Habitat & Conservation  |  10/15/2021

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever Join Coalition Submitting Recommendations to Biden Administration on “America the Beautiful” Initiative

Voluntary participation for private landowners at the heart of The Habitat Organization's Input on 30x30 legislation.

By Jim Inglis, Director of Government Affairs for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever

This week, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever joined 54 other organization members of the Hunt Fish 30x30 Coalition to submit a set of formal recommendations for the Biden Administration’s “America the Beautiful” initiative.   

The recommendations highlight several of the sporting-conservation community’s priorities as they relate to the Administration’s forthcoming American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas. The Atlas will track progress-to-goal accomplishments of conservation and restoration efforts. Ultimately, the goal of the initiative is to conserve 30 percent of waters and 30 percent of lands across the U.S. by 2030. 

The recommendations submitted to President Biden’s inter-agency working group reflect the priorities first outlined in the Hunt Fish 30x30 Coalition’s Hunting and Fishing Community Statement on the 30x30 Initiative, which was developed in response to “Thirty by Thirty” legislation introduced at the state level in early 2020. In its statement, the Coalition highlights the important role hunters and anglers have played in the conservation of fish, wildlife and natural ecosystems in the United States. Recognizing this history of conservation successes, the current recommendations present an opportunity to advance pragmatic, successful conservation efforts while recognizing many existing efforts that have, to date, been largely overlooked.  

PF & QF is clear that it will only support this initiative if its programs and policies are voluntary for private landowners. Private land stewardship includes multiple uses such as farming, ranching, forestry and recreation. Those and similar uses must be protected. 

“There has been a great deal of angst around the Thirty-by-Thirty concept since the idea was introduced earlier this year,” explains Howard Vincent, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever President & CEO. “Our organization has supported this concept because it has always been a program that incentivizes landowners to VOLUNTARILY participate.” 

“Our comments to President Biden continue to focus on incentivizing this initiative through voluntary conservation,” adds Vincent. “In spite of what folks may be hearing from other politicians, we’ve seen no indication of Thirty-by-Thirty being a federal ‘land grab.’ We won’t support anything resembling that.  The Thirty-by-Thirty concept, and our support for it, hinges on it being voluntary.”  

These recommendations were designed to provide an initial framework as the Administration’s inter-agency working group begins developing the American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas. 

Key priorities of the recommendations include: 

Clearly defining “conservation” to support the active management and sustainable use of our nation’s public trust fish and wildlife resources.  

Collaborating closely with entities devoted to achieving measurable biodiversity conservation objectives, including:
*State fish and wildlife management agencies 
*Regional fish and wildlife management bodies 
*Members of the sporting-conservation community 
*The more than 500 federally recognized Native American tribes 
*Private landowners through voluntary, incentive-based conservation opportunities  

Recognizing and including all efforts directly contributing to biodiversity conservation in the forthcoming American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas, including those on lands subject to multiple uses. 

As always PF and QF are engaged in conservation policy and programs that impact our nation’s wildlife and natural resources. And as always, we need to the grassroots voices of our volunteers, members and supporters to get the job done and done right.

Picture by Matt Addington