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News: New Senate Bill Promotes Botanical Research and Native Plant Preference


July 27, 2018

Massive forest fires, erosion, and invasives on public lands are making plant science more and more critical to informed decision-making. Yet park leaders and land managers increasingly complain that they cannot find botanists and others able to control invasive plants and preserve and restore healthy native ecosystems in a cost-effective way.

Senator Mazie K. Hirono has introduced S. 3240, The Botanical Sciences and Native Plant Materials Research, Restoration and Promotion Act to encourage federal land management agencies to hire botanists, conduct research on native plant materials, and incorporate native plants when feasible in projects on federal land. "By promoting the hiring of botanists and creating a preference for native plants, the bill will advance scientific expertise and help conserve water, save money, reduce the need for pesticides, and foster healthy, vibrant ecosystems," said Dede Petri, GCA president.  

"This bill provides resources to ensure that our land managers have the necessary tools and expertise to protect our native plants, many of which are endangered and are found nowhere else in the world," Senator Hirono said in a press release issued by her office. Senators Chris Van Hollen, Sheldon Whitehouse and Tammy Duckworth have also co-sponsored the bill.

S. 3240, The Botanical Sciences and Native Plant Materials Act, is a companion bill to H.R. 1054, introduced last year by Rep. Mike Quigley and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Seventy-three horticultural and conservation organizations have already endorsed the House bill including The Garden Club of America (GCA), the Chicago Botanic Garden, Longwood Gardens, the Center for Plant Conservation, Denver Botanic Garden, Iowa Native Plant Society, the New England Wildflower Society, the American Public Gardens Association and the National Tropical Botanical Garden.