Over the weekend, Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 2900 (Plescia, R-San Diego), which creates the California Natural Landmarks program, a move that is applauded by environmental groups and landowners alike. The bill was sponsored by both Audubon California and the Resource Landowners Coalition.

The California Natural Landmarks program is designed to highlight and recognize the best examples of biological and geological features in both public and private ownership, enhance the scientific and educational value of sites preserved, and strengthen public appreciation of California's natural history. It is an entirely voluntary program that will hopefully foster greater stewardship of natural resources and new partnerships between public and private entities.

"We are blessed to have so many majestic natural landmarks to enjoy right here in our own backyard. Good stewardship of these lands is very important to ensure they will be preserved for future generations to experience," said Assembly Republican leader George Plescia, the bill's author. "I commend the Governor for signing this common-sense measure into law. I am hopeful that my legislation will encourage more Californians to appreciate our state's environmental heritage and preserve our natural wonders."

"The Natural Landmark program is an important way to recognize and encourage stewardship of important natural resources," said Graham Chisholm, Conservation Director of Audubon California. "We also believe the program will lead to new partnerships and opportunities, particularly with private landowners, to recognize and assist in the conservation of these important resources."

"The Natural Landmark program will recognize and highlight the best biological and geological features in both public and private ownership, while at the same time providing an avenue for educating and strengthening public appreciation of California's natural resources," said Jennifer West, who represents the Resource Landowners Coalition, a group of large landowners, farmers, ranchers and water agencies. "We commend Governor Schwarzenegger, Assembly Republican leader Plescia and the Legislature for their efforts in approving this important measure."

The full text of AB 2900 is available online at www.leginfo.ca.gov.
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