergency or
authorized administrative purposes.
Lands and interests in lands within the proposed monument not owned by
the United States shall be reserved as a part of the monument upon
acquisition of title thereto by the United States.
The Secretary of the Interior shall manage the monument through the
Bureau of Land Management, pursuant to applicable legal authorities, to
implement the purposes of this proclamation.
The Secretary of the Interior shall prepare a management plan that
addresses the actions, including road closures or travel restrictions,
necessary to protect the objects identified in this proclamation.
The establishment of this monument is subject to valid existing
Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to enlarge or diminish
the jurisdiction of the State of California with respect to fish and
There is hereby reserved, as of the date of this proclamation and
subject to valid existing rights, a quantity of water sufficient to fulfill
the purposes for which this monument is established. Nothing in this
reservation shall be construed as a relinquishment or reduction of any
water use or rights reserved or appropriated by the United States on or
before the date of this proclamation.
Laws, regulations, and policies followed by the Bureau of Land
Management in issuing and administering grazing permits or leases on all
lands under its jurisdiction shall continue to apply with regard to the
lands in the monument.
Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to revoke any existing
withdrawal, reservation, or appropriation; however, the national monument
shall be the dominant reservation.
Warning is hereby given to all unauthorized persons not to
appropriate, injure, destroy, or remove any feature of this monument and
not to locate or settle upon any of the lands thereof.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventeenth day
of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand one, and of the
Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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