California Coastal National Monument

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the California Coastal National Monument?

Why was the CCNM established?

How is the CCNM administered?

Why Partnerships for the CCNM?

Why three partnership categories for the CCNM and what are they?

Is there a plan for the CCNM?

What does the CCNM Resource Management Plan cover?

What is the framework established by the CCNM Resource Mangement Plan?

What are the CCNM implementation priorities?

What are CCNM Gateways?

What are the key planning decisions made in the CCNM Resource Management Plan?

Who can be contacted for additional information?

What is the California Coastal National Monument?  The California Coastal National Monument (CCNM) is one of the Nation’s most unique national monuments.  It consists of more than 20,000 rocks and small islands located off the 1,100 miles of the California coastline.  Under the responsibility of the United States Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (commonly referred to as the “BLM”), The CCNM is part of the National Landscape Conservation System (National Conservation Lands).  Established on January 11, 2000, by Presidential Proclamation under the authority of section 2 of the Antiquities Act of 1906, the CCNM is among the most viewed but the least recognized of any of the Nation’s national monuments.

Why was the CCNM established?  As stated in the Presidential Proclamation, the CCNM was established to elevate the protection of “all unappropriated or unreserved lands and interest in lands owned or controlled by the United States in the form of islands, rocks, exposed reefs, and pinnacles above mean high tide within 12 nautical miles of the shoreline of the State of California.”  The Presidential Proclamation recognizes the need to protect the CCNM’s overwhelming scenic quality and natural beauty, and it specifically directs the protection of the geologic formations and the habitat that these rocks and small islands (i.e., the portion above mean high tide) provide for seabirds, sea mammals, and other plant and animal life (both terrestrial and marine) on the CCNM.  In addition, the proclamation recognizes the CCNM as containing “irreplaceable scientific values vital to protecting the fragile ecosystems of the California coastline.” 
How is the CCNM administered?  In concordance with the Presidential Proclamation, BLM functions in a primary role in the administration of the CCNM.  BLM uses its existing operating procedures and guidance documents, including a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and California State Parks, as the basis to administer the CCNM.  Administration by BLM is performed through a CCNM Manager, duty stationed in Monterey, California, and under the Deputy State Director for Natural Resources in the BLM’s California State Office in Sacramento.  The CCNM Manager works closely with the BLM Field Managers of the five California BLM field offices with coastal responsibilities (i.e., Arcata, Ukiah, Hollister, Bakersfield, and Palm Springs/South Coast Field Offices) and who have the day-to-day operational responsibilities related to their respective portion of the CCNM.  The MOU with the DFG and State Parks states that they will work as partners with BLM in preserving the CCNM resources identified in the proclamation, as well as mapping, evaluating, and communicating with the public regarding these resources.  The MOU also requires consultation between the agencies before authorizing appropriate uses of the CCNM.  To this extent, DFG and State Parks will participate in the CCNM administration as the “CCNM Core-Managing Partners”, and the BLM, with its core-managing partners, will also work with wide variety of “CCNM Collaborative Partners” and “CCNM Stewards (See below).
Why Partnerships for the CCNM?  The partnership approach is a key element to successfully meeting the CCNM’s mission.  The mission of the CCNM is to protect and foster an appreciation for and a stewardship of California’s coastal resources associated with the CCNM, while the stated goals for the CCNM include using the CCNM to help enhance cooperative and collaborative initiatives and partnerships through cooperation, collaboration, and partnerships with a variety of communities, agencies, organizations, academic institutions, the public, and other stakeholders.  With CCNM consisting of more than 20,000 rocks and small islands (the portion above mean high tide) located off the 1,100 miles of the California coastline and adjoining and/or intertwined with dozens of different jurisdictions, including those of other federal and state agencies, 15 counties, and various municipalities, tribes, and private entities, the only way that the CCNM can be effectively managed is with partnerships.  Although the Presidential Proclamation establishing the CCNM makes it very clear that the CCNM will remain under federal ownership and directs the Secretary of the Interior to manage the CCNM through BLM, BLM needs to continue existing partnerships and establish new ones with other governmental agencies and a wide variety of other entities in order to effectively administer the CCNM.  

