Bill would expand Coastal Monument lands

Proposed federal legislation introduced Wednesday would permanently protect over 6,200 acres of coastal land, including 5,780 acres in Santa Cruz County.

The California Coastal National Monument Expansion Act, introduced today by U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, would include new areas in the California Coastal National Monument established by President Bill Clinton in 2000, according to Boxer’s office.

The addition of the proposed areas would nearly quadruple the current land area of the monument.

The largest section of new preserved land would be the 5,780-acre Cotoni-Coast Dairies area in Santa Cruz County, a large area of prairies, redwood forests and canyons that activists have long sought protected status for.

The new protections would also include 461 acres in Humboldt County, 20 acres in San Luis Obispo County and an offshore section off Orange County.

Feinstein said in a statement:

“The California coast is a national treasure and is highly worth preserving for future generations.”

The proposed expansion only includes land already owned by the federal government. Areas in the monument are permanently protected from development, according to Boxer’s office.

The monument currently includes rocky islets, reefs and outcroppings along California’s 1,100 miles of coast.