Congress Passes Garamendi’s Delta National Heritage Area Act
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Davis, Fairfield, Yuba City) announced the House passage of the Sacramento-San Joaquin National Heritage Area Act. The legislation passed by a vote of 363 to 62.
The bill provides $10 million for community-based efforts to conserve the Delta’s cultural heritage, historical landmarks, and natural beauty. Congressman Garamendi, the former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior under President Bill Clinton, reintroduced this legislation in January. The bill passed the Senate on February 12, 2019 and now heads to the President’s desk for signature.
“A National Heritage Area designation will provide crucial support for the Delta, which I have called home for over 40 years. We must safeguard this iconic working landscape and the most productive watershed in the western United States, and I am pleased that Congress has finally passed my legislation to make that possible,” said Garamendi. “I thank my colleagues in the House for their strong support, and Senator Feinstein for championing the bill in the Senate.”
“I’m proud that the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta will become California’s first National Heritage Area,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein. "This was a bill I first introduced with Senator Boxer, and I’m pleased that with Congressman Garamendi’s help it’s finally on the cusp of becoming law. The overdue heritage designation will preserve the delta’s rich culture and traditions and ensure it remains an economic engine for the region’s economy.”
The legislation (H.R.357) is endorsed by the Delta Stewardship Council, Delta Counties Coalition (Sacramento, Solano, Contra Costa, Yolo, San Joaquin), Delta Chambers and Visitor’s Bureau, Delta Protection Commission, National Parks Conservation Association, Restore the Delta, and Solano County.
Garamendi’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area Act would establish the first National Heritage Area in California’s history. A National Heritage Area designation will authorize $10 million in federal grant funding over 15 years to provide matching grants to local governments, historical societies, and community nonprofit organizations throughout the Delta. This funding will support cultural and historical preservation and environmental conservation projects under a locally developed management plan, coordinated by California’s Delta Protection Commission.
As confirmed by the National Park Service, which administers the National Heritage Area grant program, designations do not affect individual property rights in any way nor do they restrict local land use decisions, water rights, landownership, or hunting and fishing within the designated heritage area.
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has sponsored the Senate companion bill to Garamendi’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area Act since 2010.
Reps. Jerry McNerney (D-CA09), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA11), Mike Thompson (D-CA05), and Doris O. Matsui (D-CA06), are each original cosponsors of H.R. 357.