Can We Protect 30% of Oregon by 2030?

by Paul Engelmeyer, Ten Mile Creek Sanctuary Manager

In 2021 the Biden Administration heralded the “America the Beautiful” plan to conserve 30% of U.S. land and water by 2023. The initiative calls for a voluntary effort to support locally led conservation and restoration efforts to achieve this goal. The initiative focuses on eight principles grounded in “a broad consensus of views and recommendations among the many stakeholders, agencies and tribes.” Several states have already committed significant momentum to push this forward. In 2020 California became the first state to commit to protecting 30% of its land and water over the next decade, with Governor Gavin Newsom signing an executive order. Nevada followed suit in 2021, and South Carolina, Michigan, and New York have legislation on process. So what is Oregon’s status?

Cape Perpetua, photo by Oregon Marine Reserves
Cape Perpetua, photo by Oregon Marine Reserves

We have started the groundwork for a 30 x 30 plan on the central coast. Our focal areas currently include the Cascade Head Biosphere Reserve, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Siletz Wildlife Refuge, the Yaquina basin, several state parks, the Marbled Murrelet Important Bird Area, and the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve. We have used the Conservation Opportunity Areas developed by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to help guide this effort. At the central coast we have a solid track record of landscape conservation and partnerships that we hope to build on.

We need to think big and connect the work we are doing on the central coast more broadly across the state. In the coming months Bird Alliance of Oregon will be exploring ways to move forward the 30 x 30 initiative in Oregon. We have begun to reach out to decision-makers to discuss a 30 x 30 vision for our state. Stay tuned for opportunities to help us realize this vision.