Preservationists have done what they can to protect natural resources at the Cotoni Coast Dairies, should it become a National Monument- but, who didn’t support that work, and why?
Early in 2016, a broad coalition of experts and I drafted a proposal to add natural resource protection to any Presidential declaration of the Cotoni Coast Dairies National Monument. Expert wildlife biologists, amphibian and bird experts, plant community ecologists, and others co-created a list of sensitive species and rare ecosystems that would receive more protection under a Presidential Monument declaration, should that list be included. Sensitive natural resources at other presidentially declared Monuments in California have enjoyed such protections, so there is no reason such protections shouldn’t be in place at Cotoni Coast Dairies.
Questions: Who is writing the Presidential Proclamation that will give the Cotoni Coast Dairies National Monument status? Do they know about this proposal?
Answers: The staff at the Council on Environmental Quality, an office that advises the President. As of Fall 2016, they have our proposal, and we are hoping they will include it, in its entirety.
Supporting the Proposal…
The proposal enjoyed the public support of the following organizations:
- Trust for Public Land
- Audubon Society
- Sierra Club
- California Native Plant Society
- Valley Women’s Club of San Lorenzo Valley
- SAVE THE FROGS
- Santa Cruz County Fish and Wildlife Commission
- Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County
- Land Trust of Santa Cruz County
The Trust for Public Land, which owned the Coast Dairies property before handing it to BLM, wrote an especially important support letter. Their letter emphasized the importance of including our proposal because it documented species and ecosystems that had been discovered since TPL wrote the legally-binding land management plan that would otherwise serve to protect the property under BLM ownership.
Not Supporting the Proposal…
Despite repeated requests, the following organizations refused to publicly support our sound, science-based proposal to increase protections of natural resources at the Cotoni Coast Dairies:
- Peninsula Open Space Trust
- Save the Redwoods League
- Coastal Watershed Council
- Conservation Lands Foundation
- The Nature Conservancy
It is ironic that all of these organizations publicly supported the proposal to make the Cotoni Coast Dairies a National Monument. And, these are all expert conservation organizations. And so, these organizations must have been aware that BLM provides less protection to the natural resources listed in our proposal without those species being included in the Presidential Monument declaration.
The various written rationales for not supporting the proposal included (paraphrased):
- ‘it would take too much time for our organization to analyze the issue’ (two organizations)
- ‘our policies have changed since we signed on to support the proposed Monument, now we don’t do those types of things’(one organization)
- ‘some influential people (elected officials/Monument advocates) wouldn’t like us as much if we supported the proposal- so, it’s not worth it’ (two organizations)
What Can You Do?
If you agree that future generations deserve to enjoy healthy wildlife and clean coastal streams….
And, if you agree in science-based, policy-smart solutions to make that happen…
- When choosing to join or support in any way an environmental organization: choose from the list of those organizations that supported our proposal.
- Even without such support, please let the organizations listed above know what you think. Click on the organization names above- I included links to their websites.