Carrizo Plain National Monument threatened

April 26, 2017

The watercolor palate of native wildflower colors, the purple, the orange, the yellow, the blue, was stunning this year. Photo courtesy of the California Chaparral Institute.


President Donald Trump on Wednesday ordered a review of two dozen national monuments that could end protections against mining, logging and oil drilling. Trumps executive order could put the Carrizo Plain National Monument in San Luis Obispo County up for reconsideration.

Under the 1906 Antiquities Act, either Congress or the president can protect federal lands by designating them as a national monument. In 2001, President Bill Clinton declared the Carrizo Plain a national monument.

“The Antiquities Act does not give the federal government unlimited power to lock up millions of acres of land and water, and it’s time that we ended this abusive practice,” Trump declared.

Trump’s order instructs Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review all national monuments that make up 100,000 acres or more, and were created by presidential proclamation since 1996. The Carrizo Plain spans 204,107 acres.

The Carrizo Plain’s version of Half Dome with Parry’s mallow (Eremalche parryi) in the foreground. Photo courtesy of the California Chaparral Institute.

Environmental groups have announced plans to battle to protect the Carrizo Plain National Monument.

“Today’s Executive Order is an attack on public lands and an affront to millions of Americans who live, work, and play in these spectacular landscapes,” said Jeff Kuyper, executive director of Los Padres ForestWatch, a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to protecting the Carrizo Plain National Monument and the adjacent Los Padres National Forest. “We stand ready to defend the Carrizo Plain National Monument from any misguided efforts that would make these lands more vulnerable to development.”

The Carrizo Plain National Monument is a vast expanse of golden grasslands and stark ridges which recently attracted thousands of visitors to a “super bloom” of wildflowers. Often referred to as “California’s Serengeti,” the Carrizo Plain is one of the last undeveloped remnants of the southern San Joaquin Valley ecosystem.

“Our national monuments are part of what makes America great,” Kuyper said. “With the support of the community behind us, we’re ready to do whatever it takes to preserve this unique landscape for current and future generations to enjoy.”

Everywhere, awash in color! The pink swash on the right is filled with the drying seed cases of shiny pepper grass (Lepidium nitidum). Photo courtesy of the California Chaparral Institute.

The White House released a list of the 24 national monuments up for reconsideration on Wednesday. They are:

·         Carrizo Plain National Monument in California, proclaimed by Clinton in 2001 (204,107 acres).

·         Giant Sequoia National Monument in California, proclaimed by Clinton in 2000 (327,769 acres).

·         Sand to Snow National Monument in California, proclaimed by Obama in 2016 (154,000 acres).

·         Berryessa Snow Mountain in California, proclaimed by Obama in 2015 (330,780 acres).

·          Mojave Trails National Monument in California, proclaimed by Obama in 2016 (1.6 million acres).

·         World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument in California, Hawaii and Alaska, proclaimed by Bush in 2008 (4 million acres).

·         Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, proclaimed by President Clinton in 1996. (1.7 million acres).

·         Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument in Arizona, proclaimed by Clinton in 2000 (1 million acres).

·         Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona, proclaimed by Clinton in 2000 (279,568 acres).

·         Hanford Reach National Monument in Washington, proclaimed by Clinton in 2000 (194,450 acres).

·         Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in Colorado, proclaimed by Clinton in 2000 (175,160 acres).

·         Ironwood Forest National Monument in Arizona, proclaimed by Clinton in 2000 (128,917 acres).

·         Sonoran Desert National Monument in Arizona, proclaimed by Clinton in 2001 (486,149 acres).

·         Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana, proclaimed by Clinton in 2001 (377,346 acres).

·         Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean, proclaimed by President George W. Bush in 2006 and expanded by President Barack Obama in 2016, (89.6 million acres).

·         Marianas Trench Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean, proclaimed by Bush in 2009 (60.9 million acres).

·         Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean, proclaimed by Bush in 2009 and enlarged by Obama in 2014. (55.6 million acres).

·         Rose Atoll Marine National Monument in American Samoa, proclaimed by Bush in 2009 (8.6 million acres).

·         Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico, proclaimed by Obama in 2013. (242,555 acres).

·         Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in New Mexico, proclaimed by Obama in 2014 (496,330 acres).

·          Basin and Range National Monument in Nevada, proclaimed by Obama in 2015 (703,585 acres).

·         Northeast Canyons & Seamounts Marine National Monument in the Atlantic Ocean, proclaimed by Obama in 2016 (3.1 million acres).

·         Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, proclaimed by Obama in 2016 (1.4 million acres).

·         Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada, proclaimed by Obama in 2016 (296,937 acres).


This is most excellent of ideas . 6-8 million acres of land freed up for people to move in and around , but keeping the main area of the monuments off limits. More growth in rural areas more jobs in rural areas LESS SMOG IN CITIES AS NEW AREAS TO LIVE ARE OPENED UP . Less regulation instead of people living in areas where driving is half their lifetime in a vehicle . About 90 % of the time i can tell a city driver from a rural driver, the city drivers like to stay in packs all bunched up , when the whole highway is wide open, they still stay all packed together . I being a rural driver like some space on the highway , such as in case of animal or a wreck etc . So i can see the city folks gettin all wound up over opening up more land for people to live and work , they enjoy the packed in a sardine can effect of city life


Sometimes benefits exceed costs when public lands are taken and sold to private parties. But what we’ve seen time and again (especially in the Midwest over the past 20 + years) is that usually the number of permanent jobs created/economic base is small, and environmental protections are skirted and the costs of doing business (pollution, etc.) is pushed onto the public. Fat cats and politicians make a killing off of selling the public’s land, while usually the public sees little to no benefit.


