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Locals discuss the future of Carrizo Plain 

"Carrizo you can hear the quiet." That could be a slogan for the Carrizo Plain National Monument, according to locals who gathered at a recent meeting in San Luis Obispo to talk about their vision for the future of the grassland known as "California's Serengeti."

click to enlarge PLAIN SPOKEN :  A new management plan is in the works for the Carrizo Plain National Monument "Californias Serengeti" prompting local leaders to seek public input. - PHOTO BY KATHY JOHNSTON
  • PHOTO BY KATHY JOHNSTON
  • PLAIN SPOKEN : A new management plan is in the works for the Carrizo Plain National Monument "Californias Serengeti" prompting local leaders to seek public input.

# The Bureau of Land Management is collecting public comments for a new management plan for the area, and about 60 people attended the meeting at the Ludwick Center to share their ideas. Another public meeting is planned for May 5 from 10 a.m. to noon at the California Valley Community Services District.

"A great opportunity lies ahead of us for this resource," SLO County Supervisor Jim Patterson, a member of the Monument Advisory Committee, told the SLO meeting.

Breaking up into smaller groups with flip charts, a diverse gathering of cattle ranchers, birdwatchers, hunters, and nature-lovers listed some of the attributes of the vast plain: its silence and grandness of scale, its diversity of life, and its cultural and geologic features such as Painted Rock and the San Andreas Fault. Those are some of the features that prompted the declaration of the area as a national monument, proclaimed by then-President Bill Clinton.

 

The partners in the management of the Carrizo BLM, California Department of Fish and Game, and the Nature Conservancy hope to develop a Resource Management Plan for more than 200,000 acres, with a focus on restoring native plant communities and protecting threatened and endangered plant and animal species.

It's been a controversial issue, with various competing interests. Frustration over the planning process preceded the May 2, 2005, suicide of monument manager Marlene Braun.

Now BLM is asking for public input on a new management plan, with an Environmental Impact Statement due later this year.

"The Carrizo is truly a national treasure," said Johna Hurl, the manager for the Carrizo Plain National Monument.

The Monument Advisory Committee is meeting May 5 at 1 p.m., and the public is invited.

"Our role as the advisory committee is to be your conduit to the planning process. We take our charge seriously," Neil Havlik, chairman of the committee, told the SLO meeting.

 

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