California Coastal National Monument

California Coastal National Monument logo

CALIFORNIA COASTAL NATIONAL MONUMENT

UPDATE

March 15, 2013 

 
CCNM Manager Rick Hanks to Retire After 40 Years with BLM.   Herrick (Rick) E. Hanks, manager of the California Coastal National Monument (CCNM) for the past 11½ years, announced that he is retiring from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on May 31, 2013. “I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to have put the California Coastal National Monument together from scratch,” Hanks said. “Especially enjoyable was developing all of the partnerships and working with the wide variety of people and organizations along the California coast.” He added that he will miss working directly with the CCNM’s “adjunct staff” in the various BLM offices associated with the coast and with the key CCNM partners that make the CCNM work. However, Hanks says that, “After 40 years with the BLM, it’s time to retire.”
 
With five decades of experience in natural and cultural resources management, planning, outreach, recruitment, and education, many of Hanks’ positions were “firsts.” In his role as the first CCNM manager, Hanks developed and coordinated a wide variety of partners and stewards to share in the management of the monument and the CCNM Gateways. Ranging from other federal agencies to non-profit organizations along the entire California coast, he brought together "a unique partnership in protecting California coastal resources."
 
Besides being the first CCNM manager, Rick began his career with BLM in May 1973 in Riverside, California, as the BLM’s first district archaeologist and then served as the first lead archaeologist for the California Desert Plan staff. He spent four years in Washington, D.C., as BLM’s first cultural resource program lead, developing the BLM’s cultural resource management program. Hanks then served 15 years as a BLM line-manager. He was the area manager in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from 1980-1989 (BLM’s first archaeologist to be an area manager) and Susanville District manager in northeastern California and northwestern Nevada from 1989-1995 (BLM’s first archaeologist to be a district manager). From 1995-2000, Rick was on-loan to California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly), as the first (and only) director of the Equity Leadership Program, a partnership between BLM, Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Cal Poly dealing with outreach and recruitment into the natural resource fields.
 
In addition to his BLM career, Hanks worked for several years as a project archaeologist for the California Department of Parks and Recreation; taught anthropology and archaeology at Ventura College and classes at Cal State Northridge and Lassen College, as well as a graduate course in natural resources management at Cal Poly; ran the archaeological research unit at the University of California at Riverside; and served on several boards and held offices on several professional and community organizations, including president of the America Society for Conservation Archaeology. Hanks is also the recipient of the United States Department of the Interior’s Superior Service Award, the BLM’s Arthur Zimmerman Award for superior unit performance, and the BLM-wide Outstanding Manager of the Year Award for recreation management.
 
Upon retiring, Hanks will continue to live in the Monterey Bay area with his wife Julie (Their 44th anniversary is in early June) and he hopes to maintain a link with the CCNM and some of its various partners. He wishes all of the CCNM partners his best and hopes that “with the California Coastal National Monument’s partnership approach and Gateways program in operation, the partners will continue to work towards serving as a model for ‘participatory governance’ that will give them the collaborative control over their piece of the California coast.” 
 
Hanks added that, “The California Coastal National Monument is the only federal designation that runs the length of the California coast, so it can continue to serve as a catalyst for fostering stewardship of the coastal ecosystems, allowing the BLM to use the monument to help enhance coastal cooperative and collaborative initiatives and partnerships and take advantage of the tremendous opportunity for outreach to an extremely large audience in a very positive environment.”
 
Summary of Hanks’ Major Accomplishments with BLM:
2006-2012       Implemented the California Coastal National Monument Resource Management Plan, including the development of more than 45 CCNM partnerships (both Collaborative Partners and Stewards, each with individual memorandum of understanding), initiated the CCNM Gateways effort, and focused the initial resource effort on seabird conservation.
 
2001-2005       Developed the management framework and implementation priorities for the California Coastal National Monument Resource Management Plan (RMP) that received three awards, including the American Planning Association’s California-wide award for plan implementation and the Association of Environmental Professionals award outstanding environmental planning document for jurisdictions over 50,000 population.
 
Developed, while on-loan from BLM to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo as the Director of the Equity Leadership Program, a unique multi-agency, multi-university working model of a local, regional, and national outreach, recruitment and retention program “to identify, educate, nurture and place future leaders from all ethnic groups in natural resource professions and related fields,” and demonstrated that it worked (before the program was discontinued).
 
Developed a collaborative management environment for the BLM Susanville District (covering BLM lands in the northeastern corner of California and the northwestern corner of Nevada) using an integrated ecosystem, employee empowerment, and community involvement approach, an effort that clearly benefited the initial formation and operation of the two-tiered BLM Northern California management region.
 
Played key roles in the establishment of El Malpais National Conservation Area (New Mexico) and Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area (Nevada).
 
