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Representative Lois Capps has introduced legislation in
Congress to protect more than 158 miles of Wild & Scenic Rivers, 245,500
acres of Wilderness, and 34,500 acres of Scenic Areas on public lands in the
Central Coast counties of Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo. H.R.
4685 also proposes to establish the Condor National Recreation Trail.
Also known as the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act, H.R.
4685 is the product of years of discussion and negotiation, led by
Rep. Capps, involving business leaders, conservationists, elected officials,
ranchers, mountain bikers, and other stakeholders interested in the use and
well-being of these iconic lands. Reps. Julia Brownley and Sam Farr, whose
districts also include part of the proposal, have cosponsored the legislation.
Friends of the River and the California Wilderness
Coalition played a key roll in identifying the rivers and acreage on public
lands proposed for protection in the bill. Rivers and streams proposed for
National Wild & Scenic Rivers protection include several small streams on
the Los Padres National Forest that support important populations of threatened
and endangered fish and wildlife such as the Central Coast steelhead, arroyo
toad, California red-legged frog, California condor, and least Bell’s vireo.
The streams proposed for protection also provide outstanding opportunities for
Just when the House Natural Resources Committee will hold
a hearing on this important bill remains to be seen. The Committee has a mixed
record in regard to its treatment of public lands protection bills. In the
meantime, constituents of Rep. Capps, Rep. Brownley, and Rep. Farr (residents
of Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, and San Benito Counties)
should thank them for introducing H.R. 4685. All residents of California should
email Senator Barbara Boxer and Senator Dianne Feinstein and urge them to
introduce companion legislation to H.R. 4685 in the Senate. <click here>
to send emails to your Senators.
Rivers proposed for protection in H.R. 4685 include:
Piru Creek – 48.1 miles
Creek offers rare opportunities to recreate along a year-round free flowing
stream in southern California. The stream provides a wide variety of
recreational opportunities, including wilderness hiking and backpacking, OHV
travel, gold panning, camping, angling, family picnicking, and even whitewater
kayaking, all within a river corridor with diverse and outstanding scenery. The
entire creek flows through unique geological formations that provide important
clues to tectonic forces that shape California. Identified by scientists as an
area of high ecological significance, Piru Creek provides an important
biological refuge for the endangered arroyo toad, California red-legged frog,
least Bell’s vireo and southwestern willow flycatcher. H.R. 4685 will add more
than 41 miles to the 7.25 miles of Piru Creek that Friends of the River and the
California Wild Heritage Campaign helped to protect in the National Wild &
Scenic Rivers System in 2009.
Upper Sespe Creek – 20.9 miles
Sespe Creek flows along scenic Highway 33, which provides access for popular
day use recreation activities, including swimming, wading, picnicking, day
hiking, horseback riding, and rock climbing in the spectacular Sespe Gorge.
Dominated by the Piedra Blanca sandstone rock outcrops on the slopes above, the
creek’s riparian vegetation offers dramatic spring and fall colors in contrast
with rocky cliffs and dark green big cone Douglas firs. Identified by
scientists as an area of high ecological significance, this free flowing stream
is one of the best remaining low elevation and relatively intact aquatic
ecosystems in the central and southern California region. The creek supports
one of the few populations of endangered steelhead trout in southern California
and one of the largest populations of endangered arroyo toad. H.R. 4685
proposes to add nearly 30 miles to the 32 miles of lower Sespe Creek that
Friends of the River and Keep the Sespe Wild helped protect in the National
Wild & Scenic Rivers System in 1992.
Matilija Creek – 14.4 miles
Creek and its North Fork provide outstanding opportunities for hiking,
backpacking, swimming, wading, wildlife viewing, fishing, and photography in a
distinctive and scenic setting. A large waterfall on the main stem is a popular
destination for day hikers and the North Fork Trail offers an outstanding
overnight wilderness experience. The creek supports resident rainbow trout
descended from migrating steelhead. Once federal, state, and local agencies
complete the removal of the obsolete Matilija Dam downstream, the creek will
once again provide more than 14 miles of critical habitat for these endangered
Mono and Indian Creeks – 24.5 miles
& 14.4 miles (respectively)
and Indian Creeks were identified by scientists as an area of high ecological
significance. Both creeks provide nearly pristine refuges for a unique
assemblage of native wildlife, including the largest population of endangered
arroyo toad on the Los Padres National Forest, as well as the endangered California
red-legged frog, least Bell’s vireo, and sensitive southwest pond turtle. Mono
Creek flows through a distinctive narrow gorge with dramatic sandstone and
shale formations and large boulders, waterfalls, and deep pools. Those willing
to explore this rugged and remote stream must be willing to wade and swim some
segments where water fills the canyon from wall to wall. Trails follow other
segments of Mono Creek and much of Indian Creek, providing access for anglers,
hikers, and backpackers.
Manzana Creek & Tributaries –
Creek is a major tributary of the Sisquoc Wild & Scenic River, which was
protected by Congress in 1992. Because it is free flowing and undiverted, Manzana
Creek and its tributaries (including Davy Brown Creek, Munch Creek, Fish Creek
and its East Fork), as well as the South Fork Sisquoc River, are critical
spawning and rearing streams for endangered southern steelhead as well as a
refuge for larger steelhead in the Sisquoc River watershed (which is considered
by biologists to possess the most abundant high quality habitat for steelhead
in southern California). Manzana Creek and its tributaries also offer a wide
variety of recreational opportunities, including camping, hiking, and wildlife
viewing. The historic Manzana School House and Dabney Cabin are located on
Manzana Creek and have been designated as historical landmarks by Santa Barbara
Scroll down to send your email TODAY to your U.S. Senators.
For more information, contact Steve Evans, Wild & Scenic
Rivers Consultant, at (916) 442-3155 x221, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I urge your support of H.R. 4685 (Capps) to protect central coast rivers & wilderness
Dear [Decision Maker],
I am pleased that Rep. Lois Capps has introduced H.R. 4685, the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act. The bill proposes to protect more than 158 miles of Wild & Scenic Rivers, 245,500 acres of Wilderness, and 34,500 acres of Scenic Areas on public lands in the Central Coast counties of Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo. H.R. 4685 also proposes to establish the Condor National Recreation Trail. These iconic landscapes and waterways support important populations of threatened and endangered fish and wildlife such as the California condor, Central Coast steelhead, arroyo toad, California red-legged frog, and least Bell's vireo. They also provide outstanding opportunities for outdoor recreation and their protection will enhance local tourism and local quality of life.
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]
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