Compilation of Weekly Presidential Documents - January 22, 2001 - Proclamation 7397--establishment of the Sonoran Desert National Monument

Monday, January 22, 2001


Volume 37, Issue 3; ISSN: 0511-4187


Proclamation 7397--establishment of the Sonoran Desert National Monument

William J Clinton



� January 17, 2001



� By the President of the United States of America



� A Proclamation



� The Sonoran Desert National Monument is a magnificent example of

untrammeled Sonoran desert landscape. The area encompasses a

functioning desert ecosystem with an extraordinary array of

biological, scientific, and historic resources. The most

biologically diverse of the North American deserts, the monument

consists of distinct mountain ranges separated by wide valleys, and

includes large saguaro cactus forest communities that provide

excellent habitat for a wide range of wildlife species.



� The monument's biological resources include a spectacular diversity

of plant and animal species. The higher peaks include unique

woodland assemblages, while the lower elevation lands offer one of

the most structurally complex examples of palo verde/mixed cacti

association in the Sonoran Desert. The dense stands of leguminous

trees and cacti are dominated by saguaros, Palo-verde trees,

ironwood, prickly pear, and cholla. Important natural water holes,

known as tinajas, exist throughout the monument. The endangered

acuna pineapple cactus is also found in the monument.



� The most striking aspect of the plant communities within the

monument are the abundant saguaro cactus forests. The saguaro is a

signature plant of the Sonoran Desert. Individual saguaro plants are

indeed magnificent, but a forest of these plants, together with the

wide variety of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants that make up

the forest community, is an impressive site to behold. The saguaro

cactus forests within the monument are a national treasure, rivaling

those within the Saguaro National Park.



� The rich diversity, density, and distribution of plants in the Sand

Tank Mountains area of the monument is especially striking and can

be attributed to the management regime in place since the area was

withdrawn for military purposes in 1941. In particular, while some

public access to the area is allowed, no livestock grazing has

occurred for nearly 50 years. To extend the extraordinary diversity

and overall ecological health of the Sand Tanks Mountains area, land

adjacent and with biological resources similar to the area withdrawn

for military purposes should be subject to a similar management

regime to the fullest extent possible.



� The monument contains an abundance of packrat middens, allowing for

scientific analysis of plant species and climates in past eras.

Scientific analysis of the midden shows that the area received far

more precipitation 20,000 years ago, and slowly became more arid.

Vegetation for the area changed from juniper-oak-pinion pine

woodland to the vegetation found today in the Sonoran Desert,

although a few plants from the more mesic period, including the Kofa

Mountain barberry, Arizona rosewood, and junipers, remain on higher

elevations of north-facing slopes.



� The lower elevations and flatter areas of the monument contain the

creosote-bursage plant community. This plant community thrives in

the open expanses between the mountain ranges, and connects the

other plant communities together. Rare patches of desert grassland

can also be found throughout the monument, especially in the Sand

Tank Mountains area. The washes in the area support a much denser

vegetation community than the surrounding desert, including

mesquite, ironwood, paloverde, desert honeysuckle, chuperosa, and

desert willow, as well as a variety of herbaceous plants. This

vegetation offers the dense cover bird species need for successful

nesting, foraging, and escape, and birds heavily use the washes

during migration.



� The diverse plant communities present in the monument support a

wide variety of wildlife, including the endangered Sonoran

pronghorn, a robust population of desert bighorn sheep, especially

in the Maricopa Mountains area, and other mammalian species such as

mule deer, javelina, mountain lion, gray fox, and bobcat. Bat

species within the monument include the endangered lesser long-nosed

bat, the California lead-nosed bat, and the cave myotis. Over 200

species of birds are found in the monument, including 59 species

known to nest in the Vekol Valley area. Numerous species of raptors

and owls inhabit the monument, including the elf owl and the western

screech owl. The monument also supports a diverse array of reptiles

and amphibians, including the Sonoran desert tortoise and the

red-backed whiptail. The Bureau of Land Management has designated

approximately 25,000 acres of land in the Maricopa Mountains area as

critical habitat for the desert tortoise. The Vekol Valley and Sand

Tank Mountain areas contain especially diverse and robust

populations of amphibians. During summer rainfall events, thousands

of Sonoran green toads in the Vekol Valley can be heard moving

around and calling out.