Guided the BLM Rio Puerco Resource Area (Albuquerque, New Mexico) from a resource area office primarily recognized for its rangeland programs in the early 1980s to a resource area recognized in the late 1980s as one of the BLM’s most active multiple use resource area office.
 
Coordinated the development and implementation of the BLM’s Cultural Resource Management (CRM) Program that has served as the model for the development of other federal agencies’ CRM programs, including the development of the BLM CRM Inventory Manuals that established Class I, II and III inventory categories for cultural resources management that continue to be in use today as the federal standard. 

1973- 1976      Conducted the first large scale (>million acres) systematic archaeological probability sampling (Class II surveys) for planning in BLM and incorporated cultural resources into the planning process for the 25 million acre California Desert Plan Project. 

California “Coastal Collaborative” Under Consideration.  The Bureau of Land Management in California is putting together the pieces needed to develop and implement a cooperative and collaborative partnership approach to conserve and manage the California coastal landscape with the State of California’s Natural Resources Agency. This would be an expansion and enhancement of the California Coastal National Monument’s current operating framework and management approach. Under the proposed concept, the Resources Agency and the BLM would work together to develop and implement a “Coastal Collaborative.” 
 
This “Coastal Collaborative” would have the BLM and the Resources Agency working together on efforts for delivery of “seamless” services to the public and enhancing the protection and management of coastal resources, building on the strengths of each agency, sharing staff and resources, and building community partnerships. Initial focus would be on California State Parks and the BLM working on enhancing a number of existing collaborative efforts at the local level in the northern, central, and southern portions of the coast, as well as a few coast-wide initiatives.
 
The proposed “Coastal Collaborative” would focus on ways to work together to improve the environmental stewardship of the coastal resources through collaborative efforts in natural and cultural resource. This could include resource monitoring, watershed management, law enforcement, trail construction and maintenance, invasive species reduction, habitat protection, restoration, oil spill prevention and response, and outreach, environmental education and interpretation. The parties could take advantage of opportunities to expand upon the existing successes (e.g., CCNM Gateways program) and work on providing more efficient, effective, and sustainable ways for collaborative management among the agencies, partners, and communities along the California coast.
 
Attention would also be on building stewardship values with youth, engaging youth in the outdoors, taking advantage of the various opportunities to expand visitor services and youth outreach. This could be done through the America’s Great Outdoors youth education, engagement, and employment initiative and could include looking into ways of linking the federal initiative with the various initiatives within the Resources Agency (e.g., California State Parks’ Children in Nature).
 
Although initially California State Parks would be the primary participant for the Resource Agency, other departments, conservancies, boards, councils, and commissions of the Resources Agency would be involved as the “Coastal Collaborative” grows. While both the BLM and the Resources Agency workloads are increasing, their budgets and staffing are shrinking, the proposed collaborative effort would provide the parties with an approach that could help deal with this situation. In short, the “Coastal Collaborative” would build on the existing long-term collaborative relationship between the Resources Agency and the BLM and work to protect and promote California’s treasured coastal landscape and seascape in order to provide seamless public services and resource conservation. 

Stewards of the Coast & Redwoods Initiate “Citizen Science” Seabird Monitoring for Sonoma Coast by Conducting Training.  Stimulated by a small grant from the California Coastal National Monument, the Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods have taken on the task of developing a “citizen science” seabird monitoring program initially focused on the Sonoma Coast State Beach. This program is intended as an effort to develop a chapter of the Seabird Protection Network without having to wait for oil spill funding. The program will start with the monitoring component of the Seabird Protection Network and eventually move into the outreach component and possibly the management coordination and enforcement component as well.

The Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods’ first step in this effort was to recruit volunteers and conduct an initial training for them. The training began with an orientation session on January 10, 2013, at the Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods’ training center at Armstrong Redwoods State Park in Guerneville, California. The orientation included presentations about the CCNM by monument manager Rick Hanks; the Seabird Protection Network by NOAA-Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary’s Seabird Protection Network coordinator Sage Tzsak; The Sea Ranch Association’s (TSRA) citizen science seabird monitoring program by TSRA CCNM Stewardship Task Force co-chair and Madrone Audubon Society conservation coordinator Diane Hichwa; and the initial field training session by BLM California State Office ecologist Jim Weigand. The Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods executive director Michele Luna coordinated the orientation. The Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods is a CCNM Collaborative Partner and the nonprofit environmental and interpretive organization for the California State Parks’ Russian River District.

The following week, on January 17, 2013, the training continued with a day-long session on the Sonoma Coast. It involved a morning in the field and an afternoon at the Sonoma Coast State Beach’s visitor center at Jenner, California. Beginning at Bodega Head, the group of about 20 volunteers and training staff hiked to the best spot to see Bodega Rock, situated at the mouth of Bodega Bay. At this location, the new volunteers learned how to use tripods and spotting scopes and Joe Mortenson, a local volunteer biologist, gave an overview of what he has been viewing for years on Bodega Rock and Bodega Headlands. With the spotting scoops, the group viewed cormorants, harbor seals, and sea lions on the rocks. They also saw a peregrine falcon fly by, as well as numerous brown pelicans.

