Conservation groups unveil pathways to protect 30 percent of Colorado’s land and water by 2030

First-in-the-nation report highlights state-specific opportunities to achieve this bold goal

DENVER — Today, Conservation Colorado and Western Resource Advocates released a new report, Colorado Pathways to 30×30, that highlights our state’s opportunity to lead the way in achieving the international, science-based imperative of protecting 30 percent of our land and water by 2030. Known as the “Global Deal for Nature,” this vision for protecting our planet says that humanity should strive to conserve half of the lands, waters, and oceans of Earth by 2050 to address the climate and nature crises, slow the rate of extinction, and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

The report reminds Coloradans of what’s at stake, but it also offers hope alongside concrete administrative and legislative recommendations that can be taken at the federal, state, and local level to advance the 30×30 goal.

“The outdoors have always been central to our state’s identity — it’s Colorado, after all. And today, as folks escape the dangers of COVID-19 by heading to community parks, wilderness areas, and everything in between, it’s clear that we must lead to protect our lands and waters,” said Kelly Nordini, executive director of Conservation Colorado. “Our new report shows that the 30×30 goal is absolutely achievable if our leaders work together.”

Our federal and state leaders should act quickly to move us closer to the 30×30 goal by working to:

  1. Pass the Thirty by Thirty Resolution to Save Nature sponsored by Colorado Senator Michael Bennet and Representative Joe Neguse to establish a national 30×30 goal;
  2. Pass well-vetted, bipartisan public lands legislation like the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act; and,
  3. Support the national effort here at home by committing to a 30×30 goal through state-level executive or legislative action.

“Colorado’s open landscapes, flowing rivers, and wildlife make our state awe-inspiring. This report shows that Colorado can help lead the nation toward protecting 30 percent of lands and waters by 2030 and stave off potentially massive losses in biodiversity,” said Andre Miller, Western lands policy analyst at Western Resource Advocates. “However, with only 10 percent currently protected in Colorado, we still have considerable work to do in order to achieve this necessary goal in time. We need strong state leadership to formally commit Colorado to these goals to protect the places we love.”

Protecting 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030 is an ambitious goal, but it is one that nearly three-quarters of Coloradans support. Achieving it will conserve nature and wildlife, connect people, mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, protect our economy, increase our food and water security, and safeguard Coloradans’ quality of life for generations to come.