U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
|California Coastal National Monument|
December 31, 2007
“CCNM Steward” MOU Signed with the U.S. Navy at Ceremony on Point Loma. On a rocky bluff overlooking the scenic Pacific Ocean along the west side of Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego, BLM California State Director Mike Pool joined Navy Rear Admiral Len Hering, Command of Navy Region Southwest, to sign a joint agreement to strengthen protection of the California Coastal National Monument (CCNM) rocks and islands off the Navy’s jurisdictions in Southern California. The joint agreement signed Monday, November 5, 2007, was a memorandum of understanding (MOU) designating the Navy as a “CCNM Steward” for the rocks and islands that consist of the CCNM off San Clemente Island, San Nicolas Island, and the western side of Naval Base Point Loma, as well as Begg Rock (northwest of San Nicolas Island). Flanked by the American and Navy flags and flags from all 50 states, Admiral Hering and State Director Pool both pledged their agencies’ commitment to protecting these unique national resources. Stating he hoped this agreement would be “the first of many” cooperative efforts between BLM and the Navy, Admiral Hering said he believes the Navy can “protect and preserve [coastal] habitat, and still accomplish our mission.” State Director Pool agreed, noting that this agreement represents the first coastal stewardship partner for the CCNM in Southern California. He stated that the Navy, with its many resources and assets along the Southern California coast, is particularly well-suited to be a steward of this part of the CCNM. “We welcome you aboard and we look forward to many cooperative ventures,” Pool said. The signing ceremony was attended by about 20 BLM and Navy personnel, including Captain Mark Patton, Commanding Officer of Naval Base Point Loma, who opened the meeting. Also in attendance were Rick Hanks, CCNM Manager, who presented the MOU copies for signing, and Jan Bedrosian, BLM California State Deputy State Director for External Affairs; John Kalish, BLM Palm Springs/South Coast Field Office Manager; Steve Razo, BLM California Desert District Deputy District Manager for Outreach; Greg Thomsen, BLM California District Project Manager and CCNM Southern California Coordinator; Commander Caren McCurdy, USN-JAG Corps Officer who helped develop the final MOU and shepherd it through final Navy approval; and Alex Stone, an environmental coordinator for Navy Pacific Fleet and the Navy’s CCNM contact during the development of the MOU.
HR 3804 Introduced in Congress to Add Orange County Rocks to CCNM. As the result of a grassroots effort lead by the Laguna Ocean Foundation, Congressman John Campbell introduced a bill to the U.S. Congress that would clean up existing legislation from the 1930s that inadvertently keeps the rocks and small islands off of the shoreline of the Orange County from being included in the CCNM. Introduced in the House of Representatives on October 10, 2007, as H. R. 3804, the bill stated purpose is to “eliminate an unused lighthouse reservation, provide management consistency by bringing the rocks and small islands along the coast of Orange County, California, [into the CCNM,] and meet the original Congressional intent of preserving Orange County’s rocks and small islands, and for [park, scenic or] other purposes.” The bill would amend the Act of February 18, 1931, entitled ‘‘An act to reserve for public use rocks, pinnacles, reefs, and small islands along the seacoast of Orange County, California’’ that temporarily reserved “all rocks, pinnacles, reefs, and islands having an area, at ordinary [mean] high tide of less than two acres, and located in the Pacific Ocean within one mile of the coast of Orange County, California,…pending enactment of appropriate legislation by the Congress of the United States, in the interest of preserving the same for park, scenic, or other public purposes.” In addition, the bill would repeal Section 31 of the Act of May 28, 1935, entitled ‘‘An act to authorize the Secretary of Commerce to dispose of certain lighthouse reservations, and for other purposes’’ that reserved “for lighthouse purposes the San Juan [off Dana Point] and San Mateo [off San Clemente] Rocks and the [T]wo [R]ocks in the vicinity of Laguna Beach, off the coast of Orange County, California.” Since these two Acts “reserve” the Orange County offshore rocks, they are currently not included within the CCNM that consists of all the “unreserved and unappropriated” rocks and islands off the California coastline. The passage of H.R. 3804 would open the way for the development of a CCNM Gateway initiative for the Orange County coast, an initiative that various individuals and organizations within the Laguna Beach area have been interested in for a number of years.
