Sunday, 17 November 2019

President signs bill establishing Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta as California’s first National Heritage Area

On Tuesday, President Trump signed a significant conservation and public lands bill that includes the establishment of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta as California’s first National Heritage Area, or NHA.

Congressman John Garamendi (CA-3) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein co-authored the language, which earlier this month passed with wide bipartisan support.

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area Act establishes the first National Heritage Area in California’s history.

The National Heritage Area designation authorizes $10 million in federal grant funding over 15 years to provide matching grants to local governments, historical societies, and community nonprofit organizations throughout the Delta.

This funding will support cultural and historical preservation and environmental conservation projects under a locally developed management plan, coordinated by California’s Delta Protection Commission.

As confirmed by the National Park Service, which administers the National Heritage Area grant program, designations do not affect individual property rights in any way nor do they restrict local land use decisions, water rights, landownership, or hunting and fishing within the designated heritage area.

Congressman Garamendi, the former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior under President Bill Clinton, reintroduced this legislation in January.

“The National Heritage Area designation will provide crucial support for the Delta, which I have called home for over 40 years. We must safeguard this iconic working landscape and the most productive watershed in the western United States, and I am pleased that my legislation has been signed into law to make that possible,” said Garamendi. “I thank my colleagues in the House for their strong support, and Senator Feinstein for championing the bill in the Senate.”

“The council has long championed the Delta Protection Commission’s efforts towards designating the Delta region as a NHA. We look forward to continuing our support of the Commission’s efforts to preserve and are the rich natural, cultural, and historical features of this special landscape within our country,” said Council Chair Susan Tatayon.

“Fulfilling a key recommendation of the Council’s Delta Plan, the NHA designation will help cultivate and retain the public's appreciation for the significance of this unique region, while building more support for preserving and enhancing the Delta in the years to come,” Tatayon said.

The legislation (H.R.357) is endorsed by the Delta Stewardship Council, Delta Counties Coalition (Sacramento, Solano, Contra Costa, Yolo, San Joaquin), Delta Chambers and Visitor’s Bureau, Delta Protection Commission, National Parks Conservation Association, Restore the Delta and Solano County.

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has sponsored the Senate companion bill to Garamendi’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area Act since 2010.

Reps. Jerry McNerney (D-CA09), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA11), Mike Thompson (D-CA05), and Doris O. Matsui (D-CA06), are each original cosponsors of H.R. 357.

The full text of the legislation (H.R.357) is available here.

Delta NHA Boundary Map by LakeCoNews on Scribd

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