� The monument also contains many significant archaeological and

historic sites, including rock art sites, lithic quarries, and

scattered artifacts. Vekol Wash is believed to have been an

important prehistoric travel and trade corridor between the Hohokam

and tribes located in what is now Mexico. Signs of large villages

and permanent habitat sites occur throughout the area, and

particularly along the bajadas of the Table Top Mountains. Occupants

of these villages were the ancestors of today's O'odham, Quechan,

Cocopah, Maricopa, and other tribes. The monument also contains a

much used trail corridor 23 miles long in which are found remnants

of several important historic trails, including the Juan Bautista de

Anza National Historic Trail, the Mormon Battalion Trail, and the

Butterfield Overland Stage Route.



� Section 2 of the Act of June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431),

authorizes the President, in his discretion, to declare by public

proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric

structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest

that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the

Government of the United States to be national monuments, and to

reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in

all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with the

proper care and management of the objects to be protected.



� Whereas, it appears that it would be in the public interest to

reserve such lands as a national monument to be known as the Sonoran

Desert National Monument.



� Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United

States of America, by the authority vested in me by section 2 of the

Act of June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431), do proclaim that

there are hereby set apart and reserved as the Sonoran Desert

National Monument, for the purpose of protecting the objects

identified above, all lands and interest in lands owned or

controlled by the United States within the boundaries of the area

described on the map entitled "Sonoran Desert National Monument"

attached to and forming a part of this proclamation. The Federal

land and interests in land reserved consist of approximately 486,149

acres, which is the smallest area compatible with the proper care

and management of the objects to be protected.



� For the purpose of protecting the objects identified above, all

motorized and mechanized vehicle use off road will be prohibited,

except for emergency or authorized administrative purposes.



� Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to enlarge or diminish

the jurisdiction of the State of Arizona with respect to fish and

wildlife management.



� The establishment of this monument is subject to valid existing




� All Federal lands and interests in lands within the boundaries of

this monument are hereby appropriated and withdrawn from all forms

of entry, location, selection, sale, or leasing or other disposition

under the public land laws, including but not limited to withdrawal

from location, entry, and patent under the mining laws, and from

disposition under all laws relating to mineral and geothermal

leasing, other than by exchange that furthers the protective

purposes of the monument. Lands and interests in lands within the

monument not owned by the United States shall be reserved as a part

of the monument upon acquisition of title thereto by the United




� This proclamation does not reserve water as a matter of Federal law

nor relinquish any water rights held by the Federal Government

existing on this date. The Federal land management agencies shall

work with appropriate State authorities to ensure that water

resources needed for monument purposes are available.



� The Secretary of the Interior shall manage the monument through the

Bureau of Land Management, pursuant to applicable legal authorities,

to implement the purposes of this proclamation. That portion

identified as Area A on the map, however, shall be managed under the

management arrangement established by section 3 of Public Law No.

99-- 606, 100 Stat. 3460-61, until November 6, 2001, at which time,

pursuant to section 5(a) of Public Law No. 99-606, 100 Stat. 346263,

the military withdrawal terminates. At that time, the Secretary of

the Interior shall assume management responsibility for Area A

through the Bureau of Land Management.



� The Secretary of the Interior shall prepare a management plan that

addresses the actions, including road closures or travel

restrictions, necessary to protect the objects identified in this




� Laws, regulations, and policies followed by the Bureau of Land

Management in issuing and administering grazing permits or leases on

all lands under its jurisdiction shall continue to apply with regard

to the lands in the monument; provided, however, that grazing

permits on Federal lands within the monument south of Interstate

Highway 8 shall not be renewed at the end of their current term; and

provided further, that grazing on Federal lands north of Interstate

8 shall be allowed to continue only to the extent that the Bureau of

Land Management determines that grazing is compatible with the

paramount purpose of protecting the objects identified in this




� Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to revoke any existing

withdrawal, reservation, or appropriation; however, the national

monument shall be the dominant reservation.



� Nothing in this proclamation shall preclude low level overflights

of military aircraft, the designation of new units of special use

airspace, or the use or establishment of military flight training

routes over the lands included in this proclamation.



� In order to protect the public during operations at the adjacent

Barry M. Goldwater Range, and to continue management practices that

have resulted in an exceptionally well preserved natural resource,

the current procedures for public access to the portion of the

monument depicted as Area A on the attached map shall remain in full

force and effect, except to the extent that the United States Air

Force agrees to different procedures which the Bureau of Land

Management determines are compatible with the protection of the

objects identified in this proclamation.



� Warning is hereby given to all unauthorized persons not to

appropriate, injure, destroy, or remove any feature of this monument

and not to locate or settle upon any of the lands thereof.



� In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this seventeenth

day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand one, and of the

Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and




� William J. Clinton



� [Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 8:45 am., January




� NOTE: This proclamation was published in the Federal Register on

January 22.




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