Sen. Dodd Introduces Berryessa Snow Mountain Expansion Bill

Thursday, January 18, 2024

SACRAMENTO – Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, in partnership with Senate President Designee Mike McGuire, D-North Coast and Assembly Majority Leader Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters, has introduced legislation urging the White House to expand Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument and to rename the new portion to reflect its cultural significance to the region’s Native American tribes.

“Berryessa Snow Mountain is one of the most scenic and diverse landscapes in all of Northern California, and I am proud to have been on hand when President Barack Obama finalized the official designation,” Sen. Dodd said. “Now, it makes sense to include this additional piece, which was home to native tribes for thousands of years. We can recognize the land’s cultural significance while protecting it for generations to come.”  

In 2015, Sen. Dodd authored Assembly Joint Resolution 4, the first time a state Legislature passed a measure asking the president to create a national monument. Following the extensive campaign by state, local, tribal and federal representatives, President Obama on July 10, 2015 designated 330,780 acres in the California Coastal Range in Colusa, Glenn, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Solano and Yolo counties as Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. The rugged land boasts abundant wildlife, plants and other natural resources, and is a haven for outdoor recreation. It is managed by the Mendocino National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management.

The designation comes at a time of vanishing wildlands around the world. Nationwide, natural land is declining at a rate of one football field every 30 seconds, threatening plant and animal species and contributing to climate change. In response, both President Joe Biden and Gov. Gavin Newsom have championed the so-called 30X30 goal, which sets aside 30% of natural and coastal waters by 2030 to protect habitat, preserve history and maintain recreational opportunities.

Senate Joint Resolution 10 helps fulfill state and federal goals by supporting proposals before Congress to expand Berryessa Snow Mountain Monument by 3,900 acres in Lake County. It also supports renaming the area commonly known as Walker Ridge to Molok Luyuk, which means Condor Ridge in the Patwin language, reflecting the area’s cultural significance to many federally recognized tribes in the region. By doing so, it would also provide opportunities for partnerships between the tribes, BLM and the U.S. Forest Service. The resolution also supports the legislative efforts of U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla and Congressmen John Garamendi and Mike Thompson. 

“I applaud the resolution introduced today by state Sen. Dodd supporting the expansion of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument as we work to usher in a new era of cooperative stewardship between our federal land management agencies and local Tribes,” said U.S. Senator Alex Padilla. “It is our duty to protect the abundant natural resources and the rich history of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument for today’s children and for generations to come.”

“The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument is home to rare plants and animals found nowhere else on earth,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena. “Expanding this national monument to include Molok Luyuk is an important step to safeguard public lands that are sacred to the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and further conserve beautiful and diverse land. Thank you to Senator Dodd and the California Legislature for supporting our Congressional efforts to get the expansion signed into law and to ensure that this land is protected for generations to come.”

“I welcome state Sen. Dodd’s support for expanding the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument in Lake County for future generations to enjoy,” said U.S. Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, former deputy secretary of the Interior during the Clinton administration. “Conserving California’s special places has been a lifelong passion throughout my tenure in the state legislature, as deputy secretary of the Interior to President Clinton, and now as a member of Congress. Our proposed expansion supports President Biden and Gov. Newsom’s goal to conserve at least 30 percent of the lands and waters nationally and in California by 2030. Once again, California can lead the nation and the world.”

“The establishment of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument was the result of a historic collaboration by the environmental, business and agricultural communities, recreational interests and tribal, local, and state government,” said Assembly Majority Leader Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters. “Expanding the national monument to include the traditional tribal region known as Molok Luyuk in Lake and Colusa Counties will protect this incredibly valuable cultural and environmental resource and help our state reach our goal of protecting 30% of California’s lands by 2030. I was very proud to be a leader in winning the original federal designation and am excited to lend my support to this expansion effort.  I thank my colleague, Sen. Dodd, for authoring this Resolution to add the support of the California Legislature to this campaign by Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, Robinson Rancheria, and the Cachil Dehe Band of Wintun Indians.”