The group then drove to the state beach’s Gleason Beach area where some of the group viewed the smaller rocks where birds nest, while others parked at a turnout just south where they had very good view of a large rock where three species of cormorants nest during the breeding season. Arched Rock overlook in the northern portion of Sonoma Coast State Beach provided the last viewing spot for morning and a spectacular view of the state beach’s northern coast.

The afternoon was spent at the Jenner visitor center with NOAA-Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary’s Seabird Protection Network outreach specialist Mai Maheigan discussing human disturbance of seabirds and completing wildlife disturbance forms; Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods’ monitoring coordinator and board member Hollis Bewley presenting her historic bird observations and breeding success on the Sonoma coast and photographs of prominent seabirds; and BLM’s Jim Weigand instructing the group on monitoring logistics and protocols. Michele Luna completed the session by setting up additional training days and other follow-up tasks needed (e.g., identifying the volunteers’ availability in order to determine how often monitoring can be done during the non-breeding season).

The eventual goal of the project is to create a complete Seabird Protection Network for the entire Sonoma County coast. The Seabird Protection Network is a statewide program that strives to address human disturbance and enhance seabird recovery efforts, through an organized, place-based outreach and education program, coupled with monitoring, management coordination, and enforcement. 

[See photos of the training in the BLM California News.bytes at www.blm.gov/ca/news/newsbytes, Issue 564, 01/25/2013] 

CCNM Part of Environment for the Americas Shorebird Program for Latino Interns.  Two of eight interns participating in the Environment for the Americas (EFTA) shorebird program will be working with the CCNM and a variety of its partners in the Monterey Bay area from March through August 2013. The EFTA shorebird program is intended to engage Latinos in natural resource careers and conservation actions. The interns will be involved in shorebird monitoring and outreach efforts. Funded by a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) grant, the EFTA seabird program is in collaboration with the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) at six sites. In addition to Monterey, the other sites include BLM’s Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area in Oregon and Blanca Wetlands in southern Colorado and the USFS Copper River Delta in Alaska.

The two CCNM interns are Hugo Ceja, who recently received his B.S. in environmental sciences from California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB), and Stephanie Aroche, a watershed management major at CSUMB. They will be working out of Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), a CCNM Core-Managing Partner. The interns will have the opportunity to participate in various shorebird monitoring activities at Elkhorn Slough, conduct Black Oystercatcher monitoring and initiating a survey of rocky habitat shorebirds on a portion of the CCNM, work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (a CCNM Collaborative Partner) on the Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge with a shorebird survey and also involved in the development of an avocet study on the refuge, and observe PRBO Conservation Science’s (a CCNM Collaborative Partner) Snowy Plover monitoring on California State Parks (a CCNM Core-Managing Partner) units, and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s (a CCNM Collaborative Partner) Beach COMBERS monthly survey. In addition, the CCNM interns will be involved in a variety of outreach initiatives with the local Latino communities, including leading tours at Elkhorn Slough and assisting Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s MERITO program with field trips to Elkhorn Slough, as well as participating in bird festivals and conducting outreach programs.

As a kick-off to the program, a training session for all of the EFTA interns and staff was held in Monterey, California, from February 26 through March 4, 2013. The week-long training included a classroom session by PRBO Conservation Science on seabirds and seabird identification and monitoring, and a field trip to the sandy shoreline habitat to see shorebirds first hand. CCNM manager Rick Hanks took the group on a morning field trip at the end of the Monterey Peninsula to observe Black Oystercatchers and other shorebirds in the rocky shoreline habitat. Other sessions included EFTA staff presentations on the use of binoculars, bird identification, natural resource careers, and outreach techniques. In addition, the trainees took field tours to the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve to observe shorebirds in the estuarine and mudflats habitat and the Monterey Bay Aquarium where the interns could observe shorebirds up-close in the shorebird exhibit.

Environment for the Americas provides information and education materials about birds, bird conservation, and bird education from Canada to South America in order to inspire people of all ages to get outdoors, learn about birds, and take part in bird conservation efforts. Known for their signature program, International Migratory Bird Day, EFTA also has programs that connect people with year-round bird conservation efforts.

