(USNewsMag.com) – Two new national monuments were designated by President Joe Biden March 21. The announcement was made during a summit about conservation between officials and tribal leaders. The summit was hosted by the Department of the Interior and the White House.
The Avi Kwa Ame National Monument is an area of about 506,000 acres in Southern Nevada, located in the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts, near the state line of Arizona and the state line of California.
The designation helps preserve Spirit Mountain in Nevada. The area contains Joshua trees, some of which could be older than 900 years old, as well as desert tortoises and bighorn sheep. More than 10 tribal nations consider the area to be a sacred site used for both tribal ceremonies and rituals. This is the largest area to go under federal protection of Biden’s presidency and a move he promised in November 2022.
The second area that was designated is Castner Range National Monument, 6,672 acres located in El Paso, Texas at Fort Bliss. The area was used as an Army training site during the Vietnam War, the Korean War as well as WWII.
The Castner Range closed in 1966. Protecting this area honors the veterans and service members as well as tribal nations. Historical, cultural and scientific items found in the area will also be protected. The protection of this area also allows for access to outdoor recreation on public land to be expanded. The area is currently managed by the Department of Defense who will continue management of the national monument.
Biden also directed Gina Raimondo, Secretary of Commerce, to consider the creation of a national marine sanctuary by issuing protections within 30 days for U.S. waters in the area of the Pacific Remote Islands.
The sanctuary would help Biden reach his goal of conserving 30% of U.S. ocean waters by the year 2030.
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