Biden to create two new national monuments in Nevada and Texas

US President Joe Biden on Tuesday will create two new national monuments, in Nevada and Texas, and launch an effort to consider expanding protections for all waters around remote Pacific islands southwest of Hawaii.

The moves, which will be announced at a White House summit on conservation, are aimed at delivering on Biden’s goal to conserve at least 30 percent of federal lands and waters by 2030.

The two new national monuments will conserve 514,000 acres (208,008 hectares) of public land. They include Avi Kwa Ame, the Mojave name for Spirit Mountain, in Southern Nevada. The site is sacred to tribes including the Paiute and Chemehuevi, and provides habitat for species such as desert bighorn sheep, desert tortoise and a Joshua tree forest.

Biden will also name Castner Range in El Paso, Texas as a national monument. Castner is a former training and testing location for the US Army and has more than 40 known archeological sites with pottery remnants, petroglyphs and living structures.

The location is also rich in desert species including spring blooms of the Mexican Poppy and provides habitat for wildlife like the golden eagle, Texas horned lizard and western burrowing owl. The designation will provide communities that have historically had less access to public lands with opportunities to experience nature and explore, the White House said.

Biden will also direct the Commerce Secretary to consider initiating a new marine sanctuary designation for all US waters around the Pacific Remote Islands.

The designation would expand on the existing Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument established by former President George W. Bush in 2009 and expanded by former President Barack Obama in 2014.

Biden will also direct the secretaries of Commerce and Interior to begin a process to consider renaming the monument and islands to honor the area’s native heritage and recognize the native Hawaiians who secured US territorial claim to the islands.

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