[See photos of the intern training in the BLM California News.bytes at www.blm.gov/ca/news/newsbytes, Issue 570, 03/08/2013]

Rock Star Awards Presented to The Sea Ranch Association CCNM Stewardship Task Force Members.  At The Sea Ranch Association’s (TSRA) Mid-Winter Meeting on Saturday, February 16, 2013, CCNM manager Rick Hanks had the opportunity to present CCNM Rock Star Awards to 17 members of TSRA CCNM Stewardship Task Force. The task force members were all participants in the five-year (2007-2011) intensive monitoring program associated with seabirds and Harbor Seals of Gualala Point Island. The monitoring program was a detailed examination of seabirds and marine mammal attendance patterns of Gualala Point Island and two other select locations (Black Point and Galleons Reach/Arch Rock) off The Sea Ranch Association properties along the northern Sonoma County coast, as well as Fish Rocks in southern Mendocino County, the closest large seabird colony to Gualala Point Island. The original impetus for the five-year monitoring study was to examine potential impacts of a fireworks display conducted on July 6, 2007, from a low coastal bluff in the community of Gualala located just over a mile (1.8 km) northeast of Gualala Point Island.
 
The monitoring program of the BLM and The Sea Ranch CCNM Stewardship Task Force included the following: (1) a quarterly coastal island survey along the ten miles of The Sea Ranch coastline; (2) a monthly non‐breeding season survey at the three islands during fall and winter months; (3) a weekly breeding season survey at the same three islands from April through August; and (4) the daily intensive monitoring at Gualala Point Island over a 20‐day period in June and July.
 
The CCNM Rock Star Awards were presented to the following TSRA CCNM Stewardship Task Force members for the following reasons: 
  • Rich Kuehn, TSRA CCNM Stewardship Task Force’s first chair and his role in the seabird monitoring 
  • Diane Hichwa, TSRA CCNM Stewardship Task Force’s current co-chair  and her role in the seabird monitoring, reports preparation, and rare plants inventory 
  • Barbara Rice, TSRA CCNM Stewardship Task Force’s current co-chair and her role in the seabird monitoring, reports preparation, and rare plants inventory 
  • Sandy Bush, TSRA CCNM Stewardship Task Force member and her lead role in marine mammal monitoring 
  • Craig Tooley, TSRA CCNM Stewardship Task Force member and his role in aerial photography 
  • Bonnie Plakos, TSRA CCNM Stewardship Task Force member and her role in marine mammals monitoring and data quality control 
  • Julie Gibson, TSRA CCNM Stewardship Task Force member and her role in seabird monitoring and data quality control 
  • George and Michele Marshall, TSRA CCNM Stewardship Task Force member and her role in seabird monitoring 
  • Bryant Hichwa, TSRA CCNM Stewardship Task Force member and his role in seabird monitoring and photography 
  • Connie Schimbor, TSRA CCNM Stewardship Task Force member and her role in seabird monitoring and nest detection 
  • Dean Schuler, TSRA CCNM Stewardship Task Force member and his role in seabird monitoring and photography
  • Jamie Edwards, TSRA CCNM Stewardship Task Force member and his role in seabird monitoring 
  • Rozanne Rapozo, TSRA CCNM Stewardship Task Force member and her role in data quality control and photography 
  • Dave Presotto, TSRA CCNM Stewardship Task Force member and her role as volunteer pilot for island overflights 
  • Caryl Carr, TSRA CCNM Stewardship Task Force member and his role in seabird monitoring, photo interpretation, and reports editing 
  • Dorothy Gregor, TSRA CCNM Stewardship Task Force member and his role in seabird monitoring and reports editing 
As an added bonus, TSRA CCNM Stewardship Task Force member Bonnie Plakos received the Sea Rancher of the Year Award, an award presented annually by The Sea Ranch Association to one of its members who has made a significant contribution his or her time for the betterment of the community.

[See photos of the presentation in the BLM California News.bytes at www.blm.gov/ca/news/newsbytes, Issue 568, 02/21/2013]

The Sea Ranch Association CCNM Stewardship Task Force Reports on Activities from April-December 2012.  The co-chair for The Sea Ranch Association CCNM Stewardship Task Force Diane Hichwa recently submitted the periodic report of the group’s activities. Covering the period from April through December 2012, the report identifies the variety of activities in which the CCNM’s most active Steward is involved. Below is the summary: 

1. Completion and submission to the BLM of the 2011 report “Seabird and Marine Mammal Monitoring at Gualala Point Island, Sonoma County, California, May to August 2011.”
 
2. Surveyed sites of Agrostis blasdalei a weekly to record phenology data so that we can understand the timing of flowering and seed maturation to assist in future propagation for restoration [Agrostis blasdalei, commonly known as Blasdale’s Bentgrass, is a small native bunch grass, which is listed on the California Native Plant Society Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants].
 
3. Submitted a restoration prescription to the BLM for the Agrostis [Blasdale’s Bentgrass] on the island at Shell Beach.
 
4. Black Oystercatcher nest monitoring continued for the 2nd year. The task force held a training session and then surveyed The Sea Ranch’s 10 mile coast for nests during the first two weeks of June. This was followed by individual nest watches conducted weekly to determine success to fledging. In 2012, this second year of the study, The Sea Ranch area had the most complete volunteer coverage of the sites surveyed in Monterey, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties, and the best fledging success rate measured, 64%. The task force’s local birds fledged 15 chicks.
 
