Padilla, Thompson, Local Tribes, Bureau of Land Management Announce Historic Co-Stewardship Agreement, Celebrate Expansion of Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument

WATCH: Padilla applauds co-stewardship agreement and protection of the entirety of Molok Luyuk

BROOKS, CA — Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Representative Mike Thompson (D-Calif.-04), the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, Kletsel Dehe Wintun Nation, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Tracy Stone-Manning, and community leaders celebrated President Biden’s recent expansion of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument (Monument) to protect the entirety of the sacred land that is now officially known as Molok Luyuk. Members of the Yocha Dehe and Kletsel Dehe Tribes also signed a historic co-stewardship agreement with BLM during the ceremony.  

The Presidential proclamation advances co-stewardship of the Monument, renames the “Walker Ridge” parcel to “Molok Luyuk,” and adds over 13,000 acres of federal public land to the previously-designated Monument to safeguard generations of tribal origin stories and protect wildlife corridors and rich biodiversity in the region.

Last October, Senator and Representatives Thompson and John Garamendi (D-Calif.-08) led a letter to President Biden and Interior Department Secretary Deb Haaland urging the Administration to use its authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to expand the Monument and support co-stewardship opportunities at Molok Luyuk.

“Today, thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration and decades of advocacy from tribal leaders and allies, the Patwin people will once again have a say in how Molok Luyuk is cared for,” said Senator Padilla. “We’re setting a new standard of cooperative stewardship and embarking on a new era of public land management that gives tribes a seat at the table. With the historic signing of these co-stewardship agreements, local tribes will be able to more formally contribute their deep, personal knowledge of the history and ecology of the area to better protect and celebrate this land. The expansion of the Monument is also crucial for protecting the rich biodiversity and wildlife corridors that make California so unique, ensuring that these areas endure for the benefit of current and future generations.”

“Today marks a new era of tribal co-stewardship of ancestral lands. I’m honored to join leaders from the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, Kletsel Dehe Wintun Nation, Bureau of Land Management, and community advocates to celebrate the expansion of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument and formalize local tribes’ role in the protection of the land that has sustained them for generations. I worked to designate the Berryessa Snow Mountain region as a national monument in 2015 and Senator Padilla, Rep. Garamendi (CA-08), and I were successful in working with the Biden Administration to expand it. Thanks to President Biden’s proclamation, the biodiversity, geological formations, and cultural connections of this land will be preserved for generations to come,” said Representative Thompson.

“Molok Luyuk has been stewarded for thousands of years by the Wintun Nations,” said Bureau of Land Management Director Tracy Stone-Manning. “This co-stewardship agreement will strengthen management of this portion of Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument for generations to come, enhancing our ability to protect natural and cultural resources and to educate visitors to the monument.”

“The expansion of Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument enhances protections of the region’s rich biodiversity and rare plant species and provides a lifeline for wildlife such as tule elk, mountain lions, and black bears as a connectivity corridor between the existing monument and other conserved areas,” said California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot. “This commitment to conservation protects sacred cultural sites and enshrines access to our public lands. It also moves us closer toward California’s 30×30 goal to conserve 30% of the state’s lands and coastal waters by 2030. This shows what happens when big ideas and people rally together to protect incredible places. The California Natural Resources Agency is honored to continue work with California Native American tribes, local communities, and the Biden-Harris Administration to further designate new National Monuments in California.”

“We are profoundly grateful for this commitment to protect tribal cultural resources and the environment. All the support we received to expand the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument and include Molok Luyuk, especially from U.S. Senator Padilla, Congressman Thompson, Congressman Garamendi, and environmental organizations — their care and commitment to tribal lands has ensured a better world for generations to come. We look forward to additional opportunities to partner in our ancestral lands,” said Yocha Dehe Tribal Chairman Anthony Roberts.

Senator Padilla and Representatives Thompson and Garamendi previously introduced legislation to expand the Monument to include adjacent Bureau of Land Management-administered public lands. The bill successfully advanced through the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee with unanimous support in the 117th and 118th Congresses but ultimately did not make it to the Senate floor. Padilla also testified in support of the legislation.

Photos of the event are available here.

A map of the expansion is available here.


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