California Ocean Protection Council to Assist with the California Coast Geotourism Initiative. The California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) has tentatively agreed to serve as a key partner in California Coastal Geotourism Initiative that the CCNM is developing with the National Geographic Society’s Center for Sustainable Destinations (See CCNM Updates 12/30/06, p. 1 & 4/30/07, pp. 1 & 2) and help fund this collaborative effort. Rick Hanks, CCNM Manager, says that “The California Coast Geotourism Initiative fits neatly with the California Ocean Protection Council’s stated vision, goals and objectives, especially as it relates to promoting public awareness [i.e., “Promote ocean and coastal awareness and stewardship”], encouraging sustainable economic activities, and developing practical approaches to implementing ecosystem-based management.” OPC was created in 2004 when Governor Schwarzenegger signed the California Ocean Protection Act in into law. The act directed OPC to work with government agencies to better manage California’s ocean resources. As a follow-up to the act, OPC developed a five-year strategic plan that identifies the goals, objectives, and strategies OPC will implement to protect California’s ocean and coastal resources. In some cases, OPC will take a lead role in managing an ocean or coastal issue of statewide importance; in others, it will provide or identify funding for specific initiatives; in still others, it will recommend needed changes to state or federal laws or regulations. Working through Drew Bohan, OPC Executive Policy Officer, various OPC members have been briefed on the initiative. Once a formal funding agreement is in place, the California Coast Geotourism Initiative will be underway. In addition to the BLM, the two other CCNM Core-Managing Partners--California State Parks and California Department of Fish and Game—will be active participants in this initiative (See CCNM Update, 8/31/07, p. 8), as will the California Travel and Tourism Commission and NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuaries Program West Coast Region.
BLM & State Parks Meet to Discuss CCNM’s Southern California Activities. On November 7, 2007, BLM and State Parks managers and staff met at Crystal Cove State Beach to discuss CCNM activities in Southern California and to strategize on collaborative short and long term possibilities related to the CCNM. This was the inaugural meeting in Southern California and provided a thought-provoking forum which resulted in a tangible list of ideas and proposals. BLM was impressed by State Parks’ outreach capability and their willingness to use it as a media for the CCNM. State Parks was represented by Tony Perez, South Division Chief; Kris Lannin Liang, Deputy Director Public Affairs; Ronilee Clark, San Diego Coast District Superintendent; Bill Mennell, San Diego Coast Services Manager; Rich Rozzelle, Orange Coast District Superintendent; Ken Kramer, Crystal Cove State Park Superintendent; and Suzanne Goode, Angeles District Senior Environmental Scientist. BLMers included Rick Hanks, CCNM Manager; Steve Borchard, California Desert District (CDD) Manager; John Kalish, Palm Springs/South Coast (PSSC) Field Manager; Tracy Albrecht, PSSC National Monuments Interpretive Specialist; Stephen Razo, CDD Deputy District Manager for Outreach; and Greg Thomsen, CCNM Southern California Coordinator.
CCNM “Walk & Talk” Conducted at Trinidad. Planned as a training session for the Trinidad Museum docents who will be providing initial public contact related to the CCNM Gateway at Trinidad, the CCNM Manager’s “walk and talk” was expanded to include representatives of all of the CCNM Trinidad Gateway organizations and other interested entities and individuals. Saturday, November 3, 2007, turned out to be a perfect fall day in Trinidad. At 10:30 a.m., at least a couple dozen museum docents and interested individuals from as far away as Crescent City gathered at the Trinidad Town Hall and went on a loop walk with CCNM Manager Rick Hanks. Intended to provide a first-hand view and discussion of the CCNM and its resource values, the walk included a brief overview at Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse, a discussion at Old Home Beach and observation of the geology and wildlife, and a hike up part of the Parker Creek Trail. BLM’s Arcata Field Manager Lynda Roush and wildlife biologist Arlene Kosic assisted with the hike. After lunch, more than 35 people assembled in the Trinidad Town Hall for an hour-long power point presentation by Rick Hanks on the basic framework and implementation priorities for managing the CCNM and about an hour of questions and answers. The museum docents are now prepared to represent the CCNM as the Trinidad Museum serves as the CCNM visitor contact station associated with the CCNM Trinidad Gateway initiative.
