On Tuesday, Upper Missouri Waterkeeper joined a coalition of 342 organizations across the country in sending a letter to President Biden supporting the 30×30 goal of conserving 30% of U.S. lands, ocean, and water by 2030. The ambitious conservation goal provides an opportunity for local organizations working on land and water conservation, like UMW, to leverage complementary protection strategies offering measurable impacts that will benefit downstream communities that rely on headwaters conservation for drinking water health and sustainable economies while also stemming species loss, climate change, and inequitable access to nature.
In Montana, the 30×30 goal offers a unique opportunity for local conservation efforts with high rewards. Home to two of the last intact and functional ecosystems in North America (Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks), and distinctive as the only state from which three transcontinental river systems originate, any 30×30 strategies in Montana can create maximum impact by protecting high quality landscapes and waterways with extraordinary biodiversity. Protecting entire watersheds of the Northern Rockies should be considered as an effective conservation strategy contributing to the national 30×30 goal.
The letter, in part, states that:
“To confront the rapid loss of America’s natural places and wildlife, the U.S. must accelerate locally-led land, water, and ocean conservation and restoration efforts at all levels of government and across the country. For more than a century, the United States has risen to meet the major environmental challenges facing our nation. Conserving 30 percent of our lands, waters, and ocean by 2030 — a commitment that is widely supported by Americans, with 4 out of 5 voters expressing support — is a critical milestone in the effort to tackle the challenges we face today.
As the Biden-Harris administration works to achieve the national 30×30 target, we, the undersigned 342 organizations and businesses, on behalf of our members and supporters, stand in support of this ambitious and inclusive vision for conservation. By empowering the ongoing, locally-driven conservation efforts of communities across the country, your administration can help limit the negative consequences and immense costs of climate change, a critical goal not only for the Biden-Harris administration, but for our planet.”
Upper Missouri Waterkeeper looks forward to collaborating on locally-led efforts to protect keynote landscapes and waterways in Montana to contribute to the national goal of protecting 30% of lands and waters by 2030.