Our Treasure, Our Future – Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument

National Monuments Review Sample Comment Scripts for the Savvy Citizen.

 Protect Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument

ACTION ALERT: public comment period open for Interior Department’s National Monuments Review–Submit Comments for Bears Ears before May 26, 2017; all others before July 10, 2017. Click here to submit:  Review of Certain National Monuments Established Since 1996

The following is a sample comment submission. Please do not cut and paste!  Edit the script to make it your own and add personal commentary.  These scripts are designed to inform and are for inspiration and ideas! For ideas on how to write a strong submission, click here: “Suggested Outline or “Hot Topic” Review List for Comments.” 

Background

“On July 10, 2015, President Obama signed a proclamation declaring the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument in Northern California. The 330,780-acre monument extends from nearly sea level on Bureau of Land Management lands around Lake Berryessa in the south, up to 7,000 feet through the northern Snow Mountain Wilderness and the eastern boundary of the Yuki Wilderness in the Mendocino National Forest.”  From US Forest Service website on Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument (https://www.fs.fed.us/visit/berryessa-snow-mountain-national-monument ).

The monument includes diverse ecosystem types, rare plants on serpentine soils, significant wildlife, archaeological and historical artifacts, scenic vistas, and significant recreational opportunities.

 Protect Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument – Sample Script for Wednesday, May 24, 2017:

I am writing to support the continued designation of Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument.

  • A report found that this designation will be of economic benefit to nearby towns (including Clear Lake, William, and Winters) as the area is a draw for outdoor recreation (1).
  • The monument includes significant environmental resources, including (3)–

o   a high diversity of ecosystem types, among them unusual serpentine soil habitats;

o   mammals such as the tule elk, mountain lion, river otter, and black bear;

o   both golden and bald eagles (California’s 2nd largest winter population of bald eagles);

o   nearly half of California’s known dragonfly species, 80 butterfly species, and 8 globally rare insect species (4);

o   “The watershed is an important corridor for neo-tropical migratory birds and is five miles east of the Audubon-designated ‘Clear Lake Important Bird Area,’ a major destination for northwestern California birds.” (4)

o   “Sixteen reptiles and amphibians are known from the area including the BLM special-status northwestern pond turtle and foothill yellow-legged frog.” (4)

o   “The significant environmental resources of the Walker Ridge lands include intact habitat for a high diversity of vascular plants, numerous serpentine-associated plant species, special status plant species, potentially undescribed plant species, unusual plant associations, wetlands, and low degree of invasive, non-native species.” (4)

o   Among the area’s vascular plant species are 16 listed among California State Rare, State Endangered, California Rare Plant Rank (CRPR) 1B1 , and CRPR 42 taxa. (4)

  • The monument connects three adjacent wilderness areas, thus providing an enhanced wildlife corridor for these and other species (4).
  • The monument has cultural and archaeological significance for local Native American tribes, who have inhabited the area for at least 11,000 years (2).  It includes multiple archaeological sites from this heritage, as well as later pioneer-era artifacts (5).
  • Federal designation as a monument fosters coordination between the BLM and the USFS, to manage and improve recreational use, and mitigate multiple threats to the monument’s resources.  Threats include (1):

o   Pollution from abandoned mercury and nickel mines.

o   Impacts from increasing recreational use from nearby urban areas.

o   Damage—including animal poaching—done by marijuana growers in the area.

o   Northward migration of invasive and non-native plant species, due to climate change.

o   Greater fire risk, due to rising temperatures in the area.

  • The monument was supported by a wide range of local interests, including hunters, sport fishing groups, off-road vehicle users, and environmental and conservation groups (2).

I am a botanist, biology teacher, and long-standing member of the Washington Native Plant Society.  A sister organization, the California Native Plant Society, prepared a detailed report in 2011 on the biological, environmental services, educational, recreational, and scenic resources of this area (4).   The report makes clear: This area meets all the requirements of the Antiquities Act for a unique national resource in need of protection, to the benefit of both local communities and American citizens in general.

Contributor: Melinda Mueller, Seattle WA

SOURCES:

(1)    http://www.davisenterprise.com/sports/sports-columns/berryessa-snow-mountain-could-become-national-conservation-model/

(2)    http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-0710-berryessa-monument-20150710-story.html

(3)    http://wilderness.org/article/berryessa-snow-mountain-campaign

(4)    http://www.cnps.org/cnps/conservation/pdf/walker_ridge_petition-2011.pdf

https://www.fs.fed.us/visit/berryessa-snow-mountain-national-monument

Photo: Photo of Berryessa Snow National Monument; 2015. U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Public Domain

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