Thursday, December 29, 2016

Gold Butte National Monument

Some points from the proclamation:

Ø  The monument encompasses 296,937 acres of land currently administered by the federal government in southern Nevada.
Ø  The establishment of the monument is supposed to be subject to valid existing rights, including valid existing water rights.
Ø  If the Federal Government subsequently acquires any lands or interests in lands not owned or controlled by the Federal Government within the boundaries described on the accompanying map (attached), those lands are supposed to be administratively added to the monument.
Ø  The Department of the Interior will establish a management plan for the monument, and it is supposed to establish a local advisory committee to provide information and advice regarding development of the land use plan and management of the monument.
Ø  Motorized vehicle use in the monument will only be permitted on roads designated as open to such use as of today.
Ø  The monument is not supposed to interfere or preclude with the operation, maintenance, replacement, modification, or upgrade within the physical authorization boundary of existing flood control, pipeline, and telecommunications facilities, or other water infrastructure, including wildlife water catchments or water district facilities, that are located within the monument.   But, no new right-of-ways will be issued within the monument unless it’s for these activities and that is at the discretion of the Department (meaning they could still deny it).
Ø  No grazing in the monument.

From the White House Fact Sheet:

Located in Clark County, Nevada just northeast of the outskirts of Las Vegas, the Gold Butte National Monument spans nearly 300,000 acres and will protect significant cultural resources, important geological formations, and vital plant and wildlife habitat. The monument will provide critical protections for important Native American historical sites, as well as areas that are currently used for traditional purposes by tribes. Notably, the area includes abundant rock art, archeological artifacts, and rare fossils, including recently discovered dinosaur tracks dating back hundreds of millions of years. In recent years these resources have faced increasing damage from threats such as deliberate destruction and vandalism, and today’s designation will help ensure that these cultural and archaeological treasures are better protected. The monument will serve as an important connection between already protected lands, including Lake Mead Recreation Area and the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument across the Arizona border, protecting key wildlife corridors for large mammals such as desert bighorn sheep and mountain lions, and vital habitat for the threatened Mojave desert tortoise. Additionally, the monument will protect important historic resources. Structures that detail western ranching heritage can still be found in the Gold Butte area, as well as an early twentiethcentury abandoned mining town and sites associated with Spanish explorers from the late eighteenth century. Today’s action follows decades of local support from tribes, local stakeholders and conservationists, and draws from legislation that was first introduced in 2008.