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America the Beautiful for All supports the designation of the Santa Cruz River Urban National Wildlife Refuge

By America the Beautiful for All

Posted: Tuesday, July  2, 2024, by Comms Team


The America the Beautiful for All Coalition Wildlife Workgroup expresses support for the Santa Cruz River Urban National Wildlife Refuge designation in southern Arizona. The establishment of this urban national wildlife refuge would meaningfully contribute to the administration’s America the Beautiful initiative and be a historic example of a locally-led, community-driven conservation and restoration of a culturally and ecologically significant landscape.

The vision for the Santa Cruz River Urban National Wildlife Refuge involves an archipelago of protected properties along the Santa Cruz River that would offer permanent wildlife habitat, outdoor access, and ecotourism. The land in the urban core would anchor this “string of pearls,” offering shade, river access, and outdoor education for the neighboring communities. The Santa Cruz River corridor offers abundant recreation opportunities, including birdwatching at Sweetwater Wetlands, and cycling and walking along the award-winning 137-mile Chuck Huckelberry Loop, a beloved paved recreation trail with dozens of access points that runs alongside the Santa Cruz River and its major tributaries.

Local leaders, alongside restoration volunteers, have created over 17 miles of vibrant habitat that has been foundational to the recovery of native vegetation, wildlife, insects, reptiles, fish and migratory birds. Collaborations between governments, academics, non- profits and volunteers have helped establish the importance of the river corridor for wildlife and connectivity to the surrounding Sky Island mountain ranges. The people of the San Xavier District of the Tohono O’odham Nation have ancestral ties to the flowing Santa Cruz River and the lands around it. The original homeland of the Tohono O’odham Nation is located near what is now downtown Tucson on the river, which the people of the Nation have stewarded for millennia. They continue to access these lands for ongoing cultural and religious practices.

The America the Beautiful for All Coalition Wildlife Workgroup requests the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designate the country’s newest urban national wildlife refuge, the Santa Cruz River Urban National Wildlife Refuge, along the length of the Santa Cruz, south and north of the San Xavier District, in Santa Cruz and Pima Counties to preserve the river’s past, present and future.

“Designation of the Santa Cruz River Urban National Wildlife Refuge would be a celebrated win for community-led conservation efforts. A new national wildlife refuge would protect important habitat for the endangered Southwestern willow flycatcher and hundreds more animals, all while ensuring access for Tucson residents and visitors to connect with nature and cherished wildlife.” – Jewel Tomasula, Policy Advisory at Endangered Species Coalition.

“The Santa Cruz River Urban National Wildlife Refuge is a critical step towards ensuring that everyone, regardless of background, has the opportunity to experience and benefit from the beauty and biodiversity of our natural world. Access to urban green spaces and wildlife sanctuaries is essential for the well-being of marginalized communities. These areas provide critical opportunities for recreation, education, and a connection to nature that enriches our lives and cultural heritage. This refuge will not only protect vital habitats but also foster a sense of stewardship and belonging.” — Adrian Angulo, Campaign and Program Director at Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project.

Earth Month 2024 Recap: Biden Adminstration Makes Monumental Conservation Progress

By America the Beautiful for All

Posted: Monday, May 13, 2024, by Comms Team


The Biden Administration announced a series of policy changes that set a course for a more sustainable future. With the Conservation and Landscape Health Rule and new actions to protect land in the Alaskan Arctic, the administration took bold steps to protect public land. Additionally, the administration has announced new and ambitious goals for protecting freshwater resources, which are crucial to conserving 30% of the United States’ lands, freshwater, and oceans by 2030 while ensuring that at least 40% of the overall benefits flow into disadvantaged communities. The Biden-Harris administration has now protected more than 41 million acres of lands and waters—putting President Biden on track to conserve more lands and waters than any President in history. 

The progress during Earth Month complements President Biden’s America the Beautiful initiative, a 10-year, locally-led and nationally-scaled effort to protect, conserve, and restore the lands, waters, and wildlife upon which we all depend. It also builds on President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, which outlines historic investments in public lands and waters.

