US Protection Sought For Scenic Region

WASHINGTON (AP) - A contingent of California environmental groups, businesses and politicians will use a visit from Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Friday to push for permanent protection of some 550 square miles of picturesque federal land near the state's famous wine country. The region lies generally to the east of the Napa-Sonoma wine country and stretches north from Lake Berryessa to the flanks of the Snow Mountains in the Mendocino National Forest. Dotted with rivers, lakes and scenic canyons, the area is home to black bears, mountain lions, tule elk and several rare plants species. Congress declined to pass legislation from Democratic Rep. Mike Thompson that would designate the land as a national conservation area. So Thompson and other supporters are pushing the Obama administration to designate it a national monument.