5. Surveyed from shore and through aerial photography the nesting of seabirds on Gualala Point Island, Galleon’s/Arched Rock, and Black Point. In 2012, the shore surveys were typically done on a twice a month schedule.
 
6. Six overflights of Gualala Point Island and Fish Rocks were continued by the task force’s photographer and their volunteer pilot.
 
7. In September, the task force led their first quarterly general education walk of “Islands, Beaches and Bluffs.” The task force took the attendees from Cormorant Close to Shell Beach, observing animals and plants and the varying seasonal usages.
 
8. Sent an expedition onto Gualala Point Island to take on site photos and GPS readings and measurements to better understand the nesting use of the island.

9. Articles submitted to The Sea Ranch Association (TSRA) publications. Articles in TSRA Bulletin 2012 included “Osprey Overhead,” “Oystercatcher Watch,” “Pelagics have Patches,” “Your Watchful Eyes,” “A New Nesting Species for Sonoma County: the Common Murre,” “Oystercatcher Study Wraps up for 2012,” “Tsunami Remnants may be Coming to our Shores,” and “Transitions—from Island to Bluff to Ridge.” Articles in TSRA Soundings were “Rare Grass needs our Protection,” “Rare Grass Interview,” and “Citizen Science.”

CCNM Lesson "Bird Time Budget" featured on Hands on the Land Website.  A CCNM Lesson "Bird Time Budget" was featured on the Hands on the Land website (www.handsontheland.org). Known as "America's Biggest Classroom," Hands on the Land is a national network of field classrooms and agency resources to connect students, teachers, families, and volunteers with public lands and resources. Within the communities of Hands on the Land sites, public, non-profit, and private partners customize hands-on experiences using local natural, historical, and archaeological settings to bring classroom learning to life. 

The CCNM lesson was submitted by Tracy Albrecht, BLM Palm Springs/South Coast Field Office’s Southern California national monuments interpretive specialist. This first of BLM lessons on the Hands on the Land website engages children to use their observation skills to decipher how birds, in the context of behavioral adaptations, spend their time. Though any habitat is appropriate, the recommended setting of this exercise is the rocks off California's coast. This makes an ideal site for watching birds, especially for first time users of binoculars. A data sheet, pre-lesson, and follow-up discussion are part of the lesson.  

In the "Bird Time Budget" lesson, students will: (1) Discover that birds have a variety of behavioral adaptations that help them survive in their environment; (2) Practice problem solving by working cooperatively to determine the different ways and percentages of how birds spend their time; (3) Learn the technique of conducting a time budget and how to objectively measure behaviors; (4) Predict and test hypothesis on how birds spend their time; (5) Improve public speaking skills by presenting their conclusions and reasoning to classmates; (6) Verbalize and defend their opinions in front of their peers; and (7) Appreciate offshore habitats as places where birds can practice a variety of behaviors. The lesson can be adapted for grades 2 through 8, but is particularly appropriate for grade 3 learning standards.

CCNM at Cabrillo National Monument’s Whale Watch Weekend & Intertidal Life Festival.  As the last of the Pacific Gray Whales migrate south to Baja California before beginning their return trip north to their summer feeding grounds in waters off Alaska and the tide was low throughout the afternoon exposing the wide variety of intertidal life in the coastal tidepools, Cabrillo National Monument held their 26th annual Whale Watch Weekend and Intertidal Life Festival. The BLM’s California Coastal National Monument was there to help celebrate, along with about 20 other agencies and organizations. Sponsored by the National Park Service (NPS) at Cabrillo National Monument -- located on the tip of San Diego’s Point Loma -- the weekend-long event held on February 9 and 10, 2013, attracted the majority of the more than 5,000 visitors for that two day period.

The CCNM, the other national monument associated with Point Loma, had a booth located in the center of the festival’s activities. While CCNM Manager Rick Hanks handed out brochures, posters, and calendars to a continuous stream of visitors and discussed the BLM, the National Landscape Conservation System, and the CCNM with interested festival goers, the BLM’s California Desert District (CDD) outreach team representatives worked with hundreds of young visitors, and even some older ones, in making individualized CCNM-related buttons or CCNM booklets. Once an individual button pattern was colored using marking pens, a CDD outreach team member used a hand operated button press to complete the process. The CCNM booklet were also an individualized produce with the youngster coloring CCNM with marking pens and decorating the “booklet” with a wide variety of sea life rubber stamps. Some of the younger children enjoyed the opportunity to touch and feel the life-like models of crabs and starfish found in and around California’s tidepools. The CDD outreach team at this event consisted of CDD’s public contact representative Barbara Croonquist and BLM volunteers Dee Dechert and Michael Croonquist. Each of the NPS volunteers who help with the Cabrillo National Monument visitor center were especially happy to receive the BLM National Landscape Conservation System-California calendars, as well as a CCNM pin that they could display on their volunteer vests.

