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Advocacy 2020-04-03T18:05:48+00:00

Advocacy Update March 2020

The Center for Plant Conservation Advocacy Committee tracks federal legislation that have direct impact on the safeguarding of rare and endangered plants.

Listed below are some of the bills that have been introduced in to Congress that support rare plant conservation. We encourage your support of these bills in our collective work to save native and rare plants.

Find Your Representative and Senators

1.) S. 3422 Great American Outdoors Act

This bill combines two major conservation bills: S. 500, aimed at reducing the nearly $20 billion deferred maintenance backlog on public lands, and S. 1081, which would make funding permanent for the Land and Water Conservation Fund at its $900 million annual authorized level. The Great American Outdoors Act is important for plant conservation because it contains language that requires native plants and natural infrastructure to be used in the projects funded by the bill.

Under the bill, the National Park Service would receive the bulk of the aid — 70% of the funds — or roughly $1.3 billion per year beginning in fiscal 2021.

The Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service each would get 10%, or $190 million annually, while the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Education would each collect 5%, or about $95 million annually.

Learn more About the Great American Outdoors Act

2.) S. 3150 Native Plant Species Pilot Program Act of 2020

This bill was introduced early January, 2020 in the Senate. It sets up a five-year pilot program in select National Parks to combat invasive species and test the success and the use of native plant material.

Bipartisan bill led by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA). Matt Cartwright (D-PA-8) introduced a companion bill in the House on February 28, 2020, H.R. 6024.

3.)  S. 2918 The Monarch and Pollinator Highway Act of 2019

A bill to require the Secretary of Transportation to establish a program to provide grants to carry out activities to benefit pollinators on roadsides and highway rights-of-way, including the planting and seeding of native, locally-appropriate grasses and wildflowers, including milkweed, and for other purposes.

This act facilitates a grