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Conserve 30 percent of U.S. land and ocean areas by 2030 (30x30)

Waterway Advocates (formerly Advocates for Clean & Clear Waterways) was a signatory on the below letter supporting a goal of conserving 30 percent of U.S. land and ocean areas by 2030 (30x30).

RE_ 30x30 and Inland Waters
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March 9, 2021

David Hayes

Special Assistant to the President for Climate Policy

Matt Lee Ashley

Senior Director for Lands; Interim Chief of Staff, Council on Environmental Quality


RE: 30x30 and Inland Waters

Dear Special Assistant Hayes and Senior Director Lee-Ashley:

We write in strong support of President Biden's January 27, 2021, Executive Order, establishing a goal to conserve 30 percent of U.S. land and ocean areas by 2030 (30x30) so as to build resilience and help combat our biodiversity and climate crises. We must marshal our resources as never before to meet the scope of these threats and ensure a livable planet for future generations.

As the Administration develops its 90-day report and prepares to implement the 30x30 Executive Order, we also urge you to address the conservation of freshwater resources – both surface and subsurface - and the landscapes and land use upon which they depend. For myriad reasons, our freshwater resources have experienced greater declines in the last 50 years than terrestrial or marine resources. The World Wildlife Fund's Living Planet Index reports that, globally,

freshwater species have declined by 84% since 1970, as compared to a 68% decline for all monitored species. In the U.S., roughly half of the riparian ecosystems and wetlands in the lower 48 states have already been lost, with many remaining wetlands threatened by recent policy changes. In short, our lakes, rivers, wetlands, and aquifers, and all the support, are among the most threatened of our habitats and are in urgent need of protection and restoration.

Our freshwater resources provide vital functions, including protecting water quality, supplying food and recreation, supporting key industries, and enhancing our ability to mitigate and adapt to climate change. They cannot be protected as an afterthought to work on our equally pressing terrestrial and ocean issues. Protecting biodiversity on land and in the oceans is of course urgent, but it is essential that freshwater resources be included in these efforts, Recent studies have shown that careful integration of terrestrial and freshwater planning can double conservation outcomes for aquatic species, as compared to prioritizing the protection of terrestrial species alone." Moreover, we will not reverse the wildlife and biodiversity crisis by protecting 30% of existing conditions, That will blunt the crisis, but not reverse it, Restoring habitat reverses it.

Through a deliberative process and meaningful stakeholder engagement, the Biden Administration has a critical opportunity to revive all aspects of America's conservation legacy--terrestrial, ocean, and freshwater-and restore our shared commitment to preserving the resources on which we depend. We stand ready to work with you to ensure that enhancing the resiliency of our freshwater landscapes is a cornerstone of this effort.


Advocates for Clean & Clear Waterways

Alabama Rivers Alliance

Alliance for the Great Lakes

American Rivers

Amigos Bravos

Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Center for Biological Diversity

Clean Water Action/Clean Water Fund

Defenders of Wildlife

Environment America

Environment California

Environment Florida

Environmental Defense Fund

FLOW (For Love Of Water)

Freshwater Future


Illinois Council of Trout Unlimited

League of Conservation Voters

Lower Mississippi River Foundation

Massachusetts Rivers Alliance

National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association

National Parks Conservation Association

National Wildlife Federation Natural Resources Defense Council

Ohio Environmental Council

Pennsylvania Council of Churches

Quapaw Canoe Company

Sierra Club

Surfrider Foundation

Trout Unlimited

Washington Water Trust

Waterkeeper Alliance


Karen Hyun, Chief of Staff, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Tanya Trujillo, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Water and Science, DOI

Kate Kelly, Deputy Chief of Staff - Policy, DOI