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PLANNING UPDATE

July 8, 2004

   

Approval to Print Received for Draft RMP/Draft EIS.Following a conference call/PowerPoint briefing between BLM California State Office and BLM Washington Office (WO) representatives on Friday, June 25, 2004, WO gave BLM California approval to finalize the Draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the California Coastal National Monument (CCNM). Jim Abbott, California BLM Associate State Director, and Rick Hanks, CCNM Manager, lead the briefing of BLM’s Chief Deputy Director Jim Hughes and representatives from WO’s planning staff and the National Landscape Conservation System office. With the approval, the Draft RMP/Draft EIS will be available for release to begin the 90-day public review period sometime in August of 2004. Both a BLM and a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notice will be published in the Federal Register when the document is available for review.

PLO 6369 Withdrawal & CaliforniaIslandsWildlife Sanctuary Revoked. In order to eliminate duplication and avoid confusion, Public Land Order (PLO) Number 6369 was revoked by PLO Number 7601, signed by U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary Rebecca Watson on April 21, 2004, and published in the Federal Register on May 7, 2004.  In 1983, PLO 6369 provided a 50-year withdrawal from land and mineral entry on all of the unreserved islands, rocks, pinnacles, and reefs off of the coast of California (except two rocks in the Crescent City harbor) and established the California Islands Wildlife Sanctuary. The Presidential Proclamation issued on January 11, 2000, established the California Coastal National Monument to protect “all unappropriated or unreserved…islands, rocks, exposed reefs, and pinnacles” off of the California shoreline and withdrew in perpetuity the CCNM from “all forms of [land and mineral] entry.” PLO 7601 cleans the federal records, thus eliminating any confusion that may have been caused by having two similar actions in affect.

CCNM is Seeking Funding for a Site Characterization Study & Survey. With the assistance of Aaron King, a marine scientist with NOAA’s National Marine Protected Areas Center, the CCNM is currently seeking funding from a variety of sources for a CCNM Site Characterization Study and Survey. The CCNM Site Characterization and Survey is a conceived program between BLM’s California Coastal National Monument (CCNM), NOAA’s National Marine Protected Areas Center, NOAA’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS), and the Friends of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. The objective of this project is to (1) collect and synthesize all existing information, (2) draft site descriptions for the CCNM, and (3) conduct a site survey of the monument resources by an inter-disciplinary team of academic scientists. The final product and report will be a digital resource that is similar to that found for the highly successful and popular “MBNMS Site Characterization.”

This is a holistic approach to consolidating the inventory data (i.e., physical, biological, and cultural dimensions) for the CCNM. To accomplish this task, the partnership described above will gather existing information on environment, communities, habitats, and cultural resources of the CCNM.  Existing information is to be synthesized together into a document that provides a comprehensive description of the CCNM. Additionally, a team of biologists, geologist, and other related specialists will conduct a survey of a representative sample of the rocks and islands in the CCNM all along the coast of California. Finally, this document will be coded in HTML so that it can be easily uploaded to a WWW Server for dissemination.

The CCNM Site Characterization will serve to identify gaps in the knowledge about the CCNM, which will help to target future research and monitoring efforts. The partners in this project will encourage that the CCNM Site Characterization be looked at as a "living" document. In other words, this document will be continuously modified and improved over time. Grant proposal have been or will be sent to a variety of select granting entities, including the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, National Geographic Society, and both non-profit foundations and corporations, as well as potential governmental partners. 

CCNM Gains 7-Acre Islandwith BLM Acquisition of Stornetta Ranch Property. The BLM, through the recent acquisition and permanent protection of 1,711 acres on the Stornetta Brothers Ranch near Point Arena in Mendocino County, has added a seven-acre island to the CCNM.  The newly acquired island, known as “Sea Lion Rock,” is important for seabird and marine mammals.  The island was included in the 1,132 acres that was purchased by The Nature Conservancy in partnership with the California State Coastal Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the California Wildlife Conservation Board, and then donated to the BLM. As a result, it is now federal property under BLM management. An additional 579 acres were placed under an agricultural conservation easement to the BLM to prevent development. The BLM’s Ukiah Field Office will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day management of the entire 1,711 acres, while the Stornetta family will continue farming and ranching operations on the conservation easement lands, as well as grazing livestock on the federal lands under a BLM grazing lease.

The Stornetta property is situated at the mouth of the Garcia River and adjoins the historic Point Arena Light Station property managed by the Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers, Inc. The acquired property includes the estuary of the Garcia River, coastal wetlands, two and a half miles of coastline, and Sea Lion Rock. Manchester State Beach is at the north end of the property and Mendocino College’s marine science training facility is at the south end. This provides a great opportunity for developing a partnership consortium for this portion of the CCNM.

