The Biden-Harris Administration’s “America the Beautiful” Initiative Earns Praise from Business, Agriculture, Hunting and Fishing, Conservation Communities, and from Tribal Leaders

Report Details Vision for 10-year, Locally Led and Voluntary Nationwide Effort to Restore and Conserve America’s Lands, Waters, and Wildlife

Washington, D.C. – Leaders across the business, agriculture, hunting, fishing, and conservation communities have joined Tribal leaders in applauding the Biden-Harris Administration’s “America the Beautiful” initiative, which was launched through a report that was submitted to the National Climate Task Force.

The “America the Beautiful” initiative is a national call to action to work collaboratively to conserve and restore the lands, waters, and wildlife that support and sustain the nation, and to pursue the first-ever national conservation goal – a goal of conserving 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.

Here’s what they are saying about the “America the Beautiful” initiative and report:

Business Leaders

Lise Aangeenburg, Executive Director of the Outdoor Industry Association:

“Our outdoor spaces are a place of refuge to safely socialize, not to mention improve physical and mental health. Prioritizing conservation of public lands and waters is critical to ensuring the outdoors remains accessible for everyone, mitigating the impacts of the climate crisis, and spurring economic recovery. This is the opportunity for which many of us have been waiting to enact long-lasting conservation goals, equitable access, and climate results that the outdoor industry, our communities, and the economy will depend on for generations to come.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

Jessica Turner, Executive Director of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR):

“The bottom line is that healthier public lands and waters mean more opportunities for Americans to recreate outside and for communities’ economies to thrive,” said Jessica Turner, executive director of Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “ORR supports the administration’s ‘Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful’ effort and we are encouraged by its goals to conserve and protect our nation’s lands and waters through science-based, locally led efforts that create access to motorized, non-motorized, fishing and hunting recreation opportunities for all. We are also particularly pleased that this report prioritizes recreation access that already exists, while recognizing that access be maintained sustainably in the future as places are conserved.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

Dave Tenny, Founding President and CEO of the National Alliance of Forest Owners:

“Private working forests are delivering conservation and environmental benefits at scale across the country. Modern forestry provides clean air and water, wildlife habitat, and jobs, all of which can help the Administration achieve its ambitious conservation goals.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

Frank Hugelmeyer, President of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA):

“As a community dependent on clean water, healthy fisheries, and reasonable and responsible access to our natural resources, implementing this plan will put us on a trajectory toward maintaining and advancing these conservation objectives. We appreciate the administration’s balanced approach to 30×30, and on behalf of the uniquely American-made recreational boating industry, NMMA strongly supports this collaborative effort.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

David Levine, The American Sustainable Business Council: 

“This is an important step forward in protecting our environment, addressing the climate crisis, and helping communities and sustainable businesses thrive. The principles established in this report clearly define the path our members will take from their brilliant bottom-up conservation approaches to real world implementation. Resource-dependent communities mean business, and our members’ meaningful participation can ensure fair, equitable, and durable conservation wins for all.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

Leigh Habegger, Executive Director of Seafood Harvesters of America:

“We share President Biden’s conservation vision, which recognizes that many uses of our lands and waters can be consistent with the long-term health and sustainability of natural systems. Area-based conservation measures are one of the important tools that scientists and managers have at their disposal in achieving marine biodiversity goals. In the United States, six Regional Fisheries Science Centers, together with eight Regional Fishery Management Councils, are advancing area-based ocean conservation based on the best available science. America’s seafood harvesters welcome the opportunity to build on those efforts over the coming decade, to ensure our oceans are healthy and productive even in the face of climate change.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

Agricultural Leaders

John Linder, President of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA):

“We’re pleased to learn of the emphasis on voluntary conservation measures. NCGA has long advocated that voluntary conservation efforts are the best ways to deliver sustainable results on the farm.” [Statement, 5/6]

Kaitlynn Glover, Executive Director of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council:

“We are pleased to see USDA and DOI incorporate many of the recommendations of America’s farmers and ranchers into this conservation plan. This is a productive starting point that builds on the input of a diverse array of stakeholders — and moving forward, our focus will be on holding the administration and federal agencies to it.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

Rob Larew, President of The National Farmers Union: 

“Today’s report understands the valuable work that family farmers are already doing to improve soil, water and air quality and commits to advancing that work in the future. We are glad to have clarity on the matter and look forward to continued collaboration with the administration to ensure these principles are followed.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

Zippy Duvall, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF):

