This past spring the California Natural Resources Agency completed its Pathways to 30×30 document. The Pathways document identified ten pathways towards reaching the ambitious goal of protecting 30% of California by 2030. We were really excited to see the document address all the actions the State will need order to take an all-lands approach.
They also identified three key areas to consider as they look to prioritize conservation on various pieces of land. Those included protecting and restoring biodiversity, expanding access to nature, and mitigating and building resilience to climate change.
This is all in an effort to not just look at the places with few people, but to also find the high-quality lands that provide both access to nature as well as protect key biodiversity hotspots around the State in places that haven’t seen large scale conservation in the past.
However, federal public lands will continue to play an important role in reaching this ambitious target. Over 40% of the State is managed by the federal public lands agencies. There remains plenty of important conservation opportunities on federal public lands that the State will need to utilize.
We’re excited to announce that CalWild’s Executive Director, Chris Morrill, was appointed to the 30 by 30 Partnership Coordinating Committee. This committee will be tasked with assisting the State in connecting with local, regional, and statewide advocates working to protect key conservation areas across the state.
Chris will bring his own expertise and will also become a catalyst for mobilizing federal public lands advocates to get in front of State officials providing them with the opportunities to reach 30 by 30. Those opportunities include the work that CalWild does on land management plans, support for Congressional bills to increase wilderness and wild and scenic rivers, and recent efforts to push national monuments in important areas around the state.
At CalWild we know that reaching a permanent conservation designation like wilderness takes many years and often comes with many interim steps. This will require the State to consistently engage with individual National Forests and Bureau of Land Management districts. This is how we’ll make sure there are areas for future wilderness and other strict protective designations as well as engaging Congress to push legislation that has gotten “stuck” or languished due to D.C.’s dysfunction.
One of the criticisms levied against the Pathways document and the 30 by 30 process is that it’s a “political process”. Our understanding of that criticism is that the 30 by 30 goal is not real and simply a cynical effort for political gain. However, the political process is the way in which we achieve major conservation wins. This 30×30 effort is no different.
CalWild’s goal is to make what to date has been good speeches, ambitious goals, and beautiful reports into concrete conservation wins. Chris’ position on the Coordinating Committee and our long-term commitment to engage the State will provide the opportunities to achieve these goals. It’s all of our job to make this real, and not simply “political”.
We hope you can start to help us move these stated goals into conservation wins by joining Chris September 28th in Sacramento. CNRA will be hosting the 30×30 Partnership Kick-Off that day. Click here to learn more and RSVP. The event will kick-off the implementation phase of 30×30 and include speakers and informational sessions. We hope you can make it!