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Interior Sec. Salazar Rescues Drakes Estero: an Environmental “Crown Jewel”

With the declaration that Drakes Estero at Point Reyes National Seashore in California is one of the crown jewels of our nation, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar issued his decision on November 29that the lease of a commercial oyster farm along the Seashore will not be renewed, that current operations must cease, and the property cleared within 90 days. The announcement fulfills a Congressional directive dating from 1976 that the commercial lease would end in 2012, allowing the Estero to be restored as the last pristine marine wilderness on the West Coast. The recovery of the Estero will enrich the environmental and ecological significance of Point Reyes National Seashore and its span of more than 80 miles of California coastline. The multi-year campaign to save the Estero set the National Park Service and environmentalists including Resource Renewal Institute founder and head Huey Johnson against influential and well-funded politicians and commercial interests. In a message posted immediately after the Department of the Interior posted the decision, Mr. Johnson spoke not only for the environmental community but all in the nation who rely on state and federal agencies to protect lands held in the public trust. Defense of Place also applauds Secretary Salazar for the courage of his decision in the face of powerful voices, for his regard for Congressional original intent, and for his certitude when he said: Today we are fulfilling the vision to protect this special place for generations to come.


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