“AFBF appreciates that the report acknowledges concerns we have raised and recognizes the oversized contributions of farmers and ranchers to conservation while feeding the world.” [Statement 5/6/21]

Fishing, Hunting, and Outdoor Recreation Leaders

Whit Fosburgh, President and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership: 

“We appreciate the administration’s focus on fostering collaborative solutions to conserve our lands and waters, while including feedback from sportsmen and sportswomen. Whether it be climate change or public access or habitat loss, the issues facing our outdoor places are multi-faceted and require thoughtful leadership. As this plan continues to take shape, the details will matter, and the hunting and fishing community is ready to bring solutions to the table.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

John Gale, Conservation Director of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 

“The Biden administration’s America the Beautiful plan offers a forward-thinking conversation agenda that will add specificity to its established goals and build meaningful strategies to address climate change and conservation of intact lands and waters,” said John Gale, conservation director of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. “Success depends on our ability to forge – and grow – real partnerships with a wide array of stakeholders, including tribal, state and local officials; private landowners; and hunters and anglers.”  [Statement, 5/6/21]

Chris Wood, President and CEO of Trout Unlimited:

“This is an excellent start. We appreciate that the administration sought our input on this plan, and that they took to heart our most important suggestion—the right way to conserve our lands, waters, and fisheries resources is to rely on partnership-based solutions. We look forward to using our decades of on-the-ground conservation experience to help the administration develop more detailed plans in the coming months.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

Jeff Crane, President and CEO of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation: 

“While we are still reviewing the framework in detail, we are encouraged by the recognition that successful conservation is locally-driven; incorporates the perspectives of a range of stakeholders; and includes partnerships at the local, state, and federal levels,” said CSF president and CEO Jeff Crane. “Additionally, we applaud the Administration for engaging with hunters and anglers through the Hunt Fish 30×30 coalition and were pleased to see that several recommendations offered by the group made it into the framework.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

Mike Leonard, Vice President of Government Affairs for the American Sportfishing Association:

“We are pleased that the Biden Administration is approaching 30 by 30 with an understanding of the significant cultural, economic and conservation benefits that recreational fishing provides to the nation. This report is notable not only for its incorporation of many positive strategies for how 30 by 30 should be implemented, including its emphasis on increasing access for outdoor recreation, but also for what it avoids, specifically by not recommending the pursuit of protected areas in which recreational fishing might be banned without a scientific basis.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

Jim Arnold, President of the Boone and Crockett Club:

“The Boone and Crockett Club supports the broad framework of this vision and welcomes the opportunity to work with the Administration to ensure that it leads to attainable landscape conservation that benefits those that live, work, and recreate in the areas where the vast amount of biodiversity in this country still remains….We appreciate that this administration has embraced the recommendations of the hunting and fishing community to ensure that the conservation foundation developed by visionaries like Theodore Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot, Aldo Leopold, and others continues into the 21st Century.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

Collin O’Mara, President & CEO of the National Wildlife Federation:

“What better way to put millions of Americans to work than by investing in the collaborative restoration of America’s forests, wetlands, grasslands, shrublands, waterways, urban parks, and coasts from sea to shining sea? President Biden’s historic and inspiring Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful plan rightly focuses on collaboration and restoration to conserve our nation’s unparalleled natural resources, rather than regulation and designations. It’s a visionary blueprint for how we can work together to recover the one-third of wildlife species at heightened risk of extinction, revitalize rural and urban communities, strengthen the outdoor economy, and bolster resilience to escalating climate-fueled megafires, floods, and hurricanes. Combined with significant investment in natural infrastructure restoration proposed in the American Jobs Plan, the America the Beautiful plan will accelerate collaborative conservation in every corner of the country by empowering local communities, Tribes, farmers, ranchers, forest stewards, and conservation partners to come together to conserve and restore our natural resources and ensure that all Americans have equitable access to nature.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

Tribal Leaders

Joint Statement from 13 Tribal Leaders, including Aaron Payment, Chairperson of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe; W. Ron Allen, Tribal Chair and CEO of Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe; Shannon Holsey, President of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians; Cheryl Andres-Maltais, Chairwoman of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head Aqinnah; and Erik Stegman, Executive Director of the Native Americans in Philanthropy:

“The 30×30 proposed policy serves as a vitally important opportunity to safeguard the environment and Tribal cultural values, strengthen the Nation-to-Nation relationship, and uphold Tribal sovereignty and self-determination. We have identified key priorities related to (1) Sovereignty, (2) Consultation, (3) Representation, (4) Resources, and (5) Evaluation to strengthen the government-to-government collaboration we must undertake to safeguard the environment,” the tribal leader statement says in part.” [Statement, 5/9/21]

