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Conservancy group releases list of natural treasures in U.S. State of California

04-07-2011 12:56 BJT

The Nature Conservancy on Wednesday released a list of top 10 natural treasures in California as Congress considers funding cuts for parks.

The Angeles National Forest, the Santa Monica Mountains and the Channel Islands are among the Golden State's top 10 natural treasures in the list.

The list was released after Republicans put forward a budget proposal in the U.S. House of Representatives that would eliminate or drastically reduce several major fish and wildlife programs.

The move prompted conservation organizations from around the country to cry foul, including the Nature Conservancy, a national advocacy group for environmental protection.

The proposal would affect the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the North American Wetlands Conservation Act Grant Program, the State and Tribal Wildlife Grant Program, agricultural conservation programs and portions of the Clean Water Act.

Opponents of the cuts have been issuing news releases, holding conference calls and rallying members in an effort to preserve some if not all of the money, which amounts to about one half of one percent of the federal budget.

Nature Conservancy said it is especially worried about the LWCF, which could lose about 90 of its funding.

"Californians have really benefited from the Land and Water Conservation Fund," said Mike Sweeney, head of group's state chapter. "Many of our prized natural areas around the state, the places we think of as quintessentially Californian, exist because of this program. Although we are all facing tough budget decisions, this program is funded by oil and gas revenue and costs the taxpayers nothing."

Here's the group's "Top Ten California Treasures," in order of ranking:

-- Angeles National Forest, offering skiing, fishing and hiking;

-- Channel Islands National Park. The five islands -- Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara -- are home to plants and animals found nowhere else on earth;

-- Golden Gate National Recreation Area, including Muir Woods National Monument, Alcatraz Island and the Presidio of San Francisco;

-- Mojave National Preserve, 1.6 million acres and home to otherworldly plants and animals such as the Joshua tree and the desert tortoise;

-- Point Reyes National Seashore, including its dramatic headlands, beaches and forested ridges;

-- The Redwood National and State Parks, including 300-foot- plus trees creating natural cathedral;

-- San Bernardino National Forest, home to the Big Bear resorts and 11,499-foot Mount San Gorgonio;

-- San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, a haven for migratory birds;

-- Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the coastal range offers a getaway for city dwellers, stretching from Hollywood into Ventura County; and

-- Sequoia National Forest, home to Giant Sequoias that grow to more than 100 feet in circumference and 14,505-foot Mount Whitney, the highest point in the continental United States.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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