Arizona BHA Opposes Resolution That Would Put Habitat Conservation On the Back Burner

Recently a proposed concurrent resolution has been introduced in Arizona (HCR 2024) that opposes a global initiative to conserve 30% of our land and water resources by the year 2030. Commonly referred to as 30x30, it is captured in the Biden Administration's broader conservation agenda, the America the Beautiful Initiative. Arizona Backcountry Hunters & Anglers recognizes that there isn’t a lot of accurate information being shared about this initiative and why we support 30x30. AZ BHA wants to shed some light and perspective on this idea of conserving 30% of our resources from the hunting and fishing community.

As a partner in the Hunt Fish 30x30, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, along with numerous other sportsmen’s organizations, understands that America’s hunters and anglers play a key role in advancing bold biodiversity conservation goals that will allow our wildlife and outdoor traditions to thrive for generations to come.

“As America’s original conservationists, the hunting and fishing community has proactively supported strategic efforts to conserve our nation’s terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems for more than a century. The ability to connect with our land, water and fish and wildlife through our outdoor pursuits continues to result in a deep appreciation and understanding of the link between healthy habitats and thriving fish and wildlife populations.

“Through science-based, strategic implementation of management actions across the nation, as well as providing the bulk of the funding necessary to carry out conservation measures at the state level, we have been the catalyst that has positioned the United States as a global leader in natural resource and biodiversity protections. We therefore recognize and embrace the overlap between our collective work to conserve fish and wildlife species and their habitats and the establishment of ambitious global biodiversity conservation principles of the ’30 by 30’ initiative, which aims to conserve 30 percent of the globe’s lands and waters by 2030.” -Hunt Fish 30x30 Community Statement

Habitat fragmentation, degradation and outright loss is a leading factor for population declines across many species. We’re seeing this play out for species large and small - from mule deer and bees across the West, to the Sonoran pronghorn antelope and native Apache trout at home here in AZ. Conserving the remaining intact habitat we have is a laudable goal not only for our state and country, but the entire world as we collectively face similar challenges with growth, development, and competition for resources.

It’s important that work together to ensure all stakeholders have a seat at the table as solutions are explored and decisions made – sportsmen and women in particular.  Hunters and anglers including indigenous communities have always stood at the forefront of conservation. AZ BHA is one of many hunting and fishing organizations working within the 30x30 collaborative initiative to direct conservation efforts of critical habitat for fish and wildlife in an inclusive way that invites participation from all interests, with special deference to respecting the rights of private landowners and honoring their contributions while also recognizing other existing conservation programs and practices that are already working.

The forthcoming American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas will soon be released and provide more specific details and a framework for how 30x30 will be considered in the U.S. This Atlas will reflect contributions made by hunters, anglers, private landowners including farmers and ranchers and other important stakeholders. 

While we acknowledge that the Administration is still collecting public feedback and synthesizing recommendations from stakeholders like hunters and anglers, it is premature to consider state actions like HCR 2024 before the Conservation and Stewardship Atlas is released. AZ BHA opposes any resolution or legislative intervention that would preempt thoughtful management policies developed by the best available science or curtail informed debate on important issues.  We must avoid myopic political reactions in favor of more measured considerations representative of the public interest. We encourage you to contact your legislative representatives and send your own email or phone call voicing your opinions. Or take advantage of the pre-drafted letter below to contact your representatives directly in just minutes. This message can be customized to reflect your opinions on this resolution. 

Thank you for taking the time to engage on this issue and should you have any questions on this resolution or other legislative items we are tracking, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].  

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