Violet Sage Walker, Northern Chumash Tribal Council:

“The Northern Chumash Tribal Council applauds the Biden Administration’s initial 30×30 analysis and commitment not only to conservation, but to cooperative protection of our lands and ocean. We thank President Biden and his administration for making conservation, protection and the movement towards 30×30 a priority. The President is walking the talk when it comes to prioritizing Indigenous leadership, rights and knowledge in conservation. Each community of Indigenous People is the expert on the land and water where they live. This knowledge and history is critical to community-led conservation. As the Chumash people know well, Indigenous communities have always been a part of the ecosystem, not apart from it, and our historical memories and knowledge are key to conservation moving forward. The Northern Chumash Tribal Council and the Indigenous Communities around the world are working to provide solutions to assist Grandmother Oceans in the ever expanding troubling challenges that we face today.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

Conservation and Outdoor Equity Leaders

Teresa Ana Martinez, Acting Chair of the Next 100 Coalition Board and Executive Director of the Continental Divide Trail Coalition:

“These actions are a firm and decisive step toward a healthier environment and improved access to our nation’s special places for all communities and for all people. The America The Beautiful Initiative is a powerful opportunity to begin to address the historic inequities that have existed not only in where 50 accessible green spaces are located — but who they are protected for. Community engagement is an integral part to this goal if it is to be successful. We must let them define what we are building for our collective future, from the start, because failure to do this is simply not an option for any of us who wish to see the planet and all of our people thrive in the future.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

Jamie Williams, President of The Wilderness Society

“This report provides national leadership on the biggest challenges we face in creating a sustainable, liveable planet, while recognizing that solutions to climate change, conservation and access to nature must come from the ground up and be driven at the local level.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

Sarah Winter Whelan, Executive Director of the Healthy Ocean Coalition:

“As an organization of marine scientists, Marine Conservation Institute enthusiastically supports the Biden administration “goal of conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030” because good science shows that is the minimum level of protection the oceans need to prevent species extinctions, loss of biodiversity and diminishing abundance of important marine life as climate change and other human stressors intensify.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

Marce Gutiérrez-Graudin¹, Founder and Executive Director of Azul:

“For too long, the consequences of natural resource extraction and pollution in the United States have fallen disproportionately on low income and communities of color. As longtime advocates for a 30×30 rooted in equity, we celebrate president Biden’s effort to position environmental justice at the core of a national 30×30 approach.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

Alex Taurel, Conservation Program Director at the League of Conservation Voters (LCV):

“We are thrilled to see the Biden-Harris administration reaffirm their commitment to this first-ever national goal to conserve our lands, waters, and ocean in collaboration with local communities. We are glad to see the administration recognize that the pursuit of 30×30 must be guided by science, respect Tribal sovereignty, and honor private property rights in order to make access to nature in this country more inclusive and equitable, fight climate change, boost our outdoor economy, and restore wildlife habitat. We are all-in to help reach and exceed this goal and look forward to working with President Biden, his cabinet agencies, state and local governments, Tribal nations, and people all across the country as we work together to tackle the climate crisis and expand access to nature in America the beautiful.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

Sarah Greenberger, Senior Vice President for Conservation Policy at National Audubon Society:

“The administration has outlined a generational commitment to address our nation’s most urgent conservation challenges. We all want to leave our communities healthier than we found them, and birds – the proverbial canary in the coal mine – are telling us that they are in trouble, which means so are we. This plan will help bring birds and nature back and include all of us in the decisions on how we restore and conserve the lands and waters we share.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

Joel Dunn, President and CEO of the Chesapeake Conservancy:

“I applaud the swift efforts by the Department of the Interior, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce and the Council on Environmental Quality to organize a U.S. strategy on conserving 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030, as outlined in the report ‘Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful.’ […]

“Importantly, the report on a 30 x 30 strategy for the United States is guided by principles that would include underserved communities and historically excluded communities, including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Land and water protection is land and water policy and conservation partners must ensure that efforts to protect nature do not negatively impact these communities, and even better, serve to benefit the health and well-being of these communities.” [Statement, 5/6/21] 

Dan Ritzman, Director of Lands, Water and Wildlife at the Sierra Club:

“We applaud the Biden administration for taking bold steps to save 30% of lands and waters in the United States by 2030. The good news is that communities across the country are already working to protect everything from wilderness to local parks. Strong partnerships and an expanded vision of what it means to protect nature will help us reach the 30% target, expand equitable access to the outdoors, and fight the climate crisis. [Statement, 5/6/21]

