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Environment Maine| Environment Maine
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Environment Maine| Environment Maine

The Biden administration launched its 2021 campaign on May 6, 2021. America the BeautifulInitiative, a campaign for conservation and restoration of 30 percent of the country’s lands & waters. They plan to have a method to measure progress, just like any good campaign. That’s where the proposed American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas. (Atlas).This is where the Atlas comes in. The Atlas will provide information to Americans about the lands, waters, and ecosystems that have been conserved or restored.

Thursday’s listening session was the first in a series of public comments on the initiative. The administration is specifically seeking public feedback on the Atlas and its potential utility as a tool for the public. Below is my public comment on this important issue.

Ellen Montgomery is my name and I am the public lands campaign director at Environment America. We promote environmental values such as clean air, clean water, and clean energy for our daily lives.

Two football fields’ worth of natural lands in the country are lost every minute. We still have a lot of work to do before we can achieve 30% by 2030. We need more wildlife refuges and parks, as well as monuments. We must also manage as many public lands possible according to the U.S. Geological Surveys Gap codes 1 and 2, which means managing for biodiversity. The Atlas should clearly show which land is Gap 1 & Gap 2.

We must strengthen land protections that are already public, and be able determine which lands have the potential to be better protected. These are just a few examples that could benefit from stronger safeguards:

  • Protecting our federal forests, which are so vital for habitat and absorbing carbon, is important

  • To create more habitat for the species they are protecting, the Bureau of Land Management could add land to existing wildlife refuges.

  • Converting national recreation area like the Delaware Water Gap in to National Parks

Protecting the land around us reflects our values. We want beauty and richness in life. We can create a world that has more wolves, bears, songbirds, big trees, and sandy beaches if we act now. We need more nature.

Thank you

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