Let’s be beautiful | Rhetoric and reason | San Luis Obispo
On May 6, the Biden administration presented a vision for how the United States can conserve and restore the lands, waters, and wildlife that support the nation. The recommendations of the 24-page report, “Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful,” calling for “a locally driven national conservation goal to conserve 30 percent of US land and water by 2030.”
As I mentioned earlier, California was the first to commit to the “30 by 30” goal, with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-82-20 last October committing the state to the plan. now endorsed by the Biden. nationwide administration.
With the release of the Administration’s Vision Document, things get real, and the foundational principles of this document explain exactly what it means to conserve and restore America’s Beauty.
Coincidentally, the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary – nominated for 140 miles of coastline from Gaviota Creek in Santa Barbara County to Santa Rosa Creek in Cambria and containing biologically productive and diverse ecosystems such as kelp, wetlands and estuaries – check each of these boxes.
The report affirms the goal of supporting locally led and locally designed conservation efforts: “Agencies should support concerted conservation efforts across the country on private, state, local, tribal and territorial lands. Likewise, marine conservation efforts should reflect regional priorities and seek to achieve balanced management of the ocean areas of the United States. “(Check.)
The report affirms the goal of honoring tribal sovereignty and supporting the priorities of tribal nations: “ Efforts to conserve and restore American lands and waters must involve regular, meaningful and robust consultations with tribal nations. . (…) Federal agencies should seek to support and help advance the priorities of Native American, Alaskan, Hawaiian and Indigenous leaders, including those related to sustainable land management and resource conservation. natural, cultural and historical. “(Check.)
The report affirms the goal of pursuing conservation and restoration approaches that create jobs and support healthy communities: “A healthy ocean, for example, supports productive fisheries and vibrant waterfronts. … A campaign of nationwide and locally-led conservation over the next decade can help boost the U.S. economy, improve environmental justice, and improve quality of life. “(Check.)
The report affirms the goal of honoring private property rights and supporting the voluntary stewardship efforts of private landowners and fishermen: fibers and keep rural and coastal communities healthy and prosperous. They are also an integral part of conservation. functional habitats and connecting land and water across the country. “(Check.)
The report asserts the goal of using science as a guide: “ Conservation efforts are most effective and efficient when they are rooted in the best available science and informed by recommendations from top scientists and experts in the field. matter. Transparent and accessible information will enhance shared understanding and help build trust between stakeholders and the public. The use of indigenous and traditional ecological knowledge can complement and integrate these efforts. “(Check.)
The report says it will build on existing tools and strategies with an emphasis on flexibility and adaptive approaches – including “the use of stakeholder-driven processes for marine fisheries management and designation. sanctuaries ”. (Recheck.)
Finally, there is the broad statement that the administration’s vision for 30 by 30 recognizes that “many uses of our land and water, including exploitable land, can be compatible with health and sustainability at the same time. long-term natural systems “, ie fishermen. continue to fish in national marine sanctuaries, which pride themselves on the fact that “while resource protection is the main objective of the program, multiple use of the marine environment is permitted as long as it is compatible with that objective”.
Then there is the recent statement by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) “should expand the national marine sanctuary system.”
Then there’s the Congressional directive, in its latest credit to NOAA, directing the agency to proceed with the designation of the five proposed sanctuaries it has in inventory. The Chumash Heritage Sanctuary nomination has been waiting in this inventory for over five years. All credit goes to the North Chumash Tribal Council for persisting in the exhaustive nomination process and for renewing that nomination last year, ahead of the five-year expiration date.
In 2020, NOAA issued a request for public comment on the proposed sanctuary and received over 14,300 comments overwhelmingly in favor, including letters of support from local officials and state and federal lawmakers.
“Preserving tribal spiritual and cultural resources is our heritage and our responsibility,” says Violet Sage Walker, spokesperson for the Northern Chumash Tribal Council. “The successful implementation of this plan and the Chumash National Heritage Marine Sanctuary would protect marine abundance, the sacred sites of Chumash, strengthen indigenous communities and serve as a model of environmental justice.”
An opportunity to contribute to the national and national 30 by 30 goals by advancing the first designation of a tribal-ruled National Marine Sanctuary, setting a precedent for elevating Indigenous participation and cultural values in ocean conservation at the federal and state level , is now at hand in our backyard, having arrived at the right place at the right time. Δ
Andrew Christie is the director of the Santa Lucia chapter of the Sierra Club. Send a response for publication to [email protected].