Global initiative gains hunter angler support in the U.S.

By Laura Bies

Sportsmen and women groups have come together to support a goal of preserving 30% of U.S. lands and waters. Credit: BLM Colorado

The “30 by 30” global initiative — a goal of setting aside at least 30% of all lands and waters by 2030 for conservation has gained new support from a coalition of hunting and angling groups.

The 13 groups involved launched a new website — Hunt Fish 30×30 — and issued a statement supporting the ideas behind the 30 by 30 initiative last week.

“As American’s original conservationists, the hunting and fishing community has proactively supported strategic efforts to conserve our nation’s terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems for more than a century,” the statement reads.

The sportsperson groups call for policy proposals that include “recognition of the positive role that hunting and fishing play in conservation; protected area definitions that allow for well-managed and sustainable wildlife-dependent activities; consideration of existing protected areas in measuring progress toward stated goals; targeted, science-based conservation measures developed through a stakeholder-driven process to address biodiversity threats; and clearly defined roles and authorities for the entities charged with carrying out the 30 by 30 initiative proposal.” The groups emphasize that any legislation or administrative actions coming out of the 30 by 30 initiative needs to reflect the interests of sportsmen and women.

A year ago, Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) introduced a nonbinding resolution in the U.S. Senate supporting the 30 by 30 goal, which has also gained traction internationally. A companion measure was introduced in the House of Representative by Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) in Feb. 2020.

The resolution calls for “sequestering carbon and greenhouse gas emissions in the land and ocean of the United States” and “preventing extinction by recovering and restoring animal and plant species,” but does not discuss specific action items or funding sources.

The recommendation to protect 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030 was also included in a report released in July by the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. The report, “Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient, and Just America” includes hundreds of recommendations to help the country adapt to climate change, including the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.

The congressional resolutions supporting the 30 by 30 initiative have not been passed — and would be non-binding even if they did. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has included the 30 by 30 goal in his environmental platform, while the Trump administration has not indicated a position on the initiative in the U.S.

Laura BiesLaura Bies is a government relations contractor and freelance writer for The Wildlife Society. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science and a law degree from George Washington University. Laura has worked with The Wildlife Society since 2005. Read more of Laura's articles.

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