Federal legislation and executive orders relating to federal lands in California's Central Coast region

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An environmental summary by the ENVS 560/L Watershed Systems class at CSUMB.

Federal legislation and executive orders involving lands managed by The National Park Service

  • The Antiquities Act of 1906 [1]
    • The Antiquities Act was the first law in the U.S. to provide general protection for any general kind of "cultural or natural resource" [2]. It established the first national historic preservation policy for the United States. The statute provided a tool for politicians and their supporters to clearly identify the uses of public lands and resources with a concentration in conservation. The act dissolved the requirement of parks or reserves to have an act of Congress as well as Presidential approval to begin conservation efforts, allowing the establishment of national monuments to be quicker. The Antiquities Act was utilized by presidents during the late 20th and early 21st century to designate national monuments.
  • Title 16 - Conservation of 1890
    • 26 Stat. 478, 16 USC 41
      • Established Sequoia National Park including only the drainage of the South Fork of the Kaweah River - Garfield Grove and Hockett Meadow [3]
  • Public Law 85-665 of 1940 [4]
  • Proclamation No. 2825 of 1949 [6]
    • Signed by President Truman which added 17,635 acres to the Channel Islands National Park shortly after its establishment as a national monument in 1938.
  • Federal Property Act of 1949 [7]
    • The purpose of this act is to help increase local recreation opportunities while reducing the federal government’s inventory of real property. This program has transferred about 184,000 acres of land to date to state and local governments for parks and recreation use.
  • The Wilderness Act of 1964 [8]
    • A law that created the legal definition of wilderness in the U.S., which protects 9.1 million acres (37,000 km²) of federal land. The definition is as follows; "A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain." - Howard Zahniser
  • In 2012, President Barack Obama established the César E. Chávez National Monument.
  • In 2013, President Barack Obama redesignated Pinnacles National Monument to become Pinnacles National Park.

Federal legislation and executive orders involving lands managed by the United States Bureau of Land Management

  • History needed for:
    • Clear Creek Management Area (CCMA)
    • Joaquin Rocks
    • etc.
  • In 2012, President Barack Obama designated Fort Ord National Monument.

Federal laws involving lands managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Federal Laws involving lands managed by the United States Forest Service

Laws affecting the entire United States

  • Forest Reserve Act of 1891 [12]
  • The Transfer Act of 1905 [14]
    • This act "unified" all Federal forest management under the Department of Agriculture. [15]. This allowed the former Bureau of Forestry to be established as the Forest Service on July 1, 1905.
  • The Weeks Act of 1911 [16]
    • This act created a true national forest system where the federal government was allowed to purchase and maintain land in the eastern U.S. Prior to this act, local and federal governments did not own substantial land east of the Mississippi River [17]
  • The Multiple Use - Sustained Yield Act of 1960 [18]
    • Authorizes and directs the Secretary of Agriculture to develop and administer the renewable resources of timber, range, water, recreation and wildlife on the national forests for multiple use and sustained yield of the products and services.
  • The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1970 [19]
    • NEPA was enacted to establish a national policy for the environment and to provide additional support for the establishment of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). NEPA was the first major environmental law in the United States [20]
  • Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 [21]
    • authorizes long-range planning by USFS to protect, develop, and enhance the productivity and other values of forest resources. It requires that a renewable resource assessment and a Forest Service plan be prepared every ten and five years, respectively, to plan and prepare for the future of natural resources.
  • The National Forest Management Act (NFMA) of 1976 [22]
  • The Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978 [24]
    • This law revised the authority of the United States Forest Service to provide financial and technical assistance to states and private landowners on a variety of forestry issues, including forest management and stewardship, fire protection, insect and disease control, reforestation and stand improvement, and urban forestry.

Laws that affect the California Central Coast Region

  • The Wilderness Act of 1964 [25]
    • A law that created the legal definition of wilderness in the U.S., which protects 9.1 million acres (37,000 km²) of federal land. The definition is as follows; "A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain." - Howard Zahniser.
    • This law established the National Wilderness Preservation System which helped create the following wilderness areas;
  • Ventana Wilderness Act
    • Established in 1969, which redesignated 98,000 acres of the Ventana Primitive Area as the Ventana Wilderness.
  • Endangered American Wilderness Act of 1978 [27]
    • Established ten new designated Wilderness Areas in the National Forests of several Western states. In California, it created the following;
      • 306,000 acre Golden Trout Wilderness in the Inyo and Sequoia National Forests
      • 21,250 acre Santa Lucia Wilderness in the Los Padres National Forest
      • Added 61,000 acres to the established Ventana Wilderness in the Los Padres National Forest
  • California Wilderness Act of 1984 [28]
  • The Los Padres Condor Range and River Protection Act of 1992 [29]
  • Big Sur Wilderness and Conservation Act of 2002 [30]