Lynn Scarlett, Chief External Affairs Officer for The Nature Conservancy:

“The future of conservation requires robust investment and strong collaboration with state, territorial and tribal governments as well as landowners, communities, farmers, ranchers, fishermen and others to deploy a vision for our future. Today’s blueprint is a comprehensive and achievable plan to work toward our common goals. The Nature Conservancy looks forward to working with the administration and all stakeholders to secure the resources and support needed to conserve our natural world.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

Eric Schwaab, Senior VP for Ecosystems and Oceans at the Environmental Defense Fund:

“Today’s release of the Biden administration’s ‘America the Beautiful’ report sets out welcome principles for a stakeholder-driven, science-based and equitable approach to advancing the administration’s efforts to conserve 30% of U.S. land, water and oceans by 2030. Emphasizing locally-based design, broad collaboration with user groups and the important role of private land conservation in achieving national goals will help lead to effective and lasting work in support of healthy ecosystems, climate progress, sustainable fisheries and resilient communities.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

Randi Spivak, Public Lands Director at the Center for Biological Diversity:

“It’s a big deal that the Biden administration recognizes we’re in the midst of a wildlife extinction crisis and a climate emergency. This report is an important rallying cry. There’s no time to waste. We need to translate this vision into new and enduring conservation actions on the ground across our country. We’ve got to hit those targets of ensuring 30% of our lands and oceans are protected by 2030 to make sure we leave a livable planet to future generations.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

Kristen Miller, Conservation Director at Alaska Wilderness League:

“We applaud President Biden’s swift and historic action to establish a national goal to protect 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030, our nation’s first-ever national conservation goal. As the administration forges a path toward achieving these needed protections, it must look to the frontlines of the climate crisis and Alaska, a state warming twice as fast as the rest of the country.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

Maite Arce, President and CEO of the Hispanic Access Foundation:

“For too long, communities of color and low-income communities across the country have faced a ‘Nature Gap’ – meaning they have less access to parks, beaches, and natural areas in general. Because of the inequitable distribution of greenspace in the U.S., these communities are denied nature’s benefits and suffer from higher rates of asthma, obesity, and other chronic diseases.

“If 30×30 is implemented with consideration of the needs of underserved communities, it can be a tool for creating equitable access to nature and begin undoing the harm caused by the Nature Gap. To do so, the administration must ensure water and nature access for all, urban and rural alike, especially for communities that have historically lacked access or are nature deprived.

“We applaud President Joe Biden and Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland for their leadership in addressing the climate crisis, conserving nature and focusing on more equitable access. Not only will we be protecting far more lands and waters over the next decade, but the United States will be able to guarantee every child in America has the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of nature near their home.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

Elvis Cordova, Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy at the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA):

“NRPA believes local park and recreation agencies play a vital role in protecting public outdoor

resources from the worst impacts of climate change and should receive government support for this critical work — something we continually advocate for. While we work to find community-driven climate solutions, we also recognize that Black, Indigenous and people of color, as well as people living in lower-income communities, face the greatest consequences of climate change. The 30×30 plan is a step in the right direction to ensure that these communities have access to clean outdoor spaces, water and air for generations to come. [Statement, 5/6/21]

Additional Groups Supporting “America the Beautiful”

Mary Kaszynski, Director of Government Relations at the Vet Voice Foundation:

“President Biden should be applauded for keeping his promise to make our public lands and waterways a top priority of his administration by laying out this bold, ambitious plan to conserve 30 percent of our nation’s lands and waters by the year 2030.  

This is a major victory for veterans and military families. Veterans have a longstanding and well-documented relationship with environmental conservation and many believe safeguarding these wildspaces is an extension of their service.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

Christy Goldfuss, Senior Vice President for Energy and Environment at the Center for American Progress:

“Protecting nature is one of the most important actions we can take to combat the climate crisis. Today’s report is a crucial step toward President Biden’s promise to ensure that all Americans have a stable climate, clean air, safe drinking water, and access to nature. It’s going to take an all-of-society approach to achieve the vision for a 100 percent clean economy that this administration has boldly laid out, and this report underscores that nature has a big role to play. By conserving special places—such as forests, wetlands, and the ocean—that safely remove carbon from the atmosphere and help communities to be more resilient to the impacts of climate change, we can ensure a livable climate for future generations.” [Statement, 5/6/21]

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