CCNM Participates in Pigeon Point Light Station’s Interpretive Center Grand Opening. On a foggy day, indicative of why a lighthouse was built at Pigeon Point, California State Parks held a day-long celebration for the grand opening of the new interpretative displays for the Fog Signal Building, which will serve as the new interpretative center for the Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park. CCNM was present at the Saturday, November 17, 2007, event with the CCNM Point Arena Gateway kiosk and a mock-up of the new CCNM outdoor interpretive panel. The completed CCNM panel will be placed on the observation railing overlooking Prisoner’s Rock in Whaler’s Cove on the southeast side of the light station. CCNM Manager Rick Hanks, Hollister Field Manager Rick Cooper, and Fort Ord Public Lands Park Ranger-Interpretative Specialist Tammy Jakl represented BLM and the California Coastal National Monument during the open house part of the day and at the late afternoon grand opening ceremony. Dozens of people stopped by the Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park during the foggy day, while about a hundred people were present for the late afternoon opening ceremony and ribbon cutting. More than 500 people showed up for the annual lighting of the lighthouse’s Fresnel lens.
CCNM Indoor Kiosk in Place at Trinidad & Point Arena. The first CCNM Gateway indoor kiosks have been placed in the Trinidad Museum and the Point Arena Lighthouse Museum. These are the three-sided kiosks each with a general CCNM panel, a CCNM Gateway map panel, and a panel designed for the specific CCNM Gateway. The kiosks also have a small banner panel with the name of the specific CCNM Gateway above each of the three panels. The CCNM Gateway kiosks for Palos Verdes Peninsula and Pigeon Point gateways have been prepared. The Piedras Blancas-San Simeon kiosk was in the National Geographic Hearst Castle Theater lobby for a short time but was pulled out to redesign a more stable base.
Redding Rock, Seabirds & Oil Spill Restoration Project Proposals Being Discussed. The BLM Arcata Field Office is working with the Trustees Council for the Stuyvestant and Kure Oil Spill Restoration Plans on two project proposals. The first project involves re-establishing historical Common Murre breeding populations on Redding Rock. Part of the CCNM, Redding Rock is located offshore about five miles west northwest of Mussel Point, which is situated about two miles north of the Redwood National and State Parks’ Visitor Center near Orick in Humboldt County, California. Although it is one of the most highly colonial of all seabirds, the number of Common Murre breeding pairs on Redding Rock has decreased drastically from over 1,500 in the late 1980s, to less than 100 in 2004. The BLM and Trustees are currently discussing the feasibility of the project. The second project is targeted towards protecting roosting/resting brown pelicans and cormorants from human activities along the coast, including offshore rocks, shores, jetties, etc. The proposed project will investigate the behavior of human related activities (e.g., beach users and their pets, boaters, and aircraft) that cause disturbance to roosting/resting pelicans and cormorants and attempt to develop, implement, and evaluate the best methods to modify disruptive human behaviors. Both projects are in the early stages of development and are not currently approved for funding.
Water Bird Survey of the Laguna Beach Coast Underway. The Laguna Ocean Foundation (LOF), in conjunction with the CCNM and the PRBO Conservation Science, has initiated a water bird survey of the Laguna Beach coast and near-shore environment. This project is the result of extensive discussions among all three participating organizations to develop a process that will be instrumental toward conserving shorebird habitats along the Laguna coast and within the CCNM (See CCNM Update, 4/30/07, p.5). Data derived from field observations over a one-year period will have relevance to on-going resource management programs. The habitats inventory, along with the inventory of offshore rocks and the inventory of shorebirds, will be used to develop management strategies to enhance resource conservation programs. The coordinators of this project are Ed Almanza (LOF), Nils Warnock (PRBO), and Greg Thomsen (CCNM).
Preliminary Report for Gualala Fireworks Monitoring Released. The preliminary report for the seabird and harbor seal monitoring associated with the Gualala fireworks event was released and made available on-line on October 18, 2007. The 100 page report documents initial findings and documents the various protocols applied. Titled Seabird and Marine Mammal Monitoring on Offshore Rock Islands in Sonoma County and Mendocino Counties, California, 2007, Preliminary Report: Findings and Protocol Documentation, the report can be found on the CCNM website at: http://www.ca.blm.gov/pa/coastal_monument/ (It’s located at the bottom of the CCNM website’s home page). The final report should be available by the end of January 2008.
CCNM Related Meetings, Conference Calls & Events. In addition to the various meetings, activities, and actions discussed above, the CCNM Manager, other CCNM staff, and BLM California coastal field offices (FOs) staff also participated in a variety of meetings, events, and conference calls, including the following: