Obama designates Calif. coastline as national monument

President Obama on Tuesday designated more than 1,600 acres of the California coastline as a national monument.

The designation of the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands nature preserve is the latest in a series of executive actions designed to advance the president's environmental policies.

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It will require federal authorities to develop management plan over the next three years to protect the region's dunes, bluffs, coastal prairies and tide pools. The area is home to a threatened species of badger, two types of salmon, and a variety of water fowl, and the move is seen as a conservation effort on their behalf.

Obama has used his executive powers aggressively to protect federal lands, establishing nine other national monuments across the country during his time in office.

That's a significant uptick from former President George W. Bush, who established only four sites during his presidency: a New York slave burial ground, Pacific sites associated with World War II, a marine sanctuary that includes the Midway Atoll, and the Marianas Trench.

Bu tObama's efforts are expected to accelerate this year, with the return of counselor John Podesta — former chief of staff to President Clinton — to the White House. 

After Republicans took control of Congress in 1994, Clinton used his executive authorities to implement environmental protections for federal lands, including seven sites during his last month in office.

Clinton's efforts included the move in 2000 to establish the California Coastal National Monument, which the Point Arena-Stornetta area will join.

During his time at the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, Podesta also argued vocally for Obama to use his executive powers to achieve environmental goals.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell heralded the area as a “deserving addition” to the monument.

“President Obama is supporting the community's vision to conserve this landscape and, in doing so, strengthening the local economy through increased tourism and outdoor recreation," Jewell said.

 

This post was updated at 3:41 p.m.