Conservation Groups Urge Legislators to Conserve Nevada Lands and Waters to Mitigate Environmental Crisis
Posted by Angelyn Tabalba in on March 10, 2021
Ambitious “30 by 30” Conservation Goal Receives Strong Support During Assembly Committee Legislative Hearing
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — During a Nevada Assembly Natural Resources Committee hearing, Nevada conservation groups demonstrated their strong support for AJR 3. The resolution, sponsored by District 16 Assemblywoman Cecelia González, would conserve 30 percent of Nevada’s lands and waters by the year 2030 in response to scientific recommendations to address the current extinction, climate, and biodiversity crisis.
“The conservation community, climate policy experts, and environmental scientists have long called for ambitious conservation goals to address both climate change and the extinction of endangered species. That’s why I’m proud to sponsor legislation that heeds this call with a state-wide commitment to conserving 30 percent of Nevada’s lands and waters by 2030,” said Assemblywoman Cecelia González. “AJR 3 is a brilliant opportunity to help reverse the destruction of wildlife and confront the climate crisis that we face in Nevada. Further, this resolution allows us to rebuild our conservation legacy in a manner that urges federal, state, and local agencies to work alongside native communities, private landowners, businesses, ranchers, and all Nevadans in conserving our lands and waters that have great significance to our communities. I look forward to working with my colleagues at all levels of government to ensure a better future for our planet.”
“Nevada is on the frontlines of the environmental crisis. In the last 20 years, Nevada has lost more than nine million acres of wildlife habitat to wildfires alone and the state ranks third in the nation for the number of species at risk. We have the duty and the responsibility as Nevadans to safeguard the natural resources and wildlife that support our ecosystem and make our state so unique,” said Nevada Conservation League Executive Director Paul Selberg. “30 by 30 is a bold, ambitious nature-based solution that will create a healthy, livable planet for future generations and help pursue the conservation of historic, cultural, and spiritually significant landscapes in Nevada. I am grateful to Assemblywoman González for putting forth the necessary legislation to conserve Nevada’s lands and pristine waters and curb mass extinction of our wildlife.”
“AJR 3 is a step in the right direction of honoring lands that were taken from their rightful stewards, the Indigenous people of Nevada. It is encouraging that two areas suggested in the resolution, Avi Kwa Ame and Desert National Wildlife Refuge, are sacred spaces to tribal nations. I am hopeful this resolution and others like it, will lead to a more meaningful relationship between the conservation community and Indigenous people. We must stand together as a strong coalition to protect our lands and waters,” said Native Voters Alliance Nevada Executive Director Taylor Patterson.
“Patagonia is committed to supporting efforts to conserve at least 30 percent of land and water within the decade to avoid the mass extinction crisis and mitigate climate change. With AJR3, we have the opportunity to do our part and protect Nevada’s rich biodiversity and vast landscapes for the health of people and the planet,” said Patagonia Environmental Activism Manager Meghan Wolf.
“Friends of Nevada Wilderness is an enthusiastic supporter of AJR 3, sponsored by Assemblywoman González. The 30 by 30 resolution is important for ensuring large and connected portions of Nevada’s public lands remain intact for our wildlife and for recreationists throughout the state,” said Friends of Nevada Wilderness Executive Director Shaaron Netherton.
Prior to the hearing, 18 local businesses and conservation organizations demonstrated their support for AJR 3 in a joint letter to Nevada legislators.
The 30 by 30 conservation goal has received cascading support and action from local, state, and federal governments and organizations and comes in response to scientists’ recommendation to mitigate a steep decline in nature.
In Nevada, government leaders and the public have indicated support for the ambitious conservation goal. This month, a bipartisan array of 70 mayors from across the country, including Nevada Mayors Hillary Schieve and Daniel Corona, signed on to a letter pledging their support of the 30 by 30 initiative. Additionally, a recent poll from Colorado College indicated that 82 percent of Nevadans support a national 30 by 30 benchmark and 90 percent agree that even with state budget problems, we should still find money to conserve the state’s land, water, and wildlife.
With Nevada’s abundance of public lands, natural resources, and wildlife, the state has the unique opportunity to lead in this effort and contribute greatly to a national goal.
During his first days in office, President Biden made bold moves for environmental protection that included signing an executive order that commits to conserving 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030. New Mexico Congresswoman and Interior Secretary-designate Deb Haaland has also been a leader on 30 by 30. Last Congress, Deb Haaland was instrumental in leading a House resolution to support 30 by 30 and recently recommitted to these goals during her Senate confirmation hearing.
A 2019 United Nations report estimated that about a million species are at risk of extinction across the planet, and America’s biodiversity is declining hundreds of times faster than the historical rate. Conserving 30 percent of the planet by 2030 will help boost the populations of wildlife enough to withstand climate change and other human disturbances, such as pollution and agriculture.