Biden designates new national monuments in Texas, Nevada to protect land

The new national monuments are the Castner Range National Monument in Texas and the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada. The new marine sanctuary would include a large portion of the Pacific Ocean.

President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that his administration is establishing two new national monuments and a new marine sanctuary.

According to the White House, creating the new marine sanctuary and national monuments advances the President’s America the Beautiful Initiative. The initiative sets to conserve and restore 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.

"Our country’s national treasures define our identity as a nation – they’re a birthright, a birthright that we have to pass down generation after generation," said President Biden during his announcement at the White House Conservation in Action Summit.

Castner Range National Monument

The president established two national monuments. One of which is the Castner Range National Monument in El Paso, Texas.

Consisting of more than 6,600 acres, the monument will be located on Fort Bliss Military Base, which served as the training and testing site for the Army from 1926 to 1966.

Before its use as a military site, the Castner Range was home to the Apache and Pueblo peoples and the Comanche Nation, the Hopi Tribe, and the Kiowa Indian Tribe of Oklahoma, the White House said.


From a cultural perspective, the area contains more than 40 known archeological sites, including living structures, hearths, remnants of pottery and other tools, as well as a myriad of petroglyphs and images on the rock faces, according to the White House.

From an ecological perspective, the Castner Range is an area of high biodiversity and contains a high concentration of natural springs.

Avi Kwa Ame National Monument

The second national monument is the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in southern Nevada.

Consisting of more than 506,000 acres, the monument will include the Avi Kwa Ame mountain, which is considered one of the most sacred sites in the world to a number of Native American tribal nations, according to the White House.


Like the Castner Range, the area surrounding the Avi Kwa Ame mountain is the site of prehistoric artifacts, pictographs, shelters and other signs of prehistoric indigenous occupation dating back hundreds and thousands of years.

Additionally, the White House said the area is home to one of the world’s most extensive Joshua tree forests and provides continuous habitat or migration corridors for the desert bighorn sheep, desert tortoise, Gila monster and other species.

Pacific Remote Islands

Part of Biden's announcement also includes having the Secretary of Commerce consider creating a marine sanctuary designation around the Pacific Remote Islands within the next 30 days, the White House said.

The marine sanctuary would conserve 777,000 square miles, which covers the existing Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, along with submerged lands and waters that are currently protected.


According to the White House, the region has a rich ancestral tie for many Native Hawaiian and Pacific Island communities.

If designated as a marine sanctuary, the move would allow the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – which is part of the Department of Commerce – to conduct further studies on the region’s scientific, cultural and ancestral linkages, and manage the sanctuary accordingly.