news releases

23 April 2024

Hispanic Access Foundation Joins As Inaugural Member of National Initiative to Preserve and Reconnect 100,000 Miles of Rivers and Streams

Category: News Releases

Hispanic Access Foundation is proud to join the Biden-Harris Administration as an inaugural member of "The America the Beautiful Freshwater Challenge", a partnership to conserve and restore America’s rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands and set a new national goal of protecting, restoring, and reconnecting 8 million acres of wetlands and 100,000 miles of rivers and streams.

Our nation’s lakes, rivers, streams, estuaries, and wetlands are fundamental to the health, prosperity, and resilience of our communities and are held sacred by many tribal nations. They are the sources of clean drinking water that flows into the taps of our homes and economic drivers supporting jobs and outdoor recreation across the nation. By absorbing and storing carbon, our nation’s waterways and wetlands--and the forests, grasslands, and farmlands they nourish--play a critical role in the fight against climate change. But they are at risk; through 2019, the U.S. wetland loss rate increased by 50 percent over the previous decade. And a recent decision by the Supreme Court rolled back protections for some of our country’s most important and most imperiled streams, wetlands, and freshwater resources from pollution and destruction.

The Latino community accounts for 47.2 percent of agricultural field workers in the U.S. and rely on access to pristine water from rivers and lakes for irrigation and successful crop cultivation. Their deep connection to clean water encompasses cultural, economic, and public health dimensions, highlighting the critical need to safeguard water sources to uphold cultural traditions, support livelihoods, and enhance the welfare of Latino populations. The preservation of waterways holds significant importance for the Latino community. 83 percent of Latino voters in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming recognize the river as critical to their state’s economy, and 84 percent believe it requires urgent action.

"We are honored to collaborate with the Biden-Harris Administration in embarking on a new national endeavor to preserve and revive freshwater reserves," said Maite Arce, president and CEO of Hispanic Access Foundation. “Latino history, traditions, and identity are engrained in our rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands. By preserving them, we not only protect valuable wildlife and help mitigate climate change; we also help preserve Latino culture."

The America the Beautiful Freshwater Challenge is a new initiative that supports states and other governments and entities, including tribes, interstate organizations, cities, and local communities, who are advancing their policies and strategies for conserving and restoring America’s freshwater systems. Over 100 inaugural members signed on to support freshwater restoration in their communities, including ten states, seven tribes, and 24 local governments. Learn more about “The America the Beautiful Freshwater Challenge” here.

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Hispanic Access Foundation connects Latinos and others with partners and opportunities to improve lives and create an equitable society.

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