Federal laws involving ocean areas overseen by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • National Marine Sanctuaries Act of 1972
    • This act authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to identify and protect areas of the marine environment with special national significance. Some examples of significance are conservation, recreational, ecological, historical, scientific, cultural, archeological, educational or esthetic qualities [31]. Daily management of national marine sanctuaries has been overseen by the Secretary of Commerce to NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. The main goal of the NMSA is to protect marine resources, such as coral reefs, sunken historical vessels or unique habitats.
    • Established the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS). [32]
    • Established the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. [33]
  • Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) of 1972 [34]
    • This act provides for the management of the nation’s coastal resources, including the Great Lakes. The goal of the act is to “preserve, protect, develop, and where possible, to restore or enhance the resources of the nation’s coastal zone" [35]. The CZMA outlines three national programs: the National Coastal Zone Management Program, the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, and the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP).
    • Established the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (ESNERR).

Related links


  1. https://www.nps.gov/history/local-law/anti1906.htm
  2. https://www.nps.gov/archeology/tools/laws/AntAct.htm
  3. https://www.nps.gov/seki/learn/management/enabling-legislation.htm
  4. http://famousredwoods.com/kings_canyon_national_park/#:~:text=On%20September%2028%2C%201984%2C%20Kings,receives%20nearly%20600%2C000%20visitors%20annually
  5. https://www.nps.gov/seki/learn/management/enabling-legislation.htm#:~:text=California%20Wilderness%20Act%20of%201984,Establishes%20Sequoia%2FKings%20Canyon%20Wilderness.
  6. https://www.nps.gov/chis/learn/historyculture/park-history.htm
  7. https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1508/index.htm
  8. https://wilderness.net/learn-about-wilderness/key-laws/wilderness-act/default.php
  9. https://www.fws.gov/laws/lawsdigest/nwrsact.html
  10. https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Salinas_River/1997Act.html
  11. https://www.congress.gov/bill/107th-congress/house-bill/4750
  12. https://web.archive.org/web/20100217050446/http://www.fs.fed.us/gpnf/forest-research/heritage/early1.html#top
  13. https://www.wilderness.org/articles/article/how-america-started-saving-national-forests
  14. https://foresthistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Transfer_Act_1905.pdf
  15. https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fsbdev3_004814.pdf
  16. https://foresthistory.org/research-explore/us-forest-service-history/policy-and-law/the-weeks-act/
  17. https://www.plymouth.edu/mwm/the-weeks-act-of-1911/
  18. https://www.fs.fed.us/emc/nfma/includes/musya60.pdf
  19. https://ceq.doe.gov/#:~:text=Congress%20enacted%20NEPA%20to%20establish,Carta%22%20of%20Federal%20environmental%20laws.
  20. https://ceq.doe.gov
  21. https://www.fs.fed.us/emc/nfma/includes/range74.pdf
  22. https://www.sierraforestlegacy.org/FC_LawsPolicyRegulations/FPP_NFMA.php
  23. https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd583096.pdf
  24. https://www.agriculture.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Cooperative%20Forestry%20Assistance%20Act%20Of%201978.pdf
  25. https://wilderness.net/learn-about-wilderness/key-laws/wilderness-act/default.php
  26. https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/statement-signing-bill-designating-the-ventana-wilderness-california
  27. https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/95/hr3454
  28. https://www.congress.gov/bill/98th-congress/house-bill/1437
  29. https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/STATUTE-106/pdf/STATUTE-106-Pg242.pdf
  30. https://www.congress.gov/bill/107th-congress/house-bill/4750
  31. https://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/about/legislation/
  32. https://montereybay.noaa.gov/resourcepro/regs-boundry.html#:~:text=Overview,for%20their%20management%20and%20protection.
  33. https://nmschannelislands.blob.core.windows.net/channelislands-prod/media/archive/sac/pdfs/gjfr_99.pdf
  34. https://coast.noaa.gov/czm/act/
  35. https://coast.noaa.gov/czm/act/


This page may contain student work completed as part of assigned coursework. It may not be accurate. It does not necessary reflect the opinion or policy of CSUMB, its staff, or students.