A leaked document shared by the Wall Street Journal confirms that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is seeking to reduce the size of six national monuments, including the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument that straddles the Oregon-California border.
Secretary Zinke’s recommendations were made in response to President Trump’s April 2017 Executive Order, instructing Zinke to “review” 27 national monuments, about half of the national monuments that have been designated since 1994. These public lands were designated as national monuments under the 1906 Antiquities Act, which gives presidents the authority to designate federal public lands as national monuments to protect important natural and cultural features and values.
The Trump Administration put seven California national monuments under review: Berryessa-Snow Mountain, Carrizo Plain, Giant Sequoia, Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow, San Gabriel Mountains, and Cascade-Siskiyou. While conservationists are cautiously optimistic that the leaked document means that all but Cascade-Siskiyou are spared in California, nothing is certain with the Trump administration. The other national monuments threatened according to the leaked document from the Wall Street Journal include:
• Bears Ear National Monument in Utah
• Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada
• Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah
• Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine
• Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument in the Atlantic Ocean
• Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in New Mexico
• Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean west of Hawaii
• Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument in New Mexico
• Rose Atoll Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean
In California, regions where different mountain ranges come together tend to have a great diversity of plant and wildlife species. These places also serve as critical wildlife migration paths. One such ecological hot spot is just east of Interstate 5 in extreme Northern California and Southern Oregon where the Siskiyou Mountains, Cascade Range and Modoc Plateau come together. In 2000, President Bill Clinton established the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument (CSNM) to protect some of the public lands in this unique region. As a result, the CSNM became the first monument set aside in the US solely for the preservation of biological diversity. In 2016, President Obama doubled the size of the CSNM, including several thousand acres in California just north of the Klamath River.
Conservationists will continue to fight to protect the CSNM and the other threatened terrestrial and marine monuments from the Trump administration and its allies in Congress.