CSAC Bulletin Article

Executive Order to Conserve 30 Percent of Land, Water and Biodiversity

October 8, 2020

Governor Gavin Newsom has issued a new Executive Order (EO N-82-20)that will create a California Biodiversity Collaborative to bring together stakeholders to advance protection of California’s biodiversity. The order also supports the global effort to promote biodiversity and combat the climate crisis. The Executive Order sets as the goal of the State to conserve at least 30 percent of California’s land and coastal waters by 2030 and directs the California Natural Resources Agency, in consultation with the Collaborative, to create a set of recommendations by February 1, 2022.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because the order essentially implements a bill that failed in the Legislature this year, AB 3030 (Kalra). CSAC weighed in on the bill here along with other coalition members expressing concern with the bill.  Our concerns included: (1) that several counties are already over 90 percent publicly-owned; (2) a lack of baseline obscures where action on biodiversity is needed; (3) lack of management within publicly owned lands has contributed to biodiversity challenges; and, (4) lack of criteria for funding the proposal.  The Executive Order attempts to address several of these concerns by laying a pathway to a baseline determination, such as establishing the Collaborative to include local agencies and assigning a managing agency to the initiative. The order does not discuss funding.

A second part of the order requires various state agencies to develop a Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy to serve as a framework to advance the state’s carbon neutrality goal and build climate resiliency. This builds upon the existing programs through the Department of Conservation’s working lands programs, California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Healthy Soils Program, and the existing Air Board Scoping Plan process.

For more information, please contact Catherine Freeman.

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