Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area Boundary Adjustment Study Act
STATEMENT OF P. DANIEL SMITH, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, EXERCISING THE AUTHORITY OF THE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, FORESTS, AND PUBLIC LANDS, CONCERNING H.R. 1487, TO CONDUCT A SPECIAL RESOURCE STUDY OF PORTIONS OF THE LOS ANGELES COASTAL AREA IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
MAY 22, 2019
Chairwoman Haaland, Ranking Member Young, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to present the Department of the Interior’s views on H.R. 1487, a bill to direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of portions of the Los Angeles coastal area in the State of California to evaluate alternatives for protecting resources of the coastal area, and for other purposes.
The Department recognizes that this study area contains some valuable natural and cultural resources and opportunities for outdoor recreation. However, currently we are focusing resources on reducing the National Park Service’s $11.9 billion deferred maintenance backlog and addressing other critical national park needs. In addition, the National Park Service has not yet completed 30 studies current underway on other sites that Congress previously authorized to determine if these specific areas meet the appropriate criteria for designation as new park units, national heritage areas, national trails, or wild and scenic rivers.
This study authorized by this bill would determine whether the area meets the statutory criteria for inclusion in the National Park System of national significance, suitability, feasibility, and the need for National Park Service management. The study would evaluate alternatives including expanding the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and redesignating it as the “Santa Monica Mountains and Los Angeles Coast National Recreation Area” or creating a new coastal recreation area designated as the “Los Angeles Coast National Recreation Area.” This study would also consider other alternatives for preservation, protection, and interpretation of the area’s resources by the Federal government, State or local government entities, or private and non-profit entities.
The study area includes the coastline of Santa Monica Bay and adjacent areas, from Will Rogers State Beach to Torrance Beach, including the areas in and around Ballona Creek and the Baldwin Hills and the San Pedro Section of the City of Los Angeles, excluding the Port of Los Angeles north of Crescent Avenue. The Department has concerns about the extent of the study area including the amount of private property within the area, the number of mandated consulting parties, and the list of prescribed alternatives and specific objectives, which are not typically included in a special resource study. If the committee decides to act on this bill, we would appreciate the opportunity to recommend amendments to address these issues.
Ms. Chairwoman, this concludes my statement. I would be pleased to answer any questions you or other members of the Subcommittee may have.