November 4, 2021
NOAA is asking the public for input on additional steps it should take regarding a Biden administration initiative to conserve 30 percent of the country’s lands and waters by 2030.
The U.S. agency that includes NOAA Fisheries announced via the Federal Register that it will accept written comments through 28 December on the government’s Federal eRulemaking Portal for the next two months. In addition, NOAA leaders will host two virtual public forums for individuals to comment. Those virtual events will take place on Monday, 8 November, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET and Tuesday, 16 November, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Registration and participation details are available at NOAA’s website.
The administration’s “America the Beautiful” initiative is part of an executive order U.S. President Joe Biden signed on 27 January meant to address climate change both in the U.S. and abroad. Part of the domestic response is the “30 by 30” conservation initiative, which seeks voluntary and local efforts to reach that goal.
NOAA officials, including those from NOAA Fisheries, are looking for input in how the agency can use existing authorities to meet the administration’s conservation goal.
“Members of the U.S. fishing community are one of NOAA’s primary conservation partners, and contribute to the sustainable, collaborative management of our nation’s USD 244 billion [EUR 210.27 billion] commercial and recreational fishing industries,” NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator and Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere Janet Coit said in a statement. “We are committed to providing all stakeholders with a seat at the table as we move forward with this important initiative.”
The two-month public response window and the virtual public forums are the latest steps to get that feedback. Previously, NOAA held five roundtable discussions with key stakeholders and two national public forums. Last week, it held two forums with tribal leaders.
Some of the steps NOAA has already taken in response is designating a new national marine sanctuary in Lake Michigan, tripling the size of a sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico, and proposing a new sanctuary in Lake Ontario and a national estuarine research reserve in Connecticut.
NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said in a statement that the agency is committed to advancing the Biden administration’s goals.
“For five decades, NOAA has connected people to places by conserving and restoring special marine, coastal, and Great Lakes areas for the benefit of all Americans,” he said. “Our experience, in support of this Administration’s efforts, will leave a lasting legacy for the next generation.”