For over 45-years, EAC has addressed the important environmental issues that face our community and public lands. We have worked on community development and public access to parks and coastal areas, supported pathways for ecologically sustainable agriculture, promoted affordable housing development, protected wildlife, supported strong coastal protections, provided environmental education, and protected Tomales Bay and West Marin’s watersheds.
Many of the environmental resources of West Marin are located within the Point Reyes National Seashore. Since 1971, EAC has been involved in several of the Seashore’s environmental issues. The Seashore is composed of 71,000 acres that make up the Seashore is divided into several different types of public uses. The primary land uses include 33,000 acres of wilderness lands and 21,000 acres of pastoral lands.
From 2005 until 2014, EAC worked diligently to ensure Drakes Estero’s wilderness designation. In November 2012, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar directed the National Park Service to allow the permit for the Drakes Bay Oyster Company to expire on its own terms and return Drakes Estero to the state of wilderness that Congress designated for it in 1976. At the same time, he directed the National Park Service to pursue extending the terms of agriculture permits to provide greater certainty and clarity for the ranches operating within the national park’s pastoral zone and to support the continued presence of sustainable ranching and dairy operations.
RANCH COMPREHENSIVE MANAGEMENT PLAN (RCMP)
Point Reyes National Seashore’s Ranch Comprehensive Management Plan (RCMP) was initiated due to the 2012 multi-part decision of former Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar. Based on EAC’s support of Secretary Salazar’s decision, EAC initiated community discussions with some dairy ranchers and the environmental community in 2014.
EAC participated in these discussions as an advocate for the environmental resources of the Seashore committed to the protection, restoration, and preservation of the natural environment.
Community workshops, planning, and collaboration
The Seashore is working to establish a comprehensive framework for the management of the existing ranch lands under agricultural leases with terms of up to 20 years.
The Seashore defines the needs for the development of a RCMP to:
- Provide a clear vision for ranching on existing ranch lands
- Address concerns related to elk and existing ranch operations
- Provide clear guidance and streamline processes for park and regulatory review of proposed ranching activities, including best management practices that promote protection of park resources.
Point Reyes National Seashore public workshop topics
The Seashore defined a series of topics for public discussion and comment while working on the development of the Draft RCMP.
- Tule Elk Management
- Pasture Management
- Range Conditions
Point Reyes National Seashore. Ranch Comprehensive Management Plan Update, Tule Elk Workshop, November 2014
EAC’s COMMITMENT TO THE RCMP
Since 2014, EAC has been engaged in the Seashore’s RCMP community planning process. The RCMP provides an opportunity for the community and Point Reyes National Seashore to create a framework for the protection of the Seashore’s natural resources and the management of multi-generational sustainable ranching operations in the pastoral lands.
EAC’S GUIDING PRINCIPLES
EAC supports the extension of 20-year operating permits for multi-generational sustainable ranching that ensures the protection, restoration, and preservation of the natural environment of the Seashore leaving it unimpaired for future generations.
In consideration of topics raised by RCMP, EAC will be guided by the below three principles:
- Protection and preservation of natural resources
- Restoration of degraded habitats and natural resources
- Right of public access
The Draft RCMP may be released in 2016. Information on the status of the RCMP is available online through the National Park Service. Click here to visit their website.
We will update this website as statements and positions become available concerning the RCMP topics.