U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
|California Coastal National Monument|
CALIFORNIA COASTAL NATIONAL MONUMENT
April 18, 2011
CCNM Hosts California Seabird Monitoring & Coordination Meeting. The California Coastal National Monument (CCNM) hosted this year’s California Seabird and Coordination Meeting at Moss Landing, California, on February 24, 2011. Held at the California State University’s Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) at the end of Monterey Bay, the meeting involved more than 40 seabird biologists, researchers, and conservation managers from more than two dozen government agencies, universities, and non-profit organizations throughout the state. The annual meeting covered updates on the various seabird restoration projects associated with specific trustee councils, results of seabird colony and at-sea monitoring, and reports on a variety of seabird management and planning efforts. This annual get-together is intended to be an information share meeting to provide the group with information on who is doing what associated with seabirds along the California coast. CCNM Manager Rick Hanks chaired the meeting and BLM Hollister Field Office archaeologist Erik Zaborsky assisted with the meeting set-up, sign-in, and information distribution. BLM’s Eric Morgan, Fort Ord Project Manager and Project Manager for the Seabird Protection Network Point Reyes to Point Mugu Chapter, presented an update on the status of the Seabird Protection Network project associated with the Torch/Platform Irene oil spill restoration effort. The CCNM was assisted with the meeting planning and logistics by Laird Hinkel, seabird biologist for the California Department of Fish and Game’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR); Hanna Nevins, MLML Research Associate and “multi-tasked” seabird biologist; and Josh Adams, U.S. Geological Survey seabird ecologist (and a MLML Associate).
CCNM Assisting Audubon California with Coast-Wide Black Oystercatcher Survey. The California Coastal National Monument is working with Audubon California on their effort to conduct the first California coast-wide Black Oystercatcher survey in more than 20 years. As Audubon California has stated, the Black Oystercatcher is a “true California treasure.” The Black Oystercatcher is one of the most distinctive birds in all of North America. Unfortunately, it is one that is increasingly at risk. In June 2011, Audubon California will host the 2011 survey of Black Oystercatchers in order to form their conservation efforts around this fascinating species. The 2011 Black Oystercatcher survey is scheduled for June 2-5 and June 9-12. The survey is designed as a first step to answer some fundamental questions about the species and its distribution in California: How many are here during the breeding season? What are the key habitat sites? Do these sites need additional protections?
The Black Oystercatcher is a large black bird with a distinctive red bill. It can live 40 years or longer. It ranges from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska to Baja California. With a global population of 10,000-12,000 individuals, it is considered rare. Little is known of the status and trends of Black Oystercatcher in California. With the last statewide survey being more than 20 years ago, the estimated statewide population of 1,000 to 1,200 individuals may be inaccurate. The California population is thought to be entirely resident (non-migratory), in contrast with birds in Washington and Oregon. Found along the entire California coast, the Black Oystercatcher is completely dependent on marine shorelines, favoring sheltered areas of high tidal variation that support limpets and mussels, their preferred food (Ironically, it does not eat oysters). Their numbers are highest from Alaska to British Columbia, where there is relatively plentiful preferred habitat and lower levels of disturbance than in the southern portion of the range.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) selected the Black Oystercatcher as a focal species for conservation action due to its small population size, restricted range, threats to preferred habitat, lack of baseline data to assess conservation status, and a variety of ongoing and human and natural factors that may limit long-term viability. In 2007, the USFWS and other agencies developed a working group and range-wide conservation action plan, which is the unified resource and blueprint for tracking and conserving the species.
The CCNM is helping Audubon California and the USFWS (a CCNM Collaborative Partner) fill-in some of the gaps by coordinating with BLM staff, the Seabird Protection Network, and a number of other CCNM partners to carry-out the brief survey in select portions of the coast. This includes The Sea Ranch Association CCNM Stewardship Task Force, Redwood Region Audubon Society, Mendocino Coast Audubon, Redwood National and State Parks, Seabird Protection Network Point Reyes to Point Mugu Chapter, PRBO Conservation Science, U.S. Navy, and Laguna Ocean Foundation.
As CCNM Manager Rick Hanks stated, “The Black Oystercatcher is in many ways emblematic of the California Coastal National Monument.” He explains, “It’s a distinctive bird found along the entire California coast, it feeds in the upper rocky intertidal, it nests on the monument, and it needs some fundamental questions answered about it.”
CCNM Booth, Buttons & Bookmarks a Boon to Thousands Attending “A Whale of a Day” Festival. It was a picture perfect day in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes as the sun shone brightly on the festivities of the 27th annual "Whale of a Day." Co-sponsored by the City of Rancho Palos Verdes (a CCNM Collaborative Partner) and the docents of Los Serenos de Point Vicente, “Whale of a Day” is an annual festival celebrating 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 was held on Saturday, March 5, 2011, at the city’s Point Vicente Interpretive Center. Although no whales were spotted that day, the enthusiasm was no less rampant as thousands of visitors descended upon the outdoor booths and imaginative activities offered by several dozen exhibitors. The city estimated that more than 4,000 visitors attended the day-long festival.
