The California Coastal National Monument was created in January 2000 to provide long-term protection and stability to a vital area. Once it’s created what do you do with it? Well- the Monument is a catalyst.
It has a proclamation to live up to! The California Coastal National Monument protects all of the unappropriated and unreserved federal lands in the form of islands rocks and exposed reefs. Why? There are two things that the Monument was formed to do: protect geological formations and the unique habitat they provide for plants and animals. The rocks are important parts of California’s fragile ecosystems. The rocks are part of the larger environment, marine and terrestrial. It links us to larger ecosystems, where the 20,000 offshore rocks are a part of.
There is the idea of the ABC’s of all ecosystems. There is the Abiotic, Biotic, and Cultural aspects that goes into ecosystem management. The Monument protects the abiotic and biotic aspects of all those 20,000 offshore rocks above mean high tide. The culture aspect is worked into the Monument by having partnerships. Partnerships are important because they reach the stakeholders within each community. The California Coastal National Monument works with federal agencies such as California Fish and Wildlife and also California State Parks. With about 30% of the California coast being state parks, they too have become core management partners. There are also 40-45 collaborative partners such as the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, California Coast Guard, and other non-profits.
Partners are stakeholders within each community that are connected to all of California through the California Coastal National Monument. They get together to see how they can use the Monument as a catalyst to protect the coast. They can use existing visitor’s centers as an educational area to expose the public to conservation issues. So what does it mean for the individual? Millions of people drive up and down the California coastline, and don’t even know that it is part of a National Monument. It is the least known but most viewed Monument. But by creating the Monument, the Federal Government is protecting the coast and the best part (in my opinion) is that it is managed by the community. It serves as a catalyst to get people more aware of how important it is to look not just to the land or sea but the rocks that exist in between.
We recently took a trip up to Mendocino Coast and saw different environments of the coastline that are important to many avian species. We saw Pigeon Guillemots, Brant’s and Pelagic Cormorants, and Rhinoceros Auklet. There were many colonies of Common Murrs and Black Oystercatchers with chicks. Peregrine Falcons, Ospreys, and Stellar Sea Lions were cool sightings. Thanks to the California Coastal National Monument and all of its partners for protecting this amazing wildlife!