[See photos of the event in News.bytes at www.blm.gov/ca/news/newsbytes, Issue 567, 02/14/2013]

Gray Whales, Fin Whales & Dolphins, Oh My! CCNM at Rancho Palos Verdes’ “Whale of a Day.”  The sea creatures were out in force, as thousands of visitors descended on the Point Vicente Interpretive Center on March 2, 2013, for a picture perfect day by the ocean at Rancho Palos Verdes on southern California’s Palos Verdes Peninsula. As flights of pelicans glided over the festivities of the 29th annual “Whale of a Day” and bells tolled to announce whale sightings throughout the day, the more 3,000 visitors enjoyed the festival’s various booths, activities, and entertainment. 
 
At the CCNM booth, the primary activity for kids was button making. Kids could choose from five different designs. Each kid could color his or her chosen CCNM design and then have one of the BLM California Desert District outreach team members use the button press to create a personalized button. In addition, kids could create their own CCNM booklet and decorated it as they pleased using color markers, crayons, and/or a variety of sea life-related rubber stamps. Some of the kids examined or played with plastic crabs, starfish and other creatures on top of a tidepool tablecloth, while other kids studied the plastic specimens under magnifying lenses.
 
CCNM manager Rick Hanks spent much of the day talking to booth visitors about the California Coastal National Monument and passing out CCNM brochures, including one that identifies six locations on the Palos Verdes Peninsula where one can see California Coastal National Monument rocks and exposed reefs. California Desert District public contact representative Barbara Croonquist was the primary coordinator of the button making process, while three BLM volunteers were critical to the success of the day-long activities at the CCNM booth. They were Dee Dechert, Michael Croonquist, and Emily McCall.

Co-sponsored by the City of Palos Verdes (a CCNM Collaborative Partner) and the docents of Los Serenos de Point Vicente, the “Whale of a Day” festival celebrates the migration of the Pacific Gray Whale from the winter breeding and calving grounds in Baja California to their summer feeding grounds in the Bering and Chuchki Seas in Alaska. This year's event reported the sighting of only six Gray Whales, but Fin Whale and dolphin sighting where common and the clear view of Catalina Island to the south and the Santa Monica Mountains to the north made the time spend looking for whales worthwhile.

[See photos of the event in News.bytes at www.blm.gov/ca/news/newsbytes, Issue 567, 02/14/2013]

BLM "Keeps On Coastin" in the Desert.  Where do the California Coastal National Monument and Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument come together? Geographically, the connection is the coastal and inland areas of southern California. However, at the first birding festival at the Salton Sea State Recreation Area, they were right in sync! Pelican Days was a fun weekend of fabulous birding, kayaking, and family adventure sponsored by California State Parks and the Sea and Desert Interpretive Association. This first time event was held from January 18-20, 2013, on the north shore of the Salton Sea.
 
At the festival, BLM Palm Springs/South Coast Field Office Youth Crew members Marco Castillo and Charlie Edwards welcomed participants with a BLM information booth covering both of the BLM's southern California national monuments. With a spectacular backdrop of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains, the youth crew helped visitors learn more about the two native pelican species and offered tips on using binoculars. For the very young, it was an opportunity to see birds though binoculars for the first time – and what a treat to see a white pelican!

The Salton Sea is one of the largest remaining wetlands in all of California and is an important stop for millions of birds along the Pacific Flyway. Over 400 species of birds have been identified throughout the year at the Salton Sea.

[See photos of the event in News.bytes at www.blm.gov/ca/news/newsbytes, Issue 564, 01/25/2013]

Senators Boxer and Feinstein Introduce Bill to Included Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands to CCNM.  Early in the first Session of the 113th Congress, California’s two U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein introduced a bill to include the BLM’s Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands in the California Coastal National Monument as part of the National Landscape Conservation System. The bill was entered as S. 61, on January 22 (legislative day, January 3), 2013, with the short title of the “California Coastal National Monument Expansion Act of 2013.” If enacted, S. 61 would add the more than 1,300 acres of the federally-owned Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands to the CCNM as the first onshore portion of the CCNM. Last April, a similar bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representative by Congressman Mike Thompson, but the bill died in the House Natural Resources Committee when the 112th Congress ended.

California Department of Fish & Game Name Changed to California Department of Fish & Wildlife.  As of January 1, 2013, the California Department of Fish and Game, a CCNM Core-Managing Partner, became the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). The new name was mandated by California Assembly Bill (AB) 2402, which was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on September 25, 2012. “The name of the department was changed to better reflect our evolving responsibilities,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “As our role has grown to meet 21st century expectations, we remain committed to our traditional responsibilities and to honoring our deep roots in California’s natural resources legacy.”

