Conservation Update: Protecting Molok Luyuk

The latest on the effort to expand Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument

By Álvaro Casanova

Condor Ridge Sunset. Image: Bob Wick
Condor Ridge Sunset. Image: Bob Wick

CNPS and coalition partners continue our work to expand Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. The expansion would permanently protect an area known as Molok Luyuk, which is rich in cultural significance and biodiversity.

For those who are new to this campaign, Molok Luyuk means “Condor Ridge” in Patwin and is the name given to the ridge by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.  The expansion of the national monument to include Molok Luyuk would encompass public land in two counties, Lake and Colusa County. The coalition has been working hard to generate local support for the proposal, and we are seeing progress. On June 20, the Colusa County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 approving a letter of opposition to the inclusion of the Colusa County portion of Molok Luyuk. While this is not the outcome we wanted and may seem like a loss, it is a good result! Having two board members vote in opposition to the letter is a positive sign of growing support for the proposal in Colusa County. Leading up to the vote, coalition partners, including CNPS, visited Colusa County and were able to successfully get support letters from local businesses who understand and see the benefit to Colusa County for expanding the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument.

Following the Colusa County Board of Supervisors decision, the Lake County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 August 15 to pass a resolution introduced by Supervisor Crandell (District 3) in support of the inclusion of Molok Luyuk. CNPS, Tuleyome, and CalWild were at the hearing and provided public comments in support. The decision represents a big win and a huge step forward for the campaign.

The coalition will continue its outreach efforts to gain public support for the national monument expansion. Be on the lookout for future updates on next steps, including a public meeting hosted by one of our congressional champions to hear from constituents about the national monument expansion.

We remain hopeful and encouraged. A growing movement across California is asking the Biden administration to support national monument efforts like the Berryessa expansion as an important way for California to reach its goal to protect 30% of its lands and water by 2030 (30×30).  As Wade Crowfoot, the Secretary of California Natural Resources Agency, stated recently in an Politico article, President Biden has a “once-in-a-decade” opportunity in his first term to permanently protect nearly a million acres land, increase access to recreational outdoor space, and secure tribal co-management for California tribes.

Want to get involved? We are looking for individual support letters. If you would like to submit one you can email to get a sample support letter you can use to draft your own letter.

Álvaro Casanova is a Conservation Program Specialist for CNPS, where he is focused on public lands protection across the state.


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