Why three partnership categories for the CCNM and what are they?  In order to effectively deal with the wide array of partnership opportunities, both existing and potential, three CCNM partnership categories have been developed.  The three partnership categories for the CCNM are summarizes as follows:

  • Core-Managing Partner - Each of the three “core” agencies- -BLM, DFG, and State Parks- -responsible for collaborating in the overall management of the entire CCNM.
  • Collaborative Partner - An organization, governmental or private, that is interested in collaborating with the core-managing partners in any of a variety of programs, actions, and management elements associated with the long-term management of the CCNM.
  • Steward - A select entity with ownership and management responsibility for a specific portion of the coast that adjoins part of the CCNM and that is interested in serving as the “steward” for that portion of CCNM.
Is there a plan for the CCNM?  Yes.  After four years of public input and plan development, the CCNM Resource Management Plan (RMP) was released in September 2005.  It is a BLM policy that all of the National Conservation Areas and National Monuments managed by the BLM have their own RMP developed through a public and collaborative planning process.  This process involved the issuance of public notices, public scoping meetings, development of planning criteria, and the preparation of a federal environmental impact statement (EIS), and includes the issuance of a Draft RMP/Draft EIS with a 90-day public comment period and public meetings, the issuance of a Proposed RMP/Final EIS with a 30-day public protest period, the signing of a Record of Decision, and the release of an Approved RMP.
What does the CCNM Resource Management Plan cover?  The Approved RMP provides the “blueprint” for the management of the CCNM.  The CCNM RMP established the framework in which the monument is to be managed, identified the goals and objectives, and laid out dozens of management actions needed to implement the plan over the next 15 to 20 years, and identified the major implementation priorities to initially focus on in order to set the CCNM implementation in motion.  

What is the framework established by the CCNM Resource Management Plan?  The basic framework established for the CCNM consists of four equally important aspects- -Preservation, Landscape, Partnerships, and Communities.  Each of these major aspects of the CCNM has a corresponding focus.  These four aspects are discussed below:

  • Preservation is the primary management focus for the CCNM.  This focus applies directly to the more than 20,000 rocks and small islands that make up the CCNM (i.e., the portion above mean high tide).  This is the monument, with attention on protection, research, education, and planning, and this is what the BLM is responsible for off the California coastline. 
  • Landscape is the ecosystem focus of the second aspect of the CCNM.  This aspect recognizes that the 20,000 rocks and small islands that constitute the CCNM are part of a larger landscape (or seascape).  It is the more than 14,600 square nautical mile area (i.e., the “CCNM Corridor”) within which the CCNM is located, but it is not the CCNM.  It is here where all three of the dimensions of the coastal ecosystems (i.e., abotic, biotic, and cultural) can effectively be assessed.  It is the landscape aspect that connects the CCNM with the various ecosystems of which its rocks and small islands are an important part, and links the CCNM with the many jurisdictions and management responsibilities that together ensure the proper management and long-term protection of the California coastal and marine resources and values.  In turn, this landscape links the CCNM with its current and future partners, as well as with the public.
  • Partnerships provide the collaboration focus for the CCNM.  The only way that the CCNM can be effectively managed is with partnerships.  As mentioned above, the CCNM is located adjacent to or embedded within many jurisdictions, including other federal and state agencies, counties, municipalities, tribes, and private entities.  With the myriad of adjacent and overlapping responsibilities and jurisdictions, BLM intends to continue with existing partnerships and develop new partnerships to share some of the management responsibilities.
  • Communities provide the final focus, the “local focus”, which is a key element to making all of this work.  Without developing community involvement and the sense of community “ownership”, it will be very difficult to effectively manage the CCNM.  Success in implementing the CCNM is the establishment and initiation of a series of “CCNM Gateways”.