Photocopy of J.P. Harrington’s California Rocks & Islands Manuscript Now Available at CCNM Office. The CCNM office in Monterey has finally received a complete photo copy of the microfilm version of John P. Harrington’s 1947 manuscript titled “Ocean Projecting Rocks and Islands of the Coast of California” (See CCNM Update, March 20, 2004). The manuscript is part of “The Papers of John Peabody Harrington in the Smithsonian Institution, 1907-1957,” on file in the National Anthropological Archives in Washington, D.C. The manuscript itself is a typed 147-page preliminary draft of a paper Harrington was preparing for publication. Accompanying the manuscript are about 400 pages of Harrington’s hand-written field notes, much of which are a single sentence on a sheet of paper or notes on his various informants’ words for specific places or things not necessarily related to coastal rocks and islands.

BLM Participates in West Coast’s Largest Oil Spill Response Exercise.  As a direct result of BLM’s involvement with the CCNM, BLM was invited and accepted the invitation to participate in the “SONS ‘04” (Spill of National Significance 2004) exercise, the largest oil spill response exercise ever held on the West Coast. Rick Hanks, CCNM Manager, and John Keys, California Desert District Hazmat Specialist, represented BLM on-site, with Rick participating at the Long Beach Harbor Incident Command (IC) Center and John participating at the San Diego IC Center. Held during the week of April 19th, the exercise involved over 600 participants and numerous agencies and organizations. As part of this hands-on exercise, Hanks served as the Federal On-Scene Coordinator’s Cultural Properties Specialist. This was the first SONS exercise on the west coast to have the cultural resources role as part of the IC staff.  As a result of BLM’s involvement in the SONS ‘04 exercise, BLM has now taken on the role as the initial Federal cultural resources contact in California for any future spill or hazardous materials release where cultural resource specialists may be needed.

BLM Working with USCG to Authorize Aids-To-Navigation on NorthCoastRocks. Upon checking with the CCNM Manager during the planning process for the replacement of the aid-to-navigation on Redding Rock, a rock located within the CCNM and situated about 4½ miles off of the coast of Humboldt County, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) discovered that they did not have a current withdrawal for Redding Rock. The Redding Rock aid-to-navigation or “ATN” (pronounced “A-Taun” by the USCG) was originally withdrawn by Executive Order in 1917 for lighthouse purposes. This 1917 withdrawal was, however, revoked by Public Land Order in 1958 and since that time no new authorization has been issued. This provided an appropriate opportunity to begin discussions between BLM and the USCG regarding the issuance of a right-of-way with stipulations that would restrict activities on the rock to minimize further impact to the rock’s declining seabird colony of Common Murres. As a result, the BLM’s Arcata Field Office staff has been working with the USCG on possible options as well as assessing the environmental impacts and initiating the various compliance processes that need to be completed before a right-of-way can be issued. This process has resulted in the USCG considering the option of abandoning the ATN on the rock and using a buoy light instead. In addition, the USCG has identified another ATN situated on a CCNM rock and without a current authorization. Located at the mouth of the Albion River in Mendocino County (and within BLM Ukiah Field Office’s portion of the CCNM), this ATN also needs replacement. 

CDFG & State Parks Directorate Briefed on the CCNM Planning Effort. On May 26, 2004, BLM provided a briefing on the status of the CCNM Resource Management Planning effort to representatives of the directors of the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), BLM’s two core-managing partners for the CCNM. Representing DFG was Sonke Mastrup, Deputy Director for Wildlife and Inland Fisheries, and representing DPR was Rick Rayburn, Natural Resource Division Chief, accompanied by Dave Schaub, Natural Heritage Section Manager and DPR’s CCNM coordinator.  Representing the BLM were Jim Abbott, California Associate State Director; Tony Danna, Deputy State Director for Natural Resources; Rick Hanks, CCNM Manager; Paul Brink, National Landscape Conservation System coordinator; Jack Mills, planning and environmental policy coordinator; and Jan Bedrosian, congressional liaison. Also participating in the briefing was Mike Rushton of Jones & Stokes, the environmental consulting firm contracted to help BLM prepare the RMP/EIS for the CCNM.

 “PLP” Provides the Focus for the CCNM & the RMP. In order to accomplish the vision, mission, and goals that have been developed for the CCNM, attention will be paid to three equally important aspects of the CCNM- -Preservation, Landscape, and Partnerships.  Dubbed “PLP” by the CCNM Manager, these three aspects are key to understanding how BLM will be approaching the long-term management of the CCNM.  These three aspects provide the focus to help guide the development of the RMP and the long-term management approach for the CCNM.

Preservation, Landscape and Partnerships diagram

Preservation is the primary management focus for the CCNM. This focus applies directly to the more than 20,000 rocks and small islands (i.e., the portion above mean high tide) that make up the CCNM and the BLM’s management responsibility. Four major elements constitute this management focus. The four major elements are protection, research, education, and planning.

