30x30 Opportunities for the North Coast

Did you know that the State of California is planning to conserve 30% of its lands and waters by 2030? That was the pledge made by Governor Newsom in Executive Order N-82-20 back in October 2020 and the goal that was ratified by the State Legislature when it passed AB 2278 into law on September 16th. The purpose of the 30x30 goal is to protect California’s biodiversity, mitigate climate change, and increase equitable access to nature. The California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) has developed a document entitled “Pathways to 30x30: Accelerating Conservation of California's Nature” which defines conservation for the purpose of California’s 30x30 initiative and established a current baseline of conserved areas. The document also outlines strategic actions necessary to achieve the 30x30 target.

According to CNRA, California has already conserved approximately 24% of its lands in the form of National and State Parks, conservation easements, land trusts, and other forms of protection; find a map on page 33 of "Pathways to 30x30". That means we will have to conserve approximately six million more acres in a little more than seven years. Accomplishing this will require significant action, and the State is asking for your help.

At CNRA’s 30x30 kick-off event held in Sacramento on September 28th, California Natural Resource Secretary Crowfoot emphasized this point: the State needs local environmentalists, tribes, and other advocates to tell them what lands ought to be protected. In the most recently passed California State budget, there is over $1 billion earmarked for land acquisitions and conservation: a noticeable uptick from previous years and enough money to make some significant progress. But the State can’t spend that money if they don’t know what lands should be acquired and conserved.

Interacting with the State can be difficult. Its labyrinthine bureaucracy can be impenetrable even to seasoned advocates. But luckily, there is a Statewide initiative to help facilitate that process in the interest of 30x30. The Power in Nature Coalition, of which EPIC is a proud member, has been lobbying the State since the 30x30 initiative was first announced in order to help ensure the lands that locals most want to see conserved are prioritized. The Coalition can use its statewide membership and influence in Sacramento to help safeguard this process, but we need knowledgeable folks like you to tell us about the places that are most deserving of protection.

If you are working on conserving lands in the North Coast, please write to me at matt@wildcalifornia.org so that I can connect you with the Power in Nature Coalition and we can work together to make that a reality. There are so many amazing places in the North Coast that deserve to be conserved in order to benefit biodiversity, the climate, and increase equitable access to nature - we just have to let the State know which ones to prioritize.