On May 15, 1908, first conference of U.S. governors issued a declaration in support of environmental conservation. The declaration was inspired by President Theodore Roosevelt and signed by the governors of all U.S. states and territories. The declaration focused on conserving natural resources: “We look upon these resources as a heritage to be made use of in establishing and promoting the comfort, prosperity, and happiness of the American People, but not to be wasted, deteriorated, or needlessly destroyed.”
 
Some of the natural resources addressed by the Conference of Governors included rivers and other freshwater sources, forests, arable land, and mineral wealth. The conference was especially concerned about the long-term impacts of soil erosion, and prioritized the importance of increasing farmland. Some of the methods supported by the 1908 conference—draining wetlands and irrigating deserts—have since been questioned by environmentalists.
 
The conference was the first official meeting of U.S. governors. Today, interstate cooperation on issues surrounding natural resource use remains a top priority for the National Governors Association.
arable
Adjective

land used for, or capable of, producing crops or raising livestock.

Noun

management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.

Noun

area of land that receives no more than 25 centimeters (10 inches) of precipitation a year.

Noun

act in which earth is worn away, often by water, wind, or ice.

forest
Noun

ecosystem filled with trees and underbrush.

freshwater
Adjective

having to do with a habitat or ecosystem of a lake, river, or spring.

governor
Noun

elected or appointed leader of a state or area.

heritage
Noun

cultural or family background.

mineral
Noun

inorganic material that has a characteristic chemical composition and specific crystal structure.

priority
Noun

something having more importance than others.

resource
Noun

available supply of materials, goods, or services. Resources can be natural or human.

soil
Noun

top layer of the Earth's surface where plants can grow.

Noun

area of land covered by shallow water or saturated by water.

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