Proposed Grand Canyon–Parashant National Monument
The proposed monument is located on the Colorado Plateau in northwestern Arizona, within the drainage of the Colorado River. It borders Grand Canyon National Park to the south, the state of Nevada to the west, and encompasses a portion of Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
The proposed monument’s remote open, undeveloped area and engaging scenery is located on the edge of one the most beautiful places on earth–the Grand Canyon. This 1,017,000 acres of federal land 1 804,000 acres are owned by the Bureau of Land Management and 213,000 acres are in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. 18,000 acres of private land and 22,000 acres of state land are also located with in the boundary.1 is a scientific treasure holding many of the same values that have long been protected in Grand Canyon National Park. Deep canyons, mountains, and lonely buttes testify to the power of geological forces and provide colorful vistas. Its Paleozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary rock layers are relatively undeformed and unobscured by vegetation, providing a unique view into the geologic history of the Colorado Plateau. The proposed monument encompasses the lower portion of the Shivwits Plateau. Much of the proposed boundary follows the divide between the Grand Canyon and the Virgin River drainage to the north. The Shivwits Plateau (which is bounded by the Grand Wash Cliffs to the west and by the Hurricane Cliffs to the east) is a part of the larger Colorado Plateau of the region. To the south are the Parashant, Whitmore, and Andrus canyons. The Shivwits Plateau forms an important watershed for the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. Beyond the phenomenal geological resources, the proposed monument contains countless biological, archeological, and historical resources. This area will be increasingly threatened by potential mineral development and by intensive recreational use from fast growing urban areas in the region.
The federal lands within the proposed monument are managed by the Department of the Interior through the National Park Service (NPS, within the boundaries of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). This arrangement would continue, but would be subject to the overriding purposes of protecting the scientific and historic objects for which the monument was created. Currently permitted livestock grazing, hunting, fishing, and similar activities would generally not be affected, nor would the designation affect state or private property or other valid existing rights such as water rights.
President Teddy Roosevelt first set aside a portion of what is now the Grand Canyon National Park under the Antiquities Act in 1908. In 1919, Congress converted the Grand Canyon National Monument to a national park. Additional lands were made national monuments by Presidential Proclamation in 1932 and 1969. Congress enlarged the Park in 1975 to include these lands, but that Act left open whether several drainages north of the Grand Canyon should be protected and directed that the Secretary of the Interior study and issue a report on these lands. Most of the studied lands are included within the proposed monument.
In November 1998, Secretary Babbitt went to Northern Arizona and began a dialogue that has included two more visits, two large public meetings, and more than 59 other meetings with concerned local governments, tribes and other groups regarding the future of these lands. Congressman Bob Stump introduced a bill (H.R. 2795) that would actually have lowered protections in existing law, thus allowing the degradation of these lands in perpetuity. Senator Kyl also introduced legislation on this subject (S. 1560), but no hearings have been held on it.
Proposed California Coastal National Monument
The proposed monument would include all the islands, rocks, exposed reefs, and pinnacles above the high water mark owned by the U.S. Government along the 840 mile California coast, extending out for 12 miles. (Because of the scattered small bits of land involved, acreage cannot be readily calculated and is not meaningful.) Islands, rocks, exposed reefs, and pinnacles already appropriated or reserved for other purposes would not be affected.
The proposed monument is a biological treasure. A crucial part of the fragile coastal ecosystem, the islands, rocks, exposed reefs, and pinnacles off the California coast are part of the nearshore ocean zone that begins just off shore and ends at the boundary between the continental shelf and the continental slope. The proposed monument contains many geologic formations that provide unique habitat for biota, such as sensitive feeding and nesting habitat for an estimated 200,000 breeding seabirds, including gulls, the endangered California least tern, and the brown pelican. Development of the mainland has forced seabirds that once fed and nested in the shoreline ecosystem to retreat to the proposed monument. There is also forage and breeding habitat for several mammal species such as the threatened southern sea otter. Future economic or commercial development as well as some recreational use threaten the objects of the proposed monument.
The federal lands in the area are currently under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the Department of the Interior. After a monument designation, management would continue under the BLM’s existing authorities for the predominant purpose of protecting the objects for which the monument was created. Currently California State Department of Fish and Game manages the area under a Memorandum of Understanding with the BLM. This arrangement could continue (with any necessary revisions to the MOU) following the establishment of the proposed monument. The proposed monument would not enlarge or diminish state or federal regulatory authority over fishing, oil and gas development, or other uses of adjacent waters.