The Conservation and Landscape Health Rule Protects America’s most iconic and vital public lands

The Department of the Interior announced the final Conservation and Landscape Health Rule, providing tools for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to protect public lands in the face of climate change, conserve important wildlife habitats, facilitate responsible development, and better recognize unique cultural and natural resources on public lands.

BLM lands represent nearly 40% of America’s public lands. They are home to culturally and ecologically significant places sacred to Tribes and many communities. The Conservation and Landscape Health Rule is a crucial step towards achieving conservation goals while preserving the culture and stories the lands represent to rural, frontline, and communities of color.

“We applaud the Biden administration’s decision to preserve cultural areas, better protect wildlife habitat, and safeguard outdoor access and recreational opportunities.”

– André Sanchez, Community Engagement and Conservation Policy Manager, CalWild

Two New Actions Make Critical Progress in Protecting the Alaskan Arctic

The Biden Administration took key actions to conserve Alaskan fish and wildlife habitats, reduce extractive activities on public lands, and ensure millions of acres of land are managed appropriately to protect the subsistence economy that is significant to Alaska Native people and rural communities. These steps follow President Biden’s actions in March to protect millions of acres of lands and waters in the Arctic, including approximately 2.8 million acres of the Beaufort Sea, ensuring the entire United States Arctic Ocean is off limits to new oil and gas leasing.

After significant engagement with the public, Alaska Native Tribes, and Alaska Native Corporations, the BLM finalized the Management and Protection of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A) rule, which  will ensure maximum protection for 13 million acres land in the western Arctic, while supporting subsistence uses and needs for Alaska Native communities.

The BLM also released its environmental analysis for the Ambler Road project—a proposed plan to build a road that would span over 210 miles of significant wildlife habitat and pristine waters that are vital for subsistence along the iconic Brooks Range in north central Alaska. The BLM recommended that the road not be built, finding that any development would significantly and irrevocably impact resources, including those supporting important subsistence uses in ways that can not be mitigated.

Biden Administration Announces Bold Freshwater Protection Goals

As a part of its America the Beautiful Freshwater Challenge, the Biden Administration announced new national goals to protect rivers and freshwater resources. These goals — the most ambitious in United States history — include protecting and restoring 8 million acres of wetlands and 100,000 miles of rivers by 2030. 

To achieve these goals and to ensure that our freshwater resources are protected for current and future generations, the Biden-Harris Administration is calling on all states, Tribes, interstate organizations, cities, and local communities, to advance their own policies and strategies for conserving and restoring America’s freshwater systems. More than 100 inaugural members have already signed on to support freshwater restoration including seven states, eight Tribes, and 24 local governments.

“As a member of the America the Beautiful for All Coalition, the Rio Grande International Study Center strongly endorses the Biden-Harris Administration’s America the Beautiful Freshwater Challenge. This initiative is a logical next step – a natural extension in our continued work to protect and restore the Rio Grande and a robust affirmation of our organization’s commitment to freshwater protection. We do so by leveraging and enhancing our reach in this united cause to promote our shared vision that our communities’ water resources are responsibly managed and protected for the benefit of generations to come.”

Martin Castro, Watershed Science Director at Rio Grande International Study Center

April’s Progress Sets the Course for Continued Action

The Biden Administration demonstrated remarkable dedication to advancing conservation goals. Building off other key climate initiatives, this administration has undeniably charted new territory in conservation.

While celebrating these achievements, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the work to advance equitable conservation projects is ongoing. Ensuring that all communities benefit from and participate in conservation is essential for long-term success and impact. Conservation work must prioritize equity and consider the unique meaning of public land and waters for different cultural and identity groups across the country. The America the Beautiful for All Coalition looks forward to continuing to collaborate with the Biden Administration to work towards conservation goals that keep justice and equity at the top of mind.

Nearly 100 advocates attended the first annual ATBFA DC Fly-in

Op-ed: Celebrating Collective Power for Change

through the America the Beautiful for All Coalition

By Justice Outside President and CEO Kim Moore Bailey

Posted: Tuesday, February 27, 2024, by Comms Team


Last year, I was approached to join the America the Beautiful for All steering committee alongside a stellar group of leaders and advocates in the environmental and outdoors sector. I accepted the opportunity not only because its mission spoke to me personally, but also because the Coalition’s twin goalsprotecting 30% of our lands and waters by 2030 and ensuring that at least 40% of investments in reaching this historic goal are made in communities of color and frontline communities that have historically seen little to no investment in conservation and equitable access to nature—are the key to facing the deeply rooted inequities in our sector and mitigating some of the worst impacts of climate change. 

