30 by 30 Conservation Task Force
Attention: the listening sessions of the 30 by 30 Task Force have completed. Minutes, presentations, and recordings can be viewed here, and the final report can be viewed here. Additional meetings will be posted when scheduled.
The mission of the Illinois 30 by 30 Conservation Task Force is to advise on the establishment of a bold goal for protecting the natural lands and waters of Illinois, holding listening sessions across the state and developing a report to the Governor and General Assembly by July 1, 2022.
The Task Force was established on August 27th, 2021, when the Illinois Thirty-by-Thirty Conservation Task Force Act was signed into law. It is composed of 24 members, including representatives of 5 state agencies and 4 state legislators from both parties, as well as 4 students and 15 experts in the environmental, economic, and recreational aspects of conservation appointed by the Director of the Department of Natural Resources.
Rapid land development in Illinois has led to the loss of vast amounts of natural lands and waters, impacting the quality of life of Illinois residents and potentially jeopardizing the future health of the state's environment and economy. Recognizing this, the Illinois General Assembly passed the Illinois Thirty-by-Thirty Conservation Task Force Act in 2021 calling for the establishment of a bold goal for protecting a portion of the state's lands and waters by 2030, and creating the Task Force to support the development of this goal.
Over the next few months, the Task Force will hold listening sessions across the state to discuss and hear testimony on
- Strategies to "conserve and protect" 30% of land and water
- Resources available to the State and how they are being utilized to protect land and water resources
- Tools and resources for landowners and private industry to manage resources responsibly and restore natural areas
- Private, public, and philanthropic funding for expanding protection and helping to manage protected lands
- Ability of the State to manage more public lands for future generations
By July 2022, the Task Force will prepare a report for the Governor and General Assembly compiling all their findings and information gathered in listening sessions.
Across the world, natural areas are rapidly disappearing. The United States alone loses 1,500,000 acres every year, and as a result experiences declining biodiversity, including the loss of 29% of birds in North America since 1970. These losses have vast impacts on the country's environment, economy, and quality of life. To ensure that future generations are able to benefit from natural areas through outdoor recreation, employment in natural resource-related industries, and experience of a flourishing natural environment, scientists recommend protecting 30% of land and water by the year 2030.
This recommendation has become a national movement, and the goal has been adopted to some extent in California and Hawaii. In 2021, the America the Beautiful Executive Order declared conserving "conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030" a national goal. In Illinois, the work of a broad coalition, including the advocacy of the students of Pontiac Township High School, inspired the passage of the bipartisan Illinois Thirty-by-Thirty Conservation Task Force Act calling for an ambitious goal to protect Illinois' lands and creating the Task Force to advise on how best to do so.