JimF… Interesting comment! Could you please direct me to where you got this information and back up facts. Thank you!


Go to google and enter transfer of public lands (you don’t even need to add corruption, externalities, etc. into the search bar) and you will return literally dozens (perhaps hundreds) of pages that will elaborate on some of the problems that have been encountered when the federal or state govts have transferred public lands to private individuals and corporations.

Here are some of the returns from the first page:

The land transfer movement’s great public lands hoax —

This land was your land —

How the rich get their hands on public lands —

State efforts to reclaim public lands traced to Koch-fueled ALEC —

The great public land heist has begun —

I’m sure there are some instances where it has been in the public’s interest to turn over their public lands to private parties (though I didn’t come across any examples in the brief search I just did). Still, there have been enough problems that we need to take it with a grain of salt when politicians, fat cats, and the media try to sell us some line about how it will better for us to give up our rights to corporations and let them further push their costs of doing business on everyone else.


Some numbers for you. California is a whopping 163,696 square miles. Carrizo is about 385 square miles, which is 1/425 of California. Considering the vast amounts of currently undeveloped and non-federally protected land in CA, why is redesignating Carrizo even a priority?

I’ll also point out that there is little to no rainfall or groundwater reserves and it is criss-crossed by significant fault lines. On its own merits it is a terrible place to build anything.


You might add the economic benefits to us locals from the monument. The tens of thousands of visitors to Carrizo each winter and spring spend money on food and lodging, among other things, and are worth a lot more than homesteaders who can’t make a living there. Every regional Chamber of commerce should jump on protecting the Carrizo.


He wants to relinquish federal land back to CA. This was the focus of the Bundy protest against BLM.

Is California (or SLO county) just going to let people build houses there? Start a landfill? Or drill for oil? Just because the FEDERAL govt removed its protection and ownership? No, I don’t think so


A lot of local jurisdictions are in the pocket (or will be in the pocket) of special interests. Remove the protections and those who have been bought off are free to change the rules as they please. Sound implausible? –we’re having trouble in this county just rooting the corruption out of a sanitation district.


Yes, but I am sure California politicians, that we elect, will do the right thing as they are so honest and upstanding and would never deceive that populace! This was a smart move, let the people in their State oversee their open space today!


OMG! OOOMMMMGGG! As soon as Trump puts pen to paper these “monuments” will vanish into thin air! Don’t people realize that unless the federal government dictates all the rules, every single thing that is good in America will disappear in a puff of greedy businessmen?

Let’s review history:

From the birth of the planet until 2001 Carrizo Plains did not exist. It couldn’t be found on a map and no one could live there or go there, because it was just one great big strip mining operation.

Then, President Clinton put pen to paper and POOF! BANG! SNAPPITY SNAP SNAP!!!! all of a sudden Soda Lake, the Overlook, the ancient Native American paintings on the rocks, the condors, AND THE FLOWERS appeared and immediately the strip mining disappeared! Yay! Federal control makes everything better!

Now, with a signature, Trump will make all of that disappear and the strip mining, toxic waste dump and Soda Lake will all be gone. Shoot, Soda Lake is disappearing every day, in anticipation of this executive order.

People, if we want anything beautiful in our world, it must be dictated and controlled by our efficient, wise and loving federal government. Am I right or what?

My only question is regarding the Native American artifacts: After the executive order causes all of it to disappear, will we still be able to remember them? No one remembers the strip mining operation…’s almost as if it never existed. I don’t want that to happen to the flowers and the paintings!

Down with private property! Down with state parks! Down with country land use ordinances! We demand federal control and oversight of EVERYTHING! We’re a free people and we demand our government controls everything we think, say, see, eat, taste and feel.

Only then will we have flowers….

Note: some sarcasm was used in this post in order to point out certain things imbeciles think.


It is my understanding that they wish to revert Federal Control on National Monuments back to State control, which seems like a good thing (whether you are a tree hugger or an oil driller). Is that not the case?


Hmm… Where did you hear this? What state agency would assume management?


Hey alarmist, this may benefit us locals. Just think after the feds review Carrizo Plains Nat. Monument they decide to open up more of the Plains for solar farms. I for one would love to reduce my energy cost. I hear the expansion of Cannabis farms in California Valley are doing quite well, cash crops generating new jobs, increased tax base. This type of super bloom can not only be eye candy but will generate economic growth. We can only hope the President opens up the Plains for such fine industries. Move over Parry’s mallow.


So can some one tell me what can be done to stop him from doing this?


…come up with the money for a bigger bribe than what’s being given by other special interests. This is america, right or left it’s all the same. But if you’re worried turn on the mainstream media and they’ll sing you a lullaby about how the environment is fine and if we let big business privatize more of the gains and socialize more of the costs then all of the jobs that have been lost to globalization or robots will magically reappear.


What we need are more ways for big business to be extend their greediness.

The damage this guy is making will last for generations.


Disgusting. Immoral, demented. Impeach the lying fool.