Release: Biden 30x30 plan emphasizes landowners’ key role in conservation’s future
May 6, 2021
Santa Fe, NM – The Biden administration today released a long-anticipated report detailing their proposal to conserve 30 percent of US lands and waters by 2030 (known as 30x30). While the initiative has generated significant speculation and controversy, today’s report appears to indicate a determination on the part of the administration to chart solid middle ground.
“The 30 by 30 initiative has sparked an overdue national conversation about what it means to conserve our land and natural resources, how that is accomplished and who gets to decide,” said Lesli Allison, executive director of the Western Landowners Alliance. “No one wants to live in a world that is all strip malls, subdivisions and factory food, but that is where we are headed. If we care about what remains of our natural heritage, food and water security, it’s time to have this conversation, but it can’t be top-down and it must be informed and led by those closest to the ground.
“We are pleased to see that the administration is taking seriously that conservation is more than just setting land aside. It is really about how we steward the land. The report suggests they understand that economics matter. Farmers and ranchers need to be able to earn a reasonable livelihood providing the many goods and services that society needs, such as food and fiber, but also things like wildlife habitat and healthy forests.”
The report acknowledges the role private landowners and working lands already play in conserving and stewarding land and natural resources. It also prioritizes respect for private property rights, increased support for voluntary conservation efforts by landowners, expanded farm bill conservation programs, locally-led conservation and better consultation on the management of public lands and waters. Significantly, the report does not define “what counts” as conservation under 30x30 but rather recommends an interagency working group between the NRCS and USGS as well as an ongoing stakeholder engagement process to develop specific goals and strategies under the initiative.
“They say we are losing a football field’s worth of land to development every two and a half minutes in the West,” Allison said. “It’s mostly private land that is being lost—the same land that supports most of the remaining biodiversity as well as our food system and rural livelihoods. We can only change this with the engagement and support of landowners and rural communities. We are encouraged to see recognition of this in today’s report.”
WLA’s report “Redefining Conservation for the 21st Century” - https://wla.social/redefining-conservation-21
Louis Wertz, Communications Director