    The CCNM can not be effectively managed by itself.  It is an integral part of a complex of coastal ecosystems and is intertwined with a wide variety of other jurisdictions, all current or potential CCNM partners. Partnerships are an absolute necessity for the CCNM and bring this partnership approach down to the community level and developing a sense of community “ownership” is a key aspect of the long-term management of the CCNM.  All four of these major aspects must come together in order to effectively administer the CCNM.
What are the CCNM implementation priorities?  The CCNM RMP identifies the following six implementation priorities:
  •  Protection (Protecting the CCNM resources & resource values) - As directed by the Presidential Proclamation, protection is the primary reason for the establishment of the CCNM.  Although the CCNM Manager has the responsibility of overseeing the management of the entire monument, the five BLM coastal field offices (i.e., Arcata, Ukiah, Hollister, Bakersfield, and Palm Springs/ South Coast) have the day-to-day responsibility for carrying out the protection of their respective portions of the CCNM.  In addition, assistance in protection will also be provided by BLM’s "core-managing partners"- -California Department of Fish and Game and California State Parks, as well as some of the CCNM’s other partners (e.g., the "Stewards").
  • Partnerships (Developing & maintaining partnerships) - With a national monument that is as extensive as the CCNM, as well as being connected to so many varied jurisdictions, the opportunities for partnerships are enormous, and necessary.  BLM needs to continue existing CCNM partnerships and establish new ones with other governmental agencies and other entities in order to effectively administer the CCNM.  This effort will help support and be linked with all other aspects of CCNM management.
  • Site Characterization (Conducting, maintaining, & updating the CCNM Site Characterization Study & Survey) -This is critical if BLM is to get a handle on what the CCNM actually consists of and what specifically are the important locations, resources, and values that the CCNM is intended to protect.  It will also enable BLM to organize the research and monitoring needs, gaps, and opportunities; discuss the CCNM in terms of its physical, biological, and cultural dimensions; begin developing the CCNM's public education and interpretive initiatives; and establish a public accessible web-based site.
  • CCNM Gateways (Establishing & supporting a series of “CCNM Gateways”) - The "Gateway" initiative is critical to providing a sense of place for the CCNM, bring the monument into focus, and linking the CCNM with local communities and initiatives.  This is also a key initiative for actively involving BLM’s five coastal field offices and linking them with CCNM partners.
  • Seabird Conservation (Developing & implementing a Seabird Conservation initiative) - Focusing on seabirds initiates the research and resource monitoring aspect of the CCNM.  Of the various coastal resources, seabirds have received the least attention and, therefore, provide the CCNM with the opportunity to make a very useful contribution to further the understanding of California’s coastal resources.  Since the rocks and small islands of the CCNM provide important habitat to seabirds for roosting, resting, nesting, breeding, and brooding, the CCNM can help to fill the gaps in the seabird inventories along the California coast and service as a focal point for seabird conservation initiatives.  This could include working with various CCNM partners to coordinate seabird research, monitoring, protection, and public outreach initiatives.
  • Tidepool Conntections (Initiating & maintaining a Tidepool Connections network) - Tidepools gives the CCNM an education and outreach focus on an area that needs attention.  This initiative will provide the vehicle to connect BLM with all of current partners and have a tangible goal and purpose that will also connect BLM with a large number of other potential partners.  In addition, this initiative moves the CCNM towards its vision to serve as a catalyst for fostering cooperative stewardship of the monument’s resources and California’s coastal ecosystems.

What are CCNM "Gateways"?  CCNM Gateways are sections of the California coast that serve as visitor contact points or portals for the CCNM. These are areas, towns, cities, communities, or various locations that are ideal for providing visitor information and services, and have the infrastructure and interest in serving in this capacity.  They can also serve as vehicles to establish a local “flavor” for a specific portion of the CCNM and provide local stewardship.  There are currently five established Gateways, with more being planned for the future.  They are:

  • Trinidad, Humboldt County
  • Point Arena, Mendocino County
  • Pigeon Point, San Mateo County
  • Piedras Blancas/San Simeon, San Luis Obispo County
  • Palos Verdes, Los Angeles County
What are the key planning decisions made in the CCNM Resource Management Plan?  The RMP includes of 70 specific management actions and land use decisions related to the CCNM.  The key land use planning decisions in the CCNM RMP are: 
  • Resources – The protection of physical, biological, and cultural resources is the priority.
  • Recreation - Non-motorized, non-mechanized only; Access generally allowed, but not encouraged; and, If impacts to protected resources occur, BLM will generally tier responsive actions first through education, then through temporary restrictive measures, and then if need, with permanent restrictions.
  • Land Use Authorizations - Most land uses not allowed, except for emergency use (e.g., response to oil spills) and aids-to-navigation (with appropriate restrictions).
  • Land Tenure Adjustment - No CCNM lands identified for disposal; Exchange considered where it will further resource protection; and Acquisition considered of rocks and islands within the CCNM corridor where acquisition would contribute to resource protection.
  • Education & Interpretation - Sets the framework for a wide variety of education and interpretation opportunities; Leveraging partnerships with existing programs; and Priority on using existing mainland facilities.
  • Research - Objective to consolidate permitting process across agencies and balance between gathering data/information to understand and protect resources and protecting the integrity of the resources.
Who can be contacted for additional information?  Contact Rick Hanks, CCNM Manager at:

Bureau of Land Management
California Coastal National Monument
20 Hamilton Court
Hollister, CA 95023-2535
Phone: (831) 630-5006
fax: (831) 630-5055
Contact us by e-mail