Why it matters: The announcement of a request for proposals from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation marks one of the most significant steps that the Biden-Harris Administration has taken to advance the America the Beautiful Initiative. Closely tied to the global Thirty-by-Thirty (30×30) initiative which seeks to protect 30% of lands and waters by 2030, the America the Beautiful Initiative has been followed closely by the sportsmen’s community, who see the initiative’s potential benefits and threats. While many of the specifics will remain undefined until the Administration releases its American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas, the sportsmen’s community remains engaged in an effort to steer the initiative towards successful conservation.
Recently, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) released the 2022 Request for Proposals (RFP) to facilitate public-private conservation and restoration efforts, as it relates to the Biden-Harris Administration’s America the Beautiful Initiative. Termed the America the Beautiful Challenge, the current opportunity to submit RFPs represents a significant investment in the America the Beautiful Initiative.
The America the Beautiful Initiative began as part of the global Thirty-by-Thirty effort started by the environmental community. It seeks to protect the earth’s biodiversity and address climate change by protecting 30% of the planet’s lands and waters by the year 2030. “Thirty by Thirty” proposals were originally linked to global land and water protected area targets established by the United Nation’s Convention on Biological Diversity. However, given the lack of clarity regarding the 30×30 initiative and its impact on the United States, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) has been working to ensure this effort ultimately supports conservation, rather than preservation, and protects and advances opportunities for sportsmen and women.
Since 2020, CSF has been the leading voice in the hunting, fishing, trapping, and recreational shooting community on the America the Beautiful/30×30 efforts. Our efforts include the development of the HuntFish30x30 Coalition which consists of more than 65 organizations who are working to ensure the America the Beautiful Initiative supports the interests of America’s hunters, anglers, and other sportsmen and women, state fish and wildlife agencies, private landowners, and other conservation-minded stakeholders.
Specifically, the recently announced RFP will provide opportunities for states, Tribes, local governments, non-governmental organizations, and other interested stakeholders to apply for up to $85 million in grant funding made available by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. To be eligible for funding, a grantee must submit a proposal that is consistent with at least one of the following criteria:
Conserving and restoring rivers, coasts, wetlands, and watersheds
Conserving and restoring forests, grasslands, and other important ecosystems that serve as carbon sinks
Connecting and reconnecting wildlife corridors, large landscapes, watersheds, and seascapes
Improving ecosystem and community resilience to coastal flooding, drought, and other climate-related threats
Expanding access to the outdoors, particularly in underserved communities
Given that many questions regarding the America the Beautiful Initiative remain, CSF will continue to coordinate with the Biden-Harris Administration, the HuntFish30x30 Coalition, and other interested parties to ensure the America the Beautiful initiative supports and promotes the interests of America’s sportsmen and women.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?