To celebrate Earth Day, President Biden today signed a new Executive Order to tackle climate change by investing in our nation’s lands and waters. It is significant that he chose to highlight the power and importance of natural climate solutions as a key part of local, national, and global climate action. The Executive Order touches on many actions that are relevant here in the Yampa Valley. Specifically, it aims to:
- Safeguard mature and old-growth forests on federal lands, as part of a science-based approach to reduce wildfire risk.
- Strengthen reforestation partnerships across the country to support local economies and ensure we retain forest ecosystems and sustainable supplies of forest products for years to come.
- Enlist nature to address the climate crisis with comprehensive efforts to deploy nature-based solutions that reduce emissions and build resilience.
The President also emphasized his plans to plant 1.2 billion trees in the United States. YVSC’s ReTree event and the ongoing Yampa River Forest Restoration Project give all of us a chance to participate in this effort. You can also volunteer to join the Yampa Valley Climate Crew and participate in restoration projects around Routt and Moffat County.
We are also preparing for wildfire resilience here in Routt County. To learn more about the current state of our forests, and how to prepare for potential wildfires this summer, please join the Routt County Wildfire Mitigation Conference on Saturday, April 30. Details and a registration link can be found at: routtwildfire.org.
As we pursue wildfire risk reduction to protect homes and infrastructure, we need to do so in a way that also protects and enhances the many benefits our forests provide, such as carbon sequestration, protection of snowpack and water supplies, wildlife habitat, and the critical emotional lift that spending time in mature forests can provide. We can do this by focusing on protecting mature, diverse forests where they exist and by replanting forests after fires to give them a head start on recovery.
Today and every day is a good day to appreciate and care for trees. We rely on them, and they rely on us more than ever before. Let’s all do our part. Happy Earth Day!