President Barack Obama has expanded the California Coastal National Monument to include the Cotoni-Coast Dairies in Santa Cruz County, officials said Thursday.
Obama also added sites in San Luis Obispo, Humboldt and Orange counties to the monument.
Under the Antiquities Act of 1906, the president can designate public lands as national monuments to protect their natural, cultural or scientific features.
The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band of Santa Cruz County is one of the groups that advocated for the expansion to preserve culturally significant places in the area, including four registered ancestral Native American archaeological sites.
Chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band Val Lopez said in a statement:
“By designating the Cotoni-Coast Dairies as part of the National Monument, we can be sure that the many cultural, spiritual and natural resources of this area will be protected in perpetuity.”
“We look forward to returning to and protecting these lands as our ancestors did for thousands of years, and to working with the public to teach them the importance of land stewardship.”
Cotati-Coast Dairies addition consists of 5,800 acres of federally owned land, encompassing many watersheds, wildlife habitat, scenic beauty and cultural resources.
U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo said in a statement:
“This is the stuff of a dream come true. After years of hard work by so many, this majestic property will be protected in perpetuity…I salute our region’s environmental leaders and conservationists, the dedicated work of thousands of local citizens, local elected officials, conservation advocates and tribal leaders who have worked so hard to secure this designation.”