Proposed Bill Aims To Create New California National Monument

By iHeartRadio

April 16, 2024

Photo: Walter Bibikow/DigitalVision/Getty Images

A new bill has been introduced by United States Rep. Raul Ruiz and Sen. Alex Padilla to create the Chuckwalla National Monument and expand Joshua Tree National Park. The proposed legislation aims to protect parts of Riverside and Imperial counties, including the Chuckwalla Valley, Chuckwalla Mountains, and Mecca Hills, per KTLA.

The area is home to a rich variety of wildlife, including desert tortoises, kit foxes, golden eagles, and the Chuckwalla lizards, which the proposed monument is named after, according to a release from the Center for Biological Diversity, a national nonprofit. The bill has also gained support from local tribes, businesses, communities, and conservation groups. The Center for Biological Diversity also noted that the designations would contribute to the nation's America the Beautiful initiative, which aims to conserve 30 percent of American natural landscapes by 2030.

The lawmakers are urging the Biden administration to use the Antiquities Act to designate the monument and expand the park. The lands in question are described by Center for Biological Diversity as remote and rugged, featuring palm oases, unique desert wash woodlands, and stunning 360-degree vistas.

"The lands will preserve key wildlife migration linkages between Joshua Tree National Park and conservation areas south of the proposed Chuckwalla monument, which are more critical than ever due to climate change," the Center for Biological Diversity stated.

Dr. Ruiz first introduced legislation in 2023 that proposed a 660,000-acre Chuckwalla National Monument as well as a 17,000-acre expansion for Joshua Tree. He reintroduced the bill this year, with Sen. Padilla introducing a companion bill in the Senate.

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