H.R. 4192: Stornetta Public Lands Outstanding Natural Area Act

H.R. 4192

Stornetta Public Lands Outstanding Natural Area Act

Sponsor
Rep. Mike Thompson

Date
March 16, 2010 (111th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact

Floor Situation

H.R. 4192 is expected to be considered on the floor of the House on Tuesday, March 16, 2010, under a motion to suspend the rules, requiring a two-thirds vote for passage. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) on December 3, 2009, and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

Bill Summary

H.R. 4192 would designate certain lands in Stornetta as the ‘Stornetta Outstanding Natural Area' to be managed as part of the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS), administered by the BLM. The bill requires the Secretary of the Interior to complete a comprehensive management plan. The bill will withdraw federal lands and interests included within the Outstanding Natural Area from all forms of entry, appropriation, or disposal under the public land laws and operation of the mineral leasing and geothermal leasing laws and the mineral materials laws. H.R 4192 would permit the acquisition of adjacent state and privately held lands or interests only by donation, exchange with a willing party, or purchase from a willing seller. Lastly, it allows access to the Outstanding Natural Area by Indians and Indian tribes for traditional cultural and religious purposes.

Background

The Stornetta Public Lands (Stornetta) are located along the Northern California coast, in Mendocino County, just north of the town of Point Arena (about 140 miles north of San Francisco). The 1,132 acre area is administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and encompasses more than two miles of coastline along the Pacific Ocean, as well as the estuary of the Garcia River, and Sea Lion Rocks Island. Stornetta is also adjacent to the historically significant Point Arena Lighthouse. Stornetta contains an array of remarkable natural resources, including extensive wetlands, cypress groves and sand dunes. The Garcia River is critical Coho and Chinook salmon habitat, while the ocean and coastal areas around Stornetta are renowned for the diversity of marine mammals found there and have been designated as marine sanctuaries. Archaeological excavations have provided insight into the customs of the Bokeya Pomo people, who established their main village at the mouth of the Garcia River and called this area home, until the early 19th century.

Cost

According to CBO, any costs related to implementing H.R. 4192 would have no significant effect on federal spending because the 1,100-acre Stornetta site is owned by the federal government and is already administered by the Budget of Land Management.