A Big Day for Walker Ridge Advocates

by Nick Jensen

Walker Ridge holds a prominent position in the lore of CNPS. This rugged landscape of serpentine outcrops, wildflower-rich meadows, and oak and McNab cypress woodlands is a hotspot of rare plant diversity, almost beyond compare. It also has been the location of a series of hotly contested proposals to develop commercial wind energy that are inconsistent with the conservation of these irreplaceable habitats.

Wildflowers including yellow yarrow (Eriophyllum lanatum) and popcorn flower (Cryptantha) Photo: Jim Rose

Today, we are thrilled to share that Congressman John Garamendi has introduced the Berryessa Snow Mountain Expansion Act, House Resolution 6366, a bill that sets the stage for the conservation and long-term management of Walker Ridge. HR 6366 would add nearly 4,000 acres of land in Lake County to Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. This alone would be a tremendous victory, but the details of the bill are far more exciting and groundbreaking.

Congressman Garamendi’s bill, through working closely with the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, proposes to implement co-management that collaborates with and incorporates the knowledge of tribal communities. It requires federal land management agencies to complete a National Monument Plan while engaging in meaningful consultation with federally recognized tribes. It also opens the door for agencies to enter into voluntary agreements with tribes for the day-to-day management of the monument. This pioneering legislation is a first of its kind for California. The bill also renames Walker Ridge to Molok Luyuk, which is Patwin for “Condor Ridge.”

The last thing we should note is that the permanent protection for Molok Luyuk would be a significant contribution toward California’s 30×30 initiative, helping the state protect 30 percent of its lands and water by 2030.

Blue oak woodlands (Quercus douglasii) Photo: Neal Uno

We are overwhelmingly grateful for Congressman Garamendi’s leadership in introducing HR 6366. We are also grateful for his vision in working toward the durable conservation of Molok Luyuk, and the entire national monument, in a way that incorporates the knowledge and wisdom of Indigenous communities. Here at CNPS, we look forward to working toward the passage of this bill along with the members of our coalition, the local community, and our tribal partners. In the meantime, please join us in thanking Congressman Garamendi for his work and asking our respective representatives to support HR 6366.

California condor flying in Monterey County, a species we hope to see thriving in Lake and Colusa Counties one day. Photo: Oliver Patrick, iNaturalist oliverpatrick (CC BY-NC)

I find it very fitting that the new name Molok Luyuk honors our California condor, which once sailed over this rugged landscape, and hopefully will do so again someday soon. May we all get to marvel at the diversity of rare plants and habitats of Condor Ridge, with its eponymous feathered friends soaring overhead.

Read the full coalition news release here.

Take a virtual tour of Molok Luyuk.

 

 


Nick Jensen, CNPS Southern California Conservation Analyst
Nick Jensen, CNPS Conservation Director

 

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