According to State Senator Jared Huffman, the California bill’s sponsor (and now a new U.S. Congressman), the change was made "to accurately reflect the state agency's broader mission." Huffman said the proposed name change came from a majority on the 51-seat advisory panel convened to discuss the department's strategic vision. “Huffman sees it as part of an ongoing legislative efforts to turn the department into a stronger, more independent, science-based agency that focuses on managing entire ecosystems, not just individual species,” according to the Los Angeles Times report Ken Weiss. “The vision is a professional agency that has more secure funding and is better insulated from political pressures.”

California's change leaves just 12 states using "game" in the name of the agency overseeing wildlife, according to the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Those states are Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Arkansas, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Eighteen states use "wildlife," while the others use "natural resources" or "conservation." Moreover, the Associated Press reported that data from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the National Conference of State Legislatures indicates the shift away from "game" is accelerating.

Many CDFW materials will continue to bear the old name because AB 2402 reduced the cost associated with the name change by preventing CDFW from undergoing a wholesale turnover of materials, including signs, uniforms, and supplies. There is one noted change, however, that has resulted from the new name change. Traditionally known as “game wardens,” the CDFW’s law enforcement staff will now be called “wildlife officers.” In addition, it is rumored that over time, CDFW may be commonly referred to as “Cal Wildlife” or “Cal Wild,” an abbreviated name such as “CalTrans” and “Cal Fire” that are already short names for existing California departments.

Furthermore, a new Internet (www.wildlife.ca.gov) address and new e-mail addresses (e.g., xxx@wildlife.ca.gov) for all CDFW employees have been put into effect. However, the old URL and the old e-mail addresses will continue to work through the near future.

Regardless of the name change, the CDFW mission continues to be “to manage California’s diverse fish, wildlife, and plant resources, and the habitats upon which they depend, for their ecological values and for their use and enjoyment by the public.” In furtherance of that mission, the CDFW carries out numerous responsibilities related to the commercial, recreational, educational and scientific use and enjoyment of California’s natural resources.

CCNM Related Meetings, Conference Calls & Events.   During the time period covered by this CCNM Update (i.e., December 11, 2012 through March 15, 2013), the CCNM Manager, other CCNM staff, and the managers and staff of the BLM California State Office and coastal field offices (FO) also participated in a variety of meetings, conference calls, events, and activities, including the following: 