At the California Coastal National Monument booth, a steady stream of visitors waited patiently to make either a CCNM environmental button or decorate a bookmark with a variety of sea life-related rubber stamps. On the front side of the exhibit, kids commandeered plastic crabs, starfish and other creatures on top of a tide pool tablecloth while studying them under magnifying lenses. Two different CCNM brochures were distributed and information regarding the CCNM and BLM was discussed with a large number of visitors.
CCNM representatives at the exhibit were Barbara Croonquist, Elizabeth Traub and Stacy Allen from the BLM’s California Desert District Office, and Chuck Robbins from the BLM Palm Springs/South Coast Field Office and his daughter, Page Robbins, a BLM volunteer. All BLM employees representing the California Coastal National Monument unanimously reported that they had a “whale of a good time” interacting with the public. “From the smiles on the visitors’ faces, we know they had a great time too!,” added Barbara Croonquist, BLM California Desert District Public Contact Representative and organizer of the BLM booth and activities.
Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History Now a CCNM Collaborative Partner. The BLM and the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History signed a CCNM collaborative partnership memorandum of understanding to assist the CCNM with building public awareness of California’s coastal and ocean resources, as well as promoting the responsible public use of these resources. As a collaborating partner, the museum will participate in developing the CCNM Monterey Peninsula Gateway where the public can learn more about the CCNM, a unique component of the BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System, and about the natural and cultural resource values of the Monterey Peninsula. Lori Mannel, Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History Executive Director, explained that, “The Museum is a living field guide of the California Central Coast. Working with the Bureau of Land Management furthers this vision by educating the public on what is special and unique along our coastline and how to support this natural resource for future generations.” CCNM Manager Rick Hanks added, “The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History gives us a great partner and a great venue to work with the community on outreach and environmental education activities.” The museum will serve as the CCNM Monterey Peninsula Gateway’s visitor contact station and provides the base from around which the gateway can grow. The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History (www.pgmuseum.org) was established in 1879 and works to preserve and make available to the community treasures from the region’s past.
Fort Bragg “Stop & View the Rocks” Painting & Photography Exhibits Featuring California Coastal National Monument. The 8th annual Heritage Days of Mendocino County will feature a new perspective of natural heritage through an exhibit held simultaneously in two locations and organized by the Mendocino Study Club, a CCNM Collaborative Partner. The exhibit’s initial location features 13 paintings by 13 local artists, working in a variety of expressive mediums, but in all of the interpretations, the focal point is the California Coastal National Monument. The art exhibit at the Fort Bragg branch of the Savings Bank of Mendocino is installed now and will run concurrent with Heritage Days, April 29 – May 29, 2011. The painting exhibit is sponsored by the Mendocino Study Club (See a few select photos of the exhibit in BLM California News.bytes at www.blm.gov/ca/news/newsbytes, Issue 476, 4/14/11).
The second location for “Stop and View the Rocks” opens May 9, 2011, with a photography installation in the south lobby of the Mendocino Coast District Hospital in Fort Bragg. The oldest image is an 1868 photograph taken by Carleton Watkins of rocks at the mouth of Fort Bragg’s Noyo Harbor. Although the CCNM stretches the length of the California coast, many of the most memorable vistas are along the in Mendocino coast and are captured in the photo exhibit. This includes photographs of Westport rocks and seastacks and rocks off Jughandle State Reserve. Among the other photographers are Bruce Lewis and Bill Brazill, who was shooting with an antique camera. The Watkins photograph is on loan from the Guest House Museum of Fort Bragg, an institution known for its collection related to Fort Bragg and the region’s forest products industry. The photography exhibit is sponsored by the Fort Bragg Native Daughters.
The Mendocino Study Club, founded 1908, has been very active in their dedication to familiarize the world with the California Coastal National Monument’s beauty. Last November they hosted a “Stop and View the Rocks” Contest, encouraging locals to identify their favorite location along the Mendocino coast to view the CCNM and held a celebration in honor of the CCNM’s 10th anniversary. This was a special event that developed entirely out of grassroots interest, without expectation of BLM assistance. CCNM Manager Rick Hanks did attend and further honored their energies by facilitating the signing of the CCNM Collaborative Partner memorandum of understanding with the Mendocino Study Club.
CCNM Does Malibu at 15th Annual Whale Festival. BLM California Desert District employees and volunteers represented the California Coastal National Monument at their first appearance at the Earth Day Whale Festival held on Sunday, April 17, 2011, at Leo Carrillo State Park along the Malibu coast in the southwestern tip of Los Angeles County. The sun was elusive all day but that didn’t stop the visitors from enjoying the 15th annual festival sponsored by the Santa Monica Mountains Natural History Association.
