Initial report details vision for 10-year, locally led and voluntary nationwide effort to restore and conserve America’s lands, waters, and wildlife
LAS VEGAS — Today the Biden-Harris Administration outlined a nationwide plan to restore and conserve America’s lands, waters, and wildlife. The report, Conserving and Restoring American the Beautiful, contains recommendations for a locally-driven and voluntary nationwide goal to conserve 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.
The report, developed by the U.S. Departments of the Interior, Agriculture and Commerce, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality, calls for a decade-long effort to support locally led and voluntary conservation and restoration efforts across public, private, and Tribal lands and waters in order to create jobs and strengthen the economy’s foundation; tackle the climate and nature crises; and address inequitable access to the outdoors.
“Working to conserve and restore 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030 will guard against the worst effects of climate change and help protect Nevada’s fish and wildlife from extreme heat and dangerous droughts,” said Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak. “Today, by laying out a vision to reach this ambitious conservation goal, the Biden administration continues to deliver on conservation and climate action by supporting local conservation driven and supported by Nevadans.”
Nevada legislators are championing state and county resolutions that commits the state to achieving the 30 by 30 benchmark. In February, District 16 Assemblywoman González introduced AJR 3 in the Nevada Legislature to support a statewide conservation goal, which has passed the Nevada State Assembly and is now being considered by the State Senate. Last month, Clark County strengthened their conservation commitment with a unanimous passage of a Clark County 30 by 30 resolution, championed by District F Commissioner Justin Jones.
“Conservationists, climate experts, and environmental scientists have made it clear: Taking immediate and bold action is the only way to address the nature and climate crisis. And Nevadans are standing with them, with 82 percent of Nevada voters supporting a national 30 by 30 benchmark,” said Assemblywoman Cecelia González. “I thank President Biden and Secretary Haaland for answering our call by setting a national 30 by 30 goal that restores pride in outdoor spaces and gives Nevada an opportunity to be conservation leaders.”
“Conserving 30 percent of lands and waters by 2030 allows us to meet the scale of challenges facing Nevada’s environment, including biodiversity loss and threats of drilling on our public lands,” said Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones. “With the Biden administration providing national leadership to a bold conservation policy of 30 by 30, we can support locally-led conservation efforts already underway in Nevada, and implement strong collaborative processes that engage local communities, landowners, hunters, fishers, off-road enthusiasts, Indigenous peoples, and other stakeholders.”
In Nevada, other government leaders and the public have indicated support for the ambitious conservation goal. In March, a bipartisan array of 70 mayors from across the country, including Nevada Mayors Hillary Schieve and Daniel Corona, signed on to a letter pledging their support of the 30 by 30 initiative. Additionally, a recent poll from Colorado College indicated that 82 percent of Nevadans support a national 30 by 30 benchmark and 90 percent agree that even with state budget problems, we should still find money to conserve the state’s land, water, and wildlife.
With Nevada’s abundance of public lands, natural resources, and wildlife, the state has the unique opportunity to lead in this effort and contribute greatly to a national goal.
The report outlines eight principles that should guide the nationwide effort:
- Pursue a Collaborative and Inclusive Approach to Conservation by building on existing examples where collaboration and consensus-building have led to significant conservation outcomes.
- Conserve America’s Lands and Waters for the Benefit of All People. Center this effort on people and communities and recognize “oversized contributions” of farmers, ranchers, forest owners, fishers, hunters, rural communities, and Tribal Nations
- Support Locally Led and Locally Designed Conservation Efforts. The Federal Government should support local communities to achieve their own conservation priorities and vision. Conservation and restoration efforts should also be regionally balanced.
- Honor Tribal Sovereignty and Support the Priorities of Tribal Nation. Recognize the sovereign authority and treaty rights of Tribal Nations. Federal agencies should seek to support and help advance the priorities of American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Indigenous leaders.
- Pursue Conservation and Restoration Approaches that Create Jobs and Support Healthy Communities. Seek economic benefits of conservation and restoration. Jobs can be created by healthy fisheries, wildfire mitigation work, outdoor recreation including hunting and fishing.
- Honor Private Property Rights and Support the Voluntary Stewardship Efforts of Private Landowners and Fishers. Efforts to conserve and restore America’s lands and waters must respect the rights of private property owners. The voluntary conservation efforts of private landowners and the science-based approaches of fishery managers should be recognized and rewarded.
- Use Science as a Guide. To inform decisions, use the best available science and the recommendations of top scientists and subject matter experts, and make this information transparent and accessible. This includes Indigenous and Traditional Ecological Knowledge.
To help measure and track progress toward the nation’s first conservation goal, the report calls for the establishment of an interagency working group, led by the U.S. Geological Survey, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and NOAA in partnership with other land and ocean management agencies. The working group will develop the American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas, a tool that will better reflect the voluntary contributions of farmers, ranchers, forest owners and private landowners; the contributions of fishery management councils; and other existing conservation designations on lands and waters across federal, state, local, Tribal, and private lands and waters across the nation.