At the start of the calendar year, the Biden-Harris Administration began soliciting public comment towards the development of a new online conservation tool. Dubbed the American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas (Atlas) and led by the Department of Interior (DOI) and in coordination with the Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, and Council on Environmental Quality, the Atlas will be used to reflect baseline information on the lands and waters that are conserved or restored as part of the federal 30×30 conservation initiative, referred to by the Administration as the America the Beautiful initiative.
As part of the solicitation process for the Atlas, the DOI on behalf of the federal interagency working group hosted a set of virtual public listening sessions. For those unable to attend the virtual sessions, you can submit written comments until March 7th.
The working group has requested comments that touch on the following topics and help address the following questions:
Science and Data.
What data sources, standards, and technical approaches should be applied to data included in the Atlas to ensure that it is an authoritative and useful tool for the public?
Conservation as a Continuum.
-How can the Atlas reflect the meaningful conservation work already underway in America?
-What stewardship actions should be considered, in addition to permanent protections, to capture a more complete picture of conservation and restoration in America?
-What are the attributes of lands and waters that should be included in the Atlas? Considerations could include, for example, a clearly defined geographic boundary, status of ecological function, representation of species and habitats, extent of disturbance, expected future risks from climate change or other human stressors, ecosystem connectivity, or durability of management status.
-How can the Atlas best reflect the contributions of State, local, Tribal, territorial, and private lands?
-How can the Atlas best reflect land and water contributions to biodiversity, climate change mitigation and resilience, and equitable access to nature and its benefits?
CalWild will continue to provide our thoughts on how to best take action towards protecting our public lands and streams as this process moves forward.