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Public Statements

Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mrs. BOXER. Mr. President, I am pleased to introduce the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area Act. Congressman Mike Thompson recently introduced companion legislation to this bill in the House of Representatives, and I thank him for all of the work he has done on advancing this initiative.

This important legislation designates 319,000 acres of public lands in Lake, Mendocino, Napa, and Yolo Counties as the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area, or NCA. The area is a haven for hiking, camping, rafting, and horseback riding, and is home to a diverse array of wildlife including black bears and bald eagles.

My bill does not add any new lands to the Federal Government--the lands included in this NCA are already managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Forest Service. A National Conservation Area designation will require these three agencies to develop a multi-agency management plan in consultation with stakeholders and the public, improving coordination on wildlife preservation, habitat restoration, and recreational opportunities. Creation of the NCA will also help the agencies take a more coordinated approach to preventing and fighting wildfires, combating invasive species and water pollution, and stopping the spread of illegal marijuana growth.

By unifying these individual places under one banner, my bill helps put the Berryessa Snow Mountain region on the map as a destination for new visitors. This region is one of the most biologically diverse, yet least known regions of California. By raising its profile, an NCA designation will boost tourism and increase business opportunities in the region's gateway communities. The Outdoor Industry Association has estimated that outdoor recreation supports 408,000 jobs and contributes $46 billion annually to California's economy, underscoring the immense potential of sites such as the proposed Berryessa Snow Mountain NCA to drive local economic growth. Additionally, the region will become recognized by more people as uniform signage and publications are created to reach more diverse audiences, allowing them to learn more about this beautiful area.

Finally, this designation enables more people to share in the management of these wonderful resources through the creation of a public advisory committee. Local citizens, outdoor enthusiasts, business owners, and other stakeholders will be granted an official avenue to provide input on how to best care for these beautiful rivers, ridges, forests, canyons, and creeks, along with their diverse plant and wildlife species.

Creation of this proposed National Conservation Area has strong support from a large coalition of local governments, elected officials, business owners, landowners, farmers, private individuals, and many conservation and recreation groups. This bill is the culmination of a grassroots effort of concerned citizens taking the initiative to care for the beautiful areas in their communities, and I am proud to support their work and commitment. I particularly applaud Tuleyome, a local nonprofit active in protecting wilderness and agriculture in the western Sacramento Valley and Inner Coast Range, for their leadership on this effort.

I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this important legislation. The Berryessa Snow Mountain region deserves national status and recognition, and I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this effort.

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