LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Nevada environmental advocates from all corners of the state today praised President Joe Biden for taking bold action to protect the environment with an executive order that commits to preserving 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.
“Currently, only 12 percent of our nation’s lands and 26 percent of our oceans fall under conservation protections,” said Paul Selberg, executive director for the Nevada Conservation League. “Given the last four years of prioritizing dirty fossil fuels and stripping protections for national monuments, parks, and other conservation designations, this executive order is a clear signal that the Biden Administration will fight to protect our public lands, pristine waters, and diverse wildlife.”
“Today marks a long-awaited return to serious action on climate change, land conservation, and science-based decision making in the White House. The 30 by 30 initiative is an important component of preventing a climate catastrophe and gives us the unique opportunity to reshape the conservation agenda to include indigenous communities and voices, which have historically been left out of these critical conversations,” said Nevada Assemblywoman Cecelia González of District 16. “As a state home to millions of acres of public land, Nevada will be a key player in helping our nation achieve this ambitious goal, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in all levels of government to ensure a better future for our planet.”
“Nevada and our public land treasures will play an outsized role in helping the nation meet its collective 30 by 30 target. We look forward to working with community leaders in the state to conserve the proposed Avi Kwa Ame National Monument, proposed expansions to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, and other places that protect our wildlife and biodiversity and help fight the climate crisis,” said Bertha Gutierrez, associate program director for the Conservation Lands Foundation in Nevada.
“Habitat loss throughout America has put one-third of our country’s wildlife species at increased risk of extinction. Here in Nevada, our sagebrush ecosystem is under imminent threat due to our state’s rapid human expansion into this vital habitat. A broad and ambitious approach needs to be made to address this major issue if we plan to leave our landscapes and wildlife in better a condition than we received them. That is why we applaud President Biden and his administration in supporting and considering the 30×30 conservation plan to identify these critical habitat areas and work to protect and conserve them for future generations to experience and enjoy,” said Russell Kuhlman, executive director of the Nevada Wildlife Federation.
“We applaud the Biden administration’s bold move to protect 30 percent of lands and waters by 2030 — a desperately-needed effort to combat the climate and extinction crises devastating our communities and the natural world,” said Anne Macquarie, chair of the Sierra Club’s Toiyabe Chapter in Nevada. “This devastation requires us to take urgent action. Public lands, forests, wetlands, and green spaces in Nevada can play a huge role in meeting our global climate and biodiversity-protection goals. If conserved effectively, our state’s natural areas will sequester carbon and protect the many important species that are unique to this state, while moving us toward the 30 percent protections we need.”
“This executive order by President Biden provides strong leadership to help achieve the goals of protecting and connecting 30 percent of lands and waters by 2030 and will empower states like Nevada to exercise their own authority and use innovative tools to do the same,” said Rachael Hamby, Western lands policy analyst for Western Resource Advocates. “Nevada already has 15 percent of its lands protected and is well positioned to lead. This action by the Biden administration will help states collaborate with stakeholders and federal management agencies to close the gap to 30 percent by 2030. We look forward to working with the state’s leaders to create an actionable plan for protecting 30 by 30 here in the Silver State.”
“Protecting 30 percent of the planet by 2030 is about ensuring that wildlife and humans survive and thrive. It’s about positioning our world and our state for resiliency and success. It’s about ensuring that protections for land and waters are durable and inclusive of all ecosystems. For this to be truly successful, we must always consider equity and accountability,” said Mauricia Baca, Nevada state director of The Nature Conservancy.
“As the world and the USA move forward with embracing the protection of 30 percent of the world by 2030, Nevada is well-positioned to help the effort,” said Shaaron Netherton, executive director for Friends of Nevada Wilderness. “Nevada is blessed to have so much public land belonging to all Americans and because of that, Nevada can play an important role in helping conserve lands for wildlife and for pushing back on climate change.”
“The Biden administration’s land and waters conservation goals are bold, achievable, and necessary for our country to protect and connect in the face of climate change. In Southern Nevada, we can make progress by protecting ecologically and culturally significant public lands at Avi Kwa Ame, a landscape sacred to Native American tribes,” said Neal Desai, senior director of field operations of the National Parks Conservation Association. “The area is rich in history and wild nature, and would also connect lands including Mojave National Preserve and Castle Mountains National Monument in California, with Lake Mead and the Colorado River plateau.”
“We thank the Biden administration for acting so aggressively to protect our environment and public lands. Preserving 30 percent of America’s land and waters will help us stave off the worst effects of global climate change by protecting natural resources, wildlife, and critical ecosystems. Under the Trump administration, climate change was ignored, and our public lands were ransacked by oil and gas corporations. Biden’s actions today put us back on the right track of keeping critical habitats and our biodiversity of keystone species preserved. We welcome this new, bold leadership to prevent and mitigate climate change, invest in our communities, and preserve our public lands and outdoor spaces for generations to come,” said Annette Magnus, executive director of Battle Born Progress.
The need for bold action to protect our last remaining wilderness and wildlife could not be overstated. A 2019 United Nations report estimated that about a million species are at risk of extinction across the planet, and America’s biodiversity is declining hundreds of times faster than the historical rate. Protecting 30 percent of the planet by 2030 will help boost the populations of wildlife enough to withstand climate change and other human disturbances, such as pollution and agriculture.
President Biden’s executive order will support the ongoing efforts of Nevada’s environmental groups and advocates to advance the 30 by 30 movement in the state. With 87 percent of Nevada’s lands being federally managed, President Biden’s executive order will be a great boon to our mission to protect Nevada’s waters, air, people, and lands.