Congressman Carbajal Hikes Superbloom to Celebrate Reintroduction of Bill to Expand Federal Protection for Carrizo Plain and Los Padres

Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24) traveled to Soda Lake in the Carrizo Plain National Monument this weekend to view the ‘superbloom’ of flora with local environmental advocates while highlighting his reintroduction of legislation to upgrade federal protections for Central Coast public lands.

You can find video of the visit here.

The Central Coast Heritage Protection Act, which Carbajal reintroduced on Monday, would designate nearly 250,000 acres of public land in the Los Padres National Forest and Carrizo Plain National Monument as wilderness, the highest form of federal protection available.

Such a designation would prohibit new development in that area, and protect a wide array of plant and animal life–sustaining the ecological future of 468 species of wildlife and more than 1,200 plant species.

“It is well known that the Carrizo Plain and the Los Padres National Forest contain some of the most stunning and diverse ecosystems in North America, but seeing its majesty in person reminds us all why preserving these public lands is so critical. With some photos and stories from our visit, I will be returning to D.C. to show my colleagues just a sample of this breath-taking natural wonder in a renewed attempt to get the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act signed into law,” said Congressman Carbajal. “California’s outdoor economy generates more than $50 billion in value and supports half a million California jobs–a portion of which we saw on display in visiting Soda Lake, with people from across the world coming to see its beauty. Preserving the natural wonder of these places with legislation like mine will protect not just the hundreds of unique species that call this place home, but California jobs as well.”

Congressman Carbajal was joined on his tour of the Carrizo Plain superbloom by environmental groups that support the legislation.

The Central Coast Heritage Protection Act is a truly fitting celebration of the Wilderness Act passed in 1964 – it will benefit all people, species, and the planet. Passage of the CCHPA will be a magnificent contribution to the wonder and glory of wild California and the whole United States – our waters, habitats, species and all our people. I have unreserved admiration and praise for Congressman Carbajal for re-introducing the Central California Heritage Protection Act.  It’s a win for everyone!” said Sue Harvey, Conservation Chair with the Sierra Club’s Santa Lucia Chapter. “It was such an exciting day with the Congressman as we move forward to preserve these magnificent lands for everyone’s benefit.”

“We are incredibly thankful for Rep. Carbajal’s leadership and unwavering commitment to the conservation of these incredibly important lands and waters in the Los Padres National Forest and Carrizo Plain.  His bill would not only protect culturally significant lands and habitat for imperiled species such as the California condor, but would bring us closer to reaching our 30x30 goals to help address climate change and our biodiversity crisis,” said Linda Castro, Assistant Policy Director of the California Wilderness Coalition. “We wholeheartedly support Rep. Carbajal’s desire to protect these lands for us and future generations to enjoy as they exist today.”

“This legislation is critical for ensuring species will have a place to thrive in the face of a changing climate," said Daniel Rossman, Southern California Landscape Director with The Wilderness Society. “It advances 30x30 goals of protecting lands and waters necessary to mitigating the most harmful impacts of climate change.”

"The Friends of the Carrizo Plain is a non-profit organization that supports the managing agencies in the Education, Interpretation, and Conservation of the unique resources of the Carrizo Plain National Monument,"  said David Chipping from Friends of Carrizo Plain. "The Friends strongly supports the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act being re-introduced by Congressman Carbajal. We consider adding a Wilderness Designation is the best method to protect both the natural resources and the serenity of this unique landscape."

"The Carrizo Plain Conservancy proudly supports Congressman Carbajal’s Central Coast Heritage Protection Act for its recognition of the natural qualities of three unique areas within Carrizo Plain National Monument:  the ancient juniper woodland of Caliente Peak; the strange clay dunes around Soda Lake; and the rare scrub community in the Temblor Range.  These areas would all be important contributions to the National Wilderness System, of which the country can be proud," said Neil Havlik, Board President of Carrizo Plain Conservancy.

Carbajal’s bill has passed the U.S. House of Representatives five times over his tenure in Congress, but has stalled in the U.S. Senate over previous terms. The legislation has received support from President Joe Biden, various state and local environmental advocacy groups, and nearly 500 Central Coast landowners, businesses, elected officials, farmers, ranchers, civic leaders, wineries, recreationalists, and outfitters.

Rep. Salud Carbajal represents California’s 24th Congressional District, encompassing Santa Barbara County and portions of San Luis Obispo County and Ventura County. He is a member of the Agriculture and Armed Services Committees, as well as the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he serves as the top Democrat on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee.


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