The Coalition’s work and the process in which we are advancing change spoke to my experiences as a Black woman leader in the environmental and outdoors sector. Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color often hold the solutions to the issues facing our world, from climate change to economic disparity. Through centuries of having to survive without consistent investment from the state, we have learned how to lean on each other and creatively find solutions that are rooted in mutual aid and community support. Yet, we’re severely underrepresented in the environmental and outdoor sector. That’s why my organization Justice Outside works to advance racial justice and equity in the outdoor and environmental sector through building organizational capacity, developing the outdoors workforce, grantmaking, and advocacy. We joined the America the Beautiful for All coalition because it is intentionally working towards not only meaningful representation but also towards centering the leadership of leaders of color. 

The coalition model utilized by America the Beautiful for All is effective and a key to radical transformation. This model allows leaders and organizations, including community-led efforts, to come together and pool our power and resources for change. When we show up to a meeting on the Hill, there are not only leaders of the biggest environmental justice organizations in DC and New York in the room with us. There are folks from across the country and from organizations of different sizes and backgrounds. There’s power in that plurality because we bring with us the wisdom of our communities and the legitimacy of community driven organizations that are deeply rooted in and led by the solutions of our peoples. At Justice Outside,  we push back against the idea that one extraordinary person or organization has the answers when it comes to the issues we face. No one person or organization is a savior or a solution. It’s community that has answers. It’s our collective networks and collective power that will lead to change. While there’s space for growing our coalition and adding more groups and voices to it, that sentiment of collective power building  is embodied in the design of the America the Beautiful for All coalition. 

From advocating for a just and fast transition away from fossil fuels to investment in public transit to connect all our communities to green spaces, every one of the issues highlighted in the Coalition’s policy agenda is timely and essential. Through our policy agenda, we identify some of the most urgent issues in the environmental and outdoor field and present solutions that are rooted in equity and justice. We cannot wait any longer to address rising sea temperatures and the imminent threat to marine diversity or the disproportionate harmful health impacts of traditional mining on our communities. The America the Beautiful for All coalition policy agenda shares specific and tangible ways for the Biden-Harris administration to tackle these issues with the support, buy-in, involvement, and leadership of frontline communities and communities of color. 

To sustain our planet and communities for the current and future generations, it’s time to tap into the collective power of the American the Beautiful for All Coalition and the communities we represent. The Coalition’s tent is large and growing. There’s still work to be done to build trust towards the coalition and the table has the ability to grow bigger and be even more inclusive. This is key because it’s going to take all of us to bring change and build a sustainable world. No one coalition or organization has the bandwidth or ability to address the great challenges ahead of us. To apply the principle of “nothing about us without us” to the America the Beautiful for All Coalition requires that we continue to invest in inviting and bringing in folks from different walks of life. Join us in our advocacy for 30 by 30 and Justice 40 for our peoples and our planet. 


About Kim Moore Bailey: 

With over 25 years of experience in strategic planning and community engagement, Kim Moore Bailey (she/her) provides the leadership and vision that drives Justice Outside’s work, shifting resources to, building power with, and centering the voices and leadership of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color to advance racial justice and equity in the outdoor and environmental movement.  

As President and Chief Executive Officer of Justice Outside, Kim guides the overall strategic direction for the organization and supports the leadership team as they manage the organization’s grantmaking portfolio, training and capacity-building programs and on-going advocacy work.

Kim is a frequent speaker and thought leader on topics related to racial equity and inclusion in the outdoor and environmental fields. As a facilitator, she has supported many individuals and organizations in thinking about equitable access to nature and designing outdoor spaces and programming that supports this goal.

Prior to Justice Outside, Kim was a Vice President with Outward Bound where she supported their city-based programs, and she was the Mayoral appointee as the Manager for Denver Parks and Recreation.

Kim serves on the Board of Directors for the Children & Nature Network, The Redford Center, The National Recreation Foundation, and the Blue Sky Funders Forum.