Landscape is the ecosystem focus of the CCNM. It is the more than 14,600 square nautical miles within which the CCNM is located (i.e., from the mean high tide line out 12 nautical miles along the entire 1,100 miles of the California coastline). As stated in the Presidential Proclamation that established the monument, the CCNM contains “irreplaceable scientific values vital to protecting the fragile ecosystems of the California coastline.” 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. This landscape also links the CCNM with its current and future partners, as well as with the public. In addition, it is this landscape that provides the opportunity for using the CCNM as a focal point for the “sea-land connection” that can help link the coastal initiatives with the marine initiatives.

Partnerships provide the collaboration focus for the CCNM. As mentioned above, the CCNM is located adjacent to or embedded within many jurisdictions, including lands and waters reserved, owned, or administered by the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Coast Guard, National Parks Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, DPR, DFG, and California State Lands Commission; private landholdings; 15 coastal counties; and numerous local municipalities. With this myriad of adjacent and overlapping responsibilities, BLM intends to continue with existing partnerships and develop new partnerships in order to effectively administer the CCNM. Three basic partnership categories have been established for the CCNM- -core managing partners, collaborative partners, and stewards.

 Length, Numbers, & Acreage Figures Used for the CCNM. While preparing the Draft RMP/Draft EIS for the CCNM, questions have been raised regarding what appears to be inconsistencies related to the figures used for the length of the California coast, the number of rocks and islands, and the total acreage of the CCNM.  The following are the three most common concerns:

    1. Length of the California coast: 840 miles vs. 1,100 miles 
    2. Number of rocks, islands, etc. in the CCNM: 11,500 vs. 20,000 
    3. Number of total acres of rocks, islands, etc: 880 acres vs. 900 acres vs. 1,000 acres 

Determining the appropriate figures to use for these categories has been and continues to be a dynamic process. Deciding on which figures to use at any given point in time can depend on a number of factors, some of which we may not control.  Nevertheless, for the CCNM, we are currently using the following figures:

1.   Length of the California coast: "1,100 miles" [Explanation: The 840 miles is as the seabird flies, i.e., a straight line from the Oregon border to the border with Mexico; The 1,100 mile figure is what is commonly used by the California Coastal Commission and is the rough mileage when one follow the coastline along the mainland as it curves along shore between borders. If someone wanted to get really technical, one would actually calculate the mileage along the mainland coast, including all the nooks and crannies (i.e., coves, points, headlands, etc.), plus the mileage around all of the California offshore rocks and islands, and one would come up with a "length" two or three times as long as the 1,100 mile figure.  In order, however, to maintain consistency with our fellow agencies, we are going with the most commonly using the 1,100 mile figure.]

2.   Number of rocks, exposed reefs, and pinnacles in the CCNM: "More than 20,000"  [Explanation: The 11,500 rocks figure was calculated more than four years ago using GIS data bases from the California State Land Commission and the USDI Minerals Management Service.  With these data bases, the smallest rock size that could counted was four square meters.  From this assessment, BLM came up with a figure of more than 12,700 rocks and islands off the coast of California.  Of these, more than 11,500 rocks and small islands (The actual count was 11,503) were thought to be part of the CCNM.  When the CCNM Manager had the opportunity to field check the CCNM rocks, he found two things: (1) Some of the rocks included in this inventory where not within the CCNM (i.e., a number were under the jurisdiction of other agencies, such as the National Park Service) and (2) that even as a conservative estimate, there were at least twice as may rocks that were smaller than four square meters than those that were larger.  Therefore, until we are able to complete a more accurate assessment of the number of rocks and small islands within the CCNM, "more than 20,000" is a good round, working number and will be the figure used throughout the CCNM's RMP process.]

3.   Total acres of rocks and small islands in the CCNM:  "a little over a 1,000 acres"  [Explanation: The 880 acres figure was used in the Presidential Proclamation.  Since it was calculated from the 11,503 figure for the number of rocks, and that was not the accurate nor the full number, the 880 number was rounded up slightly to "about 900 acres."  Once we looked at the probable number of total rocks, the CCNM Manager (and a few GIS folks) made the assumption that the total acreage for the rocks that were less than four square meters must at least be more than 100 additional acres.  It is, therefore, much easier, as well as being more correct, to reference the total acres as "a little over 1,000 acres" than using a smaller number.]

Contact Information. Any questions, comments, or requests for additional information?  Contact Rick Hanks, CCNM Manager, 299 Foam Street, Monterey, CA 93940, telephone 831-372-6105, or e-mail at hhanks@ca.blm.gov or cacnm@ca.blm.gov. 


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