  • Participated in conference call re: California Coastal Collaborative discussion (Este Stifel, Rick Hanks, Cindy Staszak, Doran Sanchez, Mark Conley, Bob Wick, Jim Weigand, Nancy Haug, Jeff Fontana, Greg Thomsen, John Skibinski, Rich Burns, George Hill, Tracy Albrecht & Joana Hildenbrand), December 12, 2012 
  • Participated in conference call re: Black Oystercatcher nest success end of season discussion with Audubon California & U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Hanks & Wiegand), December 14, 2012 
  • Provided presentations as part of Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods’ seabird monitoring orientation (Hanks & Weigand) at Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve, Guerneville, CA, January 10, 2013
  • Participated in meeting with City of Trinidad to discuss CCNM Trinidad Gateway curriculum development re: City’s need to implement storm water management education (Leisyka Parrott), Trinidad, CA, January 10, 2013
  • Participated in conference call with Environment for the Americas re: shorebirds intern program (Hanks), January 14, 2013 
  • Participated in meeting of Monterey Bay National Heritage Area Alliance Steering Committee (Hanks), Moss Landing, CA, January 14, 2013 
  • Conducted & participated in CCNM Managers’ quarterly coordination conference call (Hanks, Thomsen, Sanchez, Skibinski, Tim Smith, Rick Cooper, David Christy, David Briery & Barbara Croonquist), January 16, 2013 
  • Participated in meeting & conference call with Dave Feliz, California Department of Fish & Wildlife manager of NOAA-Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), & Environment for the Americas executive director Susan Bonfield re: Environment for the Americas’ shorebird intern program & candidate interview (Hanks), January 17, 2013 
  • Assisted with Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods’ seabird monitoring training (Weigand) at Sonoma Coast State Beach, southern Sonoma County, CA, January 17, 2013 
  • Conducted CCNM Managers’ quarterly coordination conference call follow-up with BLM northern California coast field managers (Hanks, Burns, Fontana, Richard Raione & Lynda Roush), January 18, 2013 
  • Participated in meeting & conference call with CDFW Elkhorn Slough NERR manager & Environment for the Americas executive director Susan Bonfield & outreach coordinator Natasha Kerr re: Environment for the Americas shorebird intern program & candidate interview (Hanks), January 24, 2013 
  • Participated in Native Plant Workshop with CCNM Lost Coast Gateway (Gary Pritchard-Peterson, Pam Killingsworth & Justin Robbins), Whitethorn, CA, February 5, 2013 
  • Participated in conference call re: Environment for the Americas shorebird intern program & candidate interview (Hanks), January 31, 2013 
  • Conducted & participated in conference call re: Coastal Collaborative with BLM coastal public affairs officers (Sanchez, Hanks, Fontana, Briery & Thomsen), February 6, 2013 
  • Conducted & participated in CCNM Trinidad Gateway committee quarterly meeting (Parrott, Lynda Roush & Gina Jorgenson), Trinidad, CA, February 8, 2013 
  • Staffed BLM-CCNM booth at Cabrillo National Monument’s Whale Watch Weekend & Intertidal Life Festival (Hanks & Croonquist), San Diego, CA, February 9 & 10, 2013 
  • Conducted & participated in conference call re: Seabird Protection Network Point Sur to Point Mugu Chapter coordinators, including California State Parks’ Cara O’Brien & PRBO Conservation Science’s Dan Robinette (Hanks, Weigand, Eric Morgan & Peter Fonken), February 11, 2013 
  • Meeting with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge Manager Diane Kodama re: Environment for the Americas shorebird interns program (Hanks), Watsonville, CA, February 13, 2013 
  • Participated in conference call with Environment for the Americas re: shorebird intern program with representative from all 4 field sites (Hanks), February 14, 2013 
  • Conducted & participated in conference call re: Coastal Collaborative planning strategy (Hanks, Fontana, Este Stifel, David Christy & Mark Conley), February 14, 2013
  • Presented CCNM Rock Star Awards to 17 TSRA CCNM Stewardship Task Force members at The Sea Ranch Association Mid-Winter Meeting (Hanks & Fontana), Sea Ranch, CA, February 19, 2013 
  • Briefed new BLM Hollister Field Office Partnerships & Outreach Coordinator re: CCNM managing framework & conducted field visit of CCNM sites along northern Santa Cruz County coast (Hanks, Erik Zaborsky & Brady Owens), Santa Cruz, CA, February 21, 2013 
  • Attended Pacific Seabird Group Annual Meeting (Weigand), Portland, OR, February 21-23, 2013 
  • Attended initial evening session for Environment for the Americas (EFTA) Shorebird Program for Latino Interns training (Hanks), Monterey, CA, February 26, 2013 
  • Attended EFTA training session on shorebird identification & monitoring protocols & field trip to sandy shore habitat (Hanks), Monterey & Pacific Grove, CA, February 27, 2013 
  • Conducted EFTA training session field trip to rocky habitat (Hanks), Pacific Grove, CA, February 28, 2013 
  • Staffed BLM-CCNM booth at Whale of a Day (Hanks & Croonquist), Rancho Palos Verdes, March 2, 2013 
  • Presented CCNM orientation to BLM Palm Springs/South Coast Field Office staff & CCNM Rock Star Award to BLM Southern California national monuments interpretive specialist Tracy Albrecht (Hanks), Palm Springs, CA, March 4, 2013 
  • Presented CCNM Rock Star Award to BLM California Desert District (CDD) public contact specialist Barbara Croonquist at CDD all-employees meeting (Steve Razo), Moreno Valley, CA, March 4, 2013 
  • Presented CCNM Rock Star Award to BLM CCNM Southern California Coordinator Greg Thomsen at CDD meeting (Teri Rami), Moreno Valley, CA, March 7, 2013 
  • Participated in meeting with Nicks Interns crew leader Avery Love to discuss work re: assisting CCNM partners with needed trail work & weed removal (Parrott), Arcata, CA, March 7, 2013 
  • Participated in meeting of Monterey Bay National Heritage Area Alliance Steering Committee (Hanks & Owens), Moss Landing, CA, March 11, 2013 
  • Conducted & participated in CCNM Lost Coast Gateway meeting (Pritchard-Peterson, Robbins & P. Killingsworth), Whitethorn, CA, March 12, 2013 
  • Presented CCNM Rock Star Award to BLM Hollister Field Office CCNM coordinator Erik Zaborsky & Seabird Protection Network Point Sur to Point Mugu Chapter project manager (& Fort Ord National Monument manager) Eric Morgan at HFO all-employees meeting (Hanks), Hollister, CA, March 12, 2013 
  • Conducted meeting to discuss CCNM Junior Explorer content development (Parrott & Julie Clark), Arcata, CA, March 12, 2013 
  • Participated in meeting with Los Padres National Forest Supervisor Peggy Hernandez & Monterey District Ranger Tim Short re: USFS Rocks off Big Sur (Hanks), Goleta, CA, March 13, 2013 
  • Participated in kick-off meeting for Channel Islands Seabird Protection Network Chapter (Hanks), Ventura, CA, March 14, 2013

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


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