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).
March 9, 2021
Special Assistant to the President for Climate Policy
Matt Lee Ashley
Senior Director for Lands; Interim Chief of Staff, Council on Environmental Quality
VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL
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.
Alabama Rivers Alliance
Alliance for the Great Lakes
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Center for Biological Diversity
Clean Water Action/Clean Water Fund
Defenders of Wildlife
Environmental Defense Fund
FLOW (For Love Of Water)
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
Washington Water Trust
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