Proposals to protect the California coastline have generally been met with wide acceptance. In June 1999, Congressman Sam Farr of Monterey, California, introduced, for the second time, a bill (H.R. 2277) to designate these islands, rocks, exposed reefs, and pinnacles off the coast of California as wilderness. No hearings have been held on this bill. In September 1999, Secretary Babbitt, accompanied by Congressman Farr as well as state and community leaders, visited the coastline to discuss protection for the rocks and islands including possible designation as a national monument.
Proposed Agua Fria National Monument
The proposed monument is located in central Arizona approximately forty miles north of central Phoenix. The 71,100 acres of federal land comprise two mesas: Perry Mesa and the adjacent, smaller Black Mesa -- the public land to the north of these mesas, and the canyon of the Agua Fria River. Elevations range from 600 feet above sea level along the Agua Fria Canyon to about 4,300 feet in the northern hills.
The proposed monument contains one of the most significant systems of late prehistoric sites in the American Southwest. Its ancient ruins offer insights into the lives of those who long ago inhabited this part of the desert southwest. At least 450 prehistoric sites are known to exist within the proposed monument, and there are likely many more. Many intact petroglyph sites within the proposed monument contain rock art symbols pecked into the surfaces of boulders and cliff faces. The area also holds an extraordinary record of prehistoric agricultural features, including extensive terraces bounded by lines of rocks and other types of landscape modifications. In addition to its rich record of human history, the proposed monument contains other objects of scientific interest: a diversity of vegetative communities, a wide array of sensitive wildlife species, and native fish. The area, vital open space on the northern edge of the rapidly expanding Phoenix urban area, has already suffered from extensive vandalism.
The proposed monument would continue to be managed by the Bureau of Land Management for the predominant purpose of protecting the objects for which the monument was created. Currently permitted livestock grazing, hunting, fishing, and similar activities would generally not be affected, nor would private property within the boundary (1,440 acres) or other valid existing rights such as water rights.
Secretary Babbitt initiated a process in July 1999 to solicit public input and advice about the future management and protection of the Agua Fria region, meeting with leading archeologists, Arizona State officials, and staff from the Arizona delegation. Three public open houses were held in nearby communities in September 1999 specifically to discuss the area’s possible designation as a national monument.
In October 1999, the Bureau of Land Management forwarded to the Secretary a report of the meeting discussions and an assessment of future management.
Pinnacles National Monument Proposed Expansion
Only 65 miles from San Jose, California, Pinnacles National Monument is about halfway between Hollister and King City, California.
Pinnacles National Monument was created by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 to protect Pinnacle Rocks and the series of caves underlying them, both of scientific interest. Two primary drainage channels cut water gaps through these rocks which were roofed over as large rocks spilled off the adjacent cliffs, slid down the slopes, and became wedged in the tops of gaps to form the talus caves of the monument.
The proposed boundary enlargement is vital to the continued preservation of Pinnacles National Monument’s resources. In addition to containing pieces of the same faults that have created the tremendous geological formations throughout the monument, the expansion lands hold some of the headwaters of the monument basin. Over millions of years, flash floods and currents of streams have helped to sculpt the geological features of the monument. The expansion lands also hold important habitat for raptors (such as prairie falcons, golden eagles, and red-tailed hawks), amphibians, and reptiles. The area is threatened by exurban development and by watershed degradation.
The 7,960 acres of adjacent public lands would be transferred from the Bureau of Land Management to the National Park Service and managed under the same laws and regulations that apply to the rest of the monument. Wilderness Study Areas in the expansion lands would continue to be managed in accordance with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. Although 2,850 acres of private land are inside the expansion boundary, the private land owners will be unaffected by the designation unless they choose to sell, in which case the lands would become part of the monument.
Pinnacles was originally designated by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908,consisting of 2,060 acres, and was expanded five times by subsequent Presidents and once by Congress. This proposed expansion -- discussed at length in local communities in recent years--would bring important pieces of adjacent public land into Pinnacles National Monument. An expansion, along with wilderness designation, has on two occasions been proposed by Congressman Sam Farr of Monterey, California. No committee hearings have been held on his bill (H.R. 2279). Secretary Babbitt visited Pinnacles National Monument and the adjacent public lands in October 1999 to discuss the expansion proposal with private ranchers and other landowners, and community and environmental leaders.
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