Wearing hats made from colored tape and necklaces made from farm-raised abalone, kids flocked to BLM’s CCNM exhibit to try their hand at making Let’s Get Rockin’ bookmarks and CCNM environmental buttons. There were plenty of artists in the crowd, both young and old! More than 100 kids earned stickers for their whale passports by identifying the creatures on the CCNM table tidepool, while BLM employees Chuck Robbins from the Palm Springs/South Coast Field Office and Barbara Croonquist from the California Desert District Office (CDD) engaged parents in discussions about the monument. One little girl was especially thrilled to receive a CCNM pencil and poster as a special gift for her fifth birthday. Judging from the smiles on everyone’s faces, the booth was a hit and the BLM plans to be back next year. Special thanks to student interns Elizabeth Traub and Stacy Allen from the CDD and volunteer Page Robbins for a fun, educational day.
The annual Earth Day Whale Festival at Leo Carrillo State Park includes whale-watching stations, marine conservation information booths, children’s activities, food booths, marine artists and live performers. The Whale Festival educates the public about marine wildlife and conservation, particularly focusing on the California Gray Whale. It was estimated that close to 2,000 people attended this year’s festival.
CCNM Trinidad Gateway Completed Final Touches on Strategic Plan. After two additional CCNM Gateway Committee meetings primarily focused on completing the strategic planning effort for the CCNM Trinidad Gateway, the strategic plan is basically complete according to BLM Arcata Assistant Field Manager Kathy Stangl. “Our top priority was to identify goals for the strategic planning effort that was graciously funded by the Conservation Lands Foundation,” Stangl explained. “At the committee’s March 18th meeting, we completed the remaining two goals needed to finish the strategic planning effort.” She also reported that the committee was finally able to begin implementing the action items associated with the plans goals and is moving ahead with these actions.
The CCNM Trinidad Gateway Project Strategic Plan provides the mission and vision statement for the CCNM Trinidad Gateway project, identifies four goal areas, and outlines action steps for each goal. The CCNM Trinidad Gateway mission statement is: To protect and preserve the diversity of life on the Trinidad coastline and offshore rocks (CCNM) through example, education, and community cooperation. The vision statement is in four parts as follows:
Similar to the four parts for vision statement, the four goal areas are Interpretive, Ecological/Restoration, Recreation, and Organizational. Each of the goal areas has at least one specific strategy category to address the goal. The three strategy categories for the Interpretive Goals are interpretive/educational signage plan, community outreach/lectures/forums, and website. The Ecological/Restoration Goals are biological inventory and habitat restoration and improvement. The Recreation Goal strategy category is existing beaches/lands access improvement and the Organizational Goal strategy category is organizational development (e.g., organization structure, strengthening the organizations identity and self-direction, partnership cohesiveness and communication, and engagement in land and coastal management policies).
As reported in an earlier CCNM Update (08/20/10, p. 5), the Conservation Lands Foundation provided an $8,500 grant to the CCNM Trinidad Gateway for the development of a comprehensive strategic plan. The Conservation Lands Foundation is a nonprofit group dedicated to supporting local grassroots organizations that work to protect and promote the National Landscape Conservation System.
Monterey Bay Region Sustainable Tourism Group Focusing on National Heritage Area Proposal. After more than a year and a half of going through the arduous process of generating a mission, vision, and goals statement, the Monterey Bay Region Sustainable Tourism Group has elected to generate a National Heritage Area (NHA) proposal for congressional consideration as the first of its regional initiatives to enhance natural and cultural heritage preservation opportunities through tourism. As an entity supported through National Park Service programming, a NHA is defined as a place designated by Congress “where natural, cultural, historic and scenic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally distinctive landscape arising from patterns of human activity shaped by geography.” A tentative goal for completing the proposal document is January 2012.
In January 2011, the Monterey Bay Region Sustainable Tourism Group determined that focusing on a National Heritage Area was a good first objective. This was because the processes that the NHA nomination package requires would lead to the compilation and ordering of significant information, the generation of a public information process, and greater public involvement in further organization efforts. Essentially, the process provides a foundation for a sustainable tourism infrastructure and the momentum for the mindful generation of it.
At this juncture the CCNM, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and California State Parks have taken a back seat in the process, offering resources and support to the grassroots initiative. This initiative is being led by Mayor Pro Tem of Pacific Grove Bill Kampe and Mike Dawson, President of the Monterey Alliance of Preservation Associations.
The NHA region presently includes Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito Counties, but boundaries will be further clarified through the outreach process. To date, the interpretive themes for the nomination have been drafted, over 300 features that support the themes have been identified in the region, and preliminary outreach is underway with preservation organizations, tourism entities, city councils, and others. Several websites have been generated to manage the data processing and outreach. Conversations with contacts at several universities are occurring in order to engage youthful perspective and talents in the effort.
