Here’s the official release from the Interior Department:
WASHINGTON – Today the Biden-Harris administration outlined a vision for how the United States can work collaboratively to conserve and restore the lands, waters, and wildlife that support and sustain the nation. The recommendations are contained in a report released today, outlining a locally led and voluntary nationwide conservation goal to conserve 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.
The report 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.
The report, submitted to the National Climate Task Force, was developed by the U.S. Departments of the Interior, Agriculture and Commerce, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality. It outlines eight principles that should guide the nationwide effort, including a pursuit of collaborative approaches; a commitment to supporting the voluntary conservation efforts of farmers, ranchers, and fishers; and honoring of Tribal sovereignty and private property rights.
“The President’s challenge is a call to action to support locally led conservation and restoration efforts of all kinds and all over America, wherever communities wish to safeguard the lands and waters they know and love,” write Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, and White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory in the report. “Doing so will not only protect our lands and waters but also boost our economy and support jobs nationwide.”
Based on feedback gathered in the Administration’s first 100 days, the report identifies six priority areas for the administration’s early focus, investments, and collaboration:
Creating more parks and safe outdoor opportunities in nature-deprived communities.
Supporting Tribally led conservation and restoration priorities.
Expanding collaborative conservation of fish and wildlife habitats and corridors.
Increasing access for outdoor recreation.
Incentivizing and rewarding the voluntary conservation efforts of fishers, ranchers, farmers, and forest owners.
Creating jobs by investing in restoration and resilience projects and initiatives, including the Civilian Climate Corps.
The Biden-Harris administration is already taking steps to support outdoor recreation and equitable access to the outdoors:
In late April, USDA expanded the Conservation Reserve Program by offering new incentives, higher rental rates, and more focused attention on sensitive lands with a goal of enrolling 4 million acres and capturing 3.6 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent in this voluntary conservation program.
This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a proposal for the largest expansion in recent history of hunting and sport fishing opportunities for game species?across?2.1 million acres at?90 national wildlife refuges and?on the lands of?one?national fish hatchery.?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently announced the expansion of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, nearly tripling the size of the sanctuary and protecting 14 reefs and banks that are habitat for recreationally important fish.
In the coming days, the National Park Service will announce $150 million in funding for the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program, which helps build parks in underserved communities.
NOAA is working in partnership with the State of Connecticut to create a living classroom for education, research, and recreation by designating a National Estuarine Research Reserve in Long Island Sound. The final designation paperwork is expected by January 2022, which will make it the 30th estuary reserve in the national system.
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.
In line with Executive Order 14008, the agencies developed the recommendations after hearing from Tribal leaders, governors and their staff, Members of Congress and their staff, county officials, state elected officials, state fish and wildlife agencies, leaders on equity and justice in conservation policy, environmental advocacy organizations, hunting and fishing organizations, regional fisheries management councils, farming and ranching organizations, trade associations, forestry representatives, outdoor recreation businesses and users, the seafood industry, and others.?
The report recommends additional dialogue with key partners – including states and Tribes – to inform early collaborative conservation efforts and the development of the American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas.
“This report is only the starting point on the path to fulfilling the conservation vision that President Biden has outlined,” says the report. “Where this path leads over the next decade will be determined not by our agencies, but by the ideas and leadership of local communities. It is our job to listen, learn, and provide support along the way to help strengthen economies and pass on healthy lands, waters, and wildlife to the generations to come.”
Fishing and hunting groups have lauded the decision. Here’s reaction from the National Wildlife Federation:
DENVER (May 6, 2021) — The Biden administration’s ambitious plan to conserve 30 percent of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030 in a newly unveiled plan, dubbed Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful, will help restore degraded wildlife habitat, increase hunting and fishing opportunities, and tackle the climate crisis by providing much needed investments in our public, private, and Tribal lands and waters.
“For more than a century, hunters and anglers have played an important role in conserving our nation’s lands, waters and ecosystems. President Biden’s conservation and restoration plan provides a national framework to scale up locally-led conservation and restoration projects, which will enhance sporting opportunities and biodiversity, and begin to tackle the climate crisis,” said Aaron Kindle, director of sporting advocacy at the National Wildlife Federation. “Hunters and anglers are encouraged by this conservation blueprint and look forward to working with the administration and our partners to see these improvements come to life.” Visit the National Wildlife Federation Media Center at NWF.org/News.
UPDATE: Here’s more reaction from the Land Trust Alliance:
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 6, 2021) – The Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization working to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America, today applauded release of the Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful report.
Building on the United States president’s earlier executive order committing to the goal of conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and oceans by 2030, this new report affirms the administration’s commitment to voluntary private land conservation and the protection of private property rights. The following statement can be attributed to Andrew Bowman, president & CEO of the Land Trust Alliance:
“Alongside our nearly 1,000 member land trusts, the Land Trust Alliance supports the goals, principles and recommendations outlined in the Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful report. The report recognizes the importance of safeguarding the lands that Americans know and love, and how central locally led conservation efforts will be to conserving 30% of our lands and waters by 2030.
“The Land Trust Alliance stands ready to work with the administration to secure greater incentives and rewards for voluntary land conservation in America. And the land trust community will do its part – in partnership with farmers, ranchers, forest landowners, fishermen, tribes, government officials and others who make local land conservation so effective – to make the 30×30 goal a reality.”
More information about this issue and the role land trusts expect to play in supporting their communities is available at https://www.landtrustalliance.org/30×30.
About the Land Trust Alliance
Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance
represents nearly 1,000 member land trusts supported by more than 200,000 volunteers and 4.6 million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C., and operates several regional offices. More information about the Alliance is available at www.landtrustalliance.org.