Legislation Introduced for Chuckwalla National Monument

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Legislation Introduced for Chuckwalla National Monument

Date: 04/19/2024     State: CA     Partners: Audubon Society, Cactus to Cloud, Center for Biological Diversity, Consejo de Federaciones Mexicanas, Conservation Lands Foundation, Sierra Club Airport Origin : Thermal, CA    


With new legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz and California Sen. Alex Padilla and administrate momentum around national monument designations, we flew with conservation groups, Latinx outdoor access organizations, and community groups leading the efforts to advocate for President Biden to designate the Chuckwalla National Monument, a place worthy of protection.

The proposed Chuckwalla National Monument is a cultural, ecological, and recreational gem just hours from some of Southern California’s biggest cities. At first, the hills may look unassuming, but a bird's-eye-view from the seat of the plane reveals intricate canyons, diverse habitat, spectacularly colorful geology, and hidden springs bursting with life tucked deep in the dry desert.

Tourism is the top industry in the Coachella Valley, and a monument designation here would promote sustainable visitation and create mechanisms for funding to balance recreation with ecological protection. It would also promote equitable access for nearby underserved communities in the Eastern Coachella Valley, and open doors for Tribal co-stewardship and the application of traditional knowledge in landscape management. A national monument designation would permanently protect about 660,000 acres, providing contiguous habitat protection to Joshua Tree National Park from what are currently islands of critical habitat for wildlife like the threatened desert tortoise, the endangered Peninsula bighorn sheep, countless small desert mammals and rodents, and the solitary Chuckwalla lizard.

A few weeks ago, along with a bill to expand Joshua Tree National Park by 17,000 acres, U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz and Sen. Alex Padilla introduced a bill to designate the adjacent Chuckwalla National Monument. The leaders also urged Biden to preserve these areas using the Antiquities Act. EcoFlight, our partners, and local communities are joining in calling on the Biden Administration to designate the Chuckwalla National Monument, thereby preserving this unique and fragile landscape and coming one step closer to realizing the administration’s goal of conserving at least 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.

Click for photos from the 4/18 or 4/19 overflights. Click for EcoFlight’s Chuckwalla photo collection. Click for geo-referenced photos from 4/18 or from 4/19.


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