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January 12th, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following a decades-long effort to preserve one of California’s crown jewels, Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) today hailed President Obama’s designation of the Cotoni-Coast Dairies lands in Santa Cruz County as a National Monument. Congresswoman Eshoo introduced legislation in 2015 to designate the 5,800-acre Cotoni-Coast Dairies property as a National Monument and called on the President to use his authority under the Antiquities Act to designate the land.
The President’s designation will permanently protect the Cotoni-Coast Dairies lands which are located eight miles north of the City of Santa Cruz on the scenic Pacific Coast Highway. The property stretches from Highway 1 up into the Santa Cruz Mountains and is home to picturesque coastal terraces; 500 acres of redwood forest; six watersheds; and four known Native American archeological sites, with many others likely undiscovered. The name Cotoni-Coast Dairies honors the indigenous people who historically inhabited the land as well as its more recent history as a dairy.
“This is the ‘stuff’ of a dream come true. After years of hard work by so many, this majestic property will be protected in perpetuity,” Eshoo said. “I salute our region’s environmental leaders and conservationists, the dedicated work of thousands of local citizens, local elected officials, conservation advocates, and tribal leaders who have worked so hard to secure this designation. And I thank President Obama for his extraordinary leadership of environmental conservation. Today’s proclamation ensures that this jewel will forever remain a part of California’s coastal crown, allowing future generations to learn from its history and enjoy its beauty.”
Congresswoman Eshoo introduced legislation (H.R. 908) on February 12, 2015, to designate the Coast Dairies lands as a National Monument. She later joined with her House and Senate colleagues in a statewide effort (H.R. 3565) to expand the existing California Coastal National Monument to include several new parcels along the coast. Senators Boxer (D-CA) and Feinstein (D-CA), and Representatives Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Lois Capps (D-CA) worked together on the legislation which enjoyed the strong support of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation and the Department of Interior. When Republicans blocked the legislation, Eshoo called on the President to use his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to designate the land. In addition to Cotoni-Coast Dairies, the President’s proclamation will add properties in Humboldt, San Luis Obispo, and Orange Counties to the existing California Coastal National Monument.
After the dairy that operated on the Cotoni-Coast Dairies land folded in the 1950s, private development of luxury homes and a nuclear power plant were proposed. After decades of such pressures, the Coast Dairies Ranch was acquired in 1998 by the Save the Redwoods League with funding from several local organizations and foundations, including the David and Lucille Packard Foundation. On April 14, 2014, the property was officially donated to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) but it remains closed to the public. The National Monument designation ensures that this land is permanently protected, allows for enhanced conservation attention to the land, and ensures future safe public access to this national treasure.
The California Coastal National Monument was originally established by President Clinton in 2000, to protect the picturesque offshore rocks and pinnacles along the 1,100-mile California Coast. President Obama’s proclamation prevents commercial logging and mining on the newly protected lands and requires BLM to develop a management plan in consultation with the local community that will allow safe public access to the property.
National monuments can be designated by Congress under Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution, or by Presidential Proclamation under the Antiquities Act of 1906. Since 1906, presidents and Congress have created more than 100 national monuments. On April 20, 2012, President Obama designated the nearly 15,000 acre Fort Ord National Monument in Monterey County to preserve in perpetuity the recreational, scientific, and historical qualities of the former military training ground.
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