Legislation sets conservation goal to promote biodiversity and preserve land & water
√ Supports national goal of ‘America the Beautiful’ initiative set by President Biden
Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed legislation (A.5390B/S.6191A) that sets the goal to support and contribute to national efforts to conserve at least 30% of U.S. land and water by 2030.
Her team said, “This legislation will promote biodiversity and preserve New York's wildlife, forests, and clean water sources, which are all essential to New York's health and economy.”
Hochul said, "New Yorkers rely on our clean water for recreation, forests to provide wildlife habitats, and the outdoor spaces for jobs and adventures. It's more important than ever to safeguard these resources, and setting the goal to conserve 30% of public land by 2030 will ensure we're protecting our state for future generations."
Legislation S.6191A/A.5390B establishes the goal and requires the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to develop strategies and a methodology to achieve the goal while collaborating with a broad group of stakeholders. These efforts will build on the state's existing conservation efforts.
Assembly member Patricia Fahy said, "In signing the 30x30 legislation today, Gov. Hochul gave a tremendous gift to the environment that will last long past the holidays. I thank the countless environmental advocates who made 30x30 a priority, and the governor for ensuring that New York helps lead the nation once again on the issue of land and water conservation, continuing our long and proud legacy of protecting public lands for future use and enjoyment.
“Our global and national ecosystems face extreme challenges as a result of climate change now and in the coming years. In the United States alone, 1 million acres are lost annually to development while, globally, 1 million species are now at risk of extinction due to habitat loss. As climate change continues to increase the frequency of natural disasters, natural climate resiliency will be key to helping mitigate the devastating impacts of these weather events."
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "I commend Gov. Hochul in signing this bill into law, which complements the state's ongoing conservation efforts and aims to conserve 30% of the landscape by 2030, helping to protect globally significant habitats and achieve New York's climate objectives. As the state of New York joins with its national and international colleagues to advance this goal, DEC looks forward to working with the public and our partners to implement the critical work ahead and build upon our legacy of environmental protection for the benefit of future generations."
State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "As we approach a new year, we are reminded that New York state is making great progress to protect our environment under Gov. Hochul's leadership. We look forward to working aggressively to conserve our land and water and expand access to outdoor recreation as we reach this goal in seven years."
The Nature Conservancy in New York Executive Director Bill Ulfelder said, "The Nature Conservancy commends Gov. Hochul and bill sponsors Assemblywoman Fahy, and Sen. Kaminsky for their steadfast conservation leadership. As our natural resources face escalating threats such as climate change, development, and invasive pests and pathogens, this law will increase the pace and scale of protection, restoration and conservation across New York. This new 30x30 goal will bolster collaborative work to conserve wildlife habitat, improve forest health, safeguard local family farms, expand access to parks and nature preserves, and protect our clean water. The Nature Conservancy is excited to partner with state leaders, Indigenous peoples, farmers, foresters, fishers, hunters and others to create a robust conservation plan for the benefit of all New Yorkers."
New York League of Conservation Voters President Julie Tighe said, "The competing crises of climate change and biodiversity loss demand action now, and that is exactly what Gov. Hochul delivered by signing the 30x30 bill, and putting New York on track to protect 30% of the state's land and water by 2030. The New York League of Conservation Voters salutes Gov. Hochul for her bold environmental leadership, as well as Sen. Todd Kaminsky and Assembly member Patricia Fahy for their unyielding effort to get this measure through the Legislature and over the finish line. Now it's time for other states to follow New York's lead and make this a true national effort."
Open Space Institute President and CEO Kim Elliman said, "Strategic land protection has proven to be an effective tool in protecting the state's precious natural resources for clean air and drinking water, expanded recreational opportunities, support for wildlife, and climate protection. The newly signed '30x30' legislation prioritizes conservation now and into the future. We thank Gov. Kathy Hochul for her commitment to protecting the land and all it provides – before it is lost forever."
Mid-Atlantic Region and New York State Director for Trust for Public Land Vice President Carter Strickland said, "Trust for Public Land applauds the governor and Legislature for adopting this clear target for New York's natural resource program and for showing that states can lead in adopting this emerging international standard. Setting aside wild areas allows people and nature to recharge, and our scientific and economic studies show that conserved land and marine areas benefit our communities by providing recreational opportunities, protecting our drinking water, buffering us from climate change, and ensuring local food production."
Audubon New York Senior Policy Manager Erin McGrath said, "Birds are telling us that habitat loss and climate change are two of the biggest challenges they face, and we must answer their call by conserving 30% of our lands and waters by 2030. Conserving or restoring a proportion of habitat will help us stop declines in biodiversity, protect ecosystem function, and increase resiliency to climate change – and 30% is the bare minimum needed for birds and people to thrive. We applaud Gov. Hochul for signing this critical legislation into law, and Assembly member Fahy and Sen. Kaminsky for championing this bill. We look forward to partnering with the Department of Environmental Conservation, our colleagues in the environmental conservation community, and New Yorkers across the state to conserve our natural resources for birds and people."
Land Trust Alliance Senior Program Manager Meme Hanley said, "Protecting 30% of New York's lands and waters by 2030 will provide more equitable access to the outdoors, support local food production, offer flood risk reduction, lower summer temperatures – particularly in urban areas – and address the biodiversity crisis. With the signing of this bill, Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York once again demonstrate their leadership on protecting New Yorkers from the effects of climate change. The Land Trust Alliance applauds the leadership of Gov. Hochul, Assembly member Patricia Fahy and Sen. Todd Kaminsky for their championing these critical issues. The Alliance and New York's land trust community stand ready to assist in planning efforts and to help meet the goal."
Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan said, "We thank Gov. Kathy Hochul for signing the 30x30 bill into law, building on her stellar environmental record. We commend the legislative sponsors of the bill, Assembly member Pat Fahy and Sen. Todd Kaminisky, as well for continuing the track record of collaboration between the executive and legislative branches for achieving the state's crucial environmental goals. This will lay the groundwork for a continued commitment to preserving the lands in New York for biodiversity, climate resilience, farmland preservation and outdoor recreation. Scenic Hudson stands ready to partner in supporting this measure in the Hudson Valley."