Bill would add Piedras Blancas Light Station to California Coastal National Monument

The Piedras Blancas Light Station
The Piedras Blancas Light Station jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Rep. Lois Capps, along with two of her congressional colleagues, introduced a bill Friday that would add the historical Piedras Blancas Light Station and three other important sites to the California Coastal National Monument.

Capps, D-Santa Barbara, joined Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Menlo Park) and Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) to introduce the California Coastal National Monument Expansion Act legislation that would protect stretches of coastline throughout the state from development and help support wildlife, restore habitats and protect water quality, according to Capps’ office.

U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, both D-Calif., introduced a similar bill earlier this year.

The Expansion Act would bring the “highest level of national status and protection to Piedras Blancas Light Station and surrounding areas,” a news release from Capps’ office said.

The light station, built in 1875 to help maritime navigation, was designated in 2008 as a 20-acre Bureau of Land Management Outstanding Natural Area. The site includes rocks and islands off the coast that are home to sea birds, sea lions, elephant seals and more than 70 native plant species.

The legislation would also add the 8-acre Lighthouse Ranch and 13-acre Trinidad Headlands in Humboldt County, as well as the 5,780-acre Cotoni-Coast Dairies in Santa Cruz County.

“Expanding the California Coastal National Monument would provide greater access to these national treasures and ensure that these beautiful landscapes along California’s coast are preserved for all to enjoy,” Capps said.

“I am particularly pleased that this legislation would incorporate Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area into the California Coastal National Monument. It is an honor befitting this outstanding landmark, which is teeming with historic importance and natural beauty,” she said.

The Senate bill also included 440-acre Lost Coast Headlands in Humboldt County.

That site was omitted from the House bill, “due to some local community feedback and concerns from Rep. Huffman’s constituents on that particular region,” Capps spokesman CJ Young said.

The California Coastal National Monument, designated by former President Bill Clinton in 2000, stretches the entire 1,100 miles of California's coastline and protects more than 20,000 small islands, rocks and exposed reefs between Mexico and Oregon. It also protects the habitat for a variety of wildlife.