As background, the Monterey Bay Region Sustainable Tourism Group was organized in the fall 2009 in response to a survey of businesses, NGOs, and local governments by NOAA’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (a CCNM Collaborative Partner) in 2006. The survey indicated a strong interest in sustainable tourism for the region. As a first step to developing the relationships with potential gateway partners, CCNM took the lead role in facilitating the discussion which led to the group electing to pursue a NHA as one of its first major actions (See CCNM Update, January 15, 2010, pp. 5 & 6).
The mission of the Monterey Bay Region Sustainable Tourism Group, as affirmed in January 2011, is: To create shared governance for representatives of Monterey Bay communities, agencies, and other interested organizations to collaborate in the promotion, preservation and conservation of our natural and cultural heritage.
The group’s vision states that the Monterey Bay Region Sustainable Tourism Group:
Bill Introduced in Congress Again to Add Orange County Rocks to CCNM. As the result of a grassroots effort lead by the Laguna Ocean Foundation, Congressman John Campbell (R-CA-48) once again 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 Orange County from being included in the California Coastal National Monument. Introduced in the House of Representatives on March 8, 2011, as H. R. 944, the bill’s 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. 944 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.
This is the third time that Congressman Campbell, California Republican from Orange County, introduced this legislation. He first introduced it in October 2008 (H.R. 3804, 110th Congress) and again in January 2010 (H.R. 86, 111th Congress). H.R. 86 was passed by the House and referred to the Senate, but other congressional priorities prevented it to from making it out of the Senate before the 111th Congress ended. The current bill, H.R. 944, has been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources, but to date no action has been taken on it.
CCNM Lost Coast Gateway Group Working on Brochure. As part of the effort to establish the CCNM Lost Coast Gateway, a working group has been focusing on the development of a brochure for the Lost Coast region. The area of the CCNM Lost Coast Gateway initiative extends south from the BLM’s Lost Coast Headlands near Centerville Beach in Humboldt County to the Cape Viscaino Property, owned by Save the Redwood League (a CCNM Steward), just north of Hardy Creek in northern Mendocino County. The brochure will cover the portion of this area from the Mattole River and south to Punta Gorda, Shelter Cove, and Needle Rock to Bear Harbor. Rachel Sowards Thompson, BLM’s interpretive specialist for the King Range National Conservation Area (KRNCA), and KRNCA Manager Gary Pritchard-Peterson are helping to facilitate this effort and incorporate the management of the Lost Coast portion of the California Coastal National Monument in with the daily management of the KRNCA. Meetings with the CCNM Lost Coast Gateway group where held on January 20 and March 31, 2011, to work with local artist Gary Bloomfield on the brochure (Gary’s artwork can be seen in the brochure for the CCNM Trinidad Gateway and on various CCNM interpretive panels in both the Shelter Cove and Trinidad areas). The group currently consists of representatives from the BLM, Lost Coast Interpretive Association, Shelter Cove Pioneers, Cape Mendocino Lighthouse Preservation Society, Shelter Cove Resort Improvement District, Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria, Inter-Tribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council, and Redwood Community Action Agency. The CCNM Lost Coast Gateway group is anticipating that a final draft of the Lost Coast brochure will be available for review at their next meeting scheduled for May 3, 2011.
New BLM Volunteer to Assist Ukiah Field Office with Coastal Community Gateway & Partnership Coordination. The former Director of Programs for Grand Staircase Escalante Partners has recently moved from Utah to California and has signed-up as a BLM volunteer to assist the Ukiah Field Office with coastal community gateway and partnership coordination and outreach efforts. Cindy brings with her six years of experience building and maintaining partnerships, educational and interpretive outreach, grant writing, and developing scientific research programs. According to Rich Burns, BLM Ukiah Field Office Manager, "It’s great to have someone of Cindy's caliber assisting us. She knows all the ways of keeping Gateways viable and our local communities engaged with the good things we at BLM are doing."
Grand Staircase Escalante Partners is the 501(c)(3) friends group of the BLM’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the largest unit within the BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System. The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument encompasses 1.9 million acres of southern Utah canyons, cliffs and plateaus and covers more area than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined.
CCNM Related Meetings, Conference Calls & Events. In addition to the various meetings, activities, and actions discussed above, the CCNM Manager, other CCNM staff, and the managers and staff of the BLM California State Office and coastal field offices (FOs) also participated in a variety of meetings, conference calls, events and activities, including the following:
Any questions, comments, or requests for additional information? Contact Rick Hanks, CCNM Manager, at 299 Foam Street, Monterey, CA 93940, or telephone (831) 372-6105 or 372-6115, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
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