You may have forgotten about it, but there is something afoot at the national and state level called the ’30 by 30′ plan. President Biden and Vice-President Harris announced the America the Beautiful Initiative in May 2021. Using locally led and voluntary nationwide efforts, this initiative is focused on conserving 30 percent of US lands and waters by 2030. Here in Vermont, the Community Resilience and Biodiversity Protection Plan (Act 59) became law in June 2023. It encapsulates the goals of the Biden-Harris initiative and takes us even farther with the goal to conserve 50 percent of Vermont’s landscape by 2050.

Close-up of a microphone at a public meeting. Image: Kane Reinholdtsen on Unsplash.com.What the heck does that mean? It’s hard to know at this point, but there is lots of activity around the VT 30 by 30 going on RIGHT NOW. The Vermont Conservation Strategy Initiative, headed by the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board and VT ANR, is working hard to define what it means to conserve 30% and eventually 50% of Vermont’s landscape. An inventory report is due to the Legislature by Summer 2024, with a final recommended Conservation Strategy Report in January 2026.

Working groups were established and have been addressing specific parts of Act 59. The first of these groups, the Conservation Categories Workgroup, held a public meeting on February 12th. You can find their report online and I would encourage you to read it. The definitions outlined there will drive Act 59 going forward.

More importantly from a lakes perspective, I would encourage you to sign up for the next workgroup presentation.  The meeting will be recorded and posted to the website later for those who can’t make the discussion. The Aquatic Systems Workgroup will hold a public meeting on February 21st to share their discussions and thoughts. Sign up here.

Resources for the VT 30 by 30 Initiative:

 

screenshot of Aquatic Working Group members

Members of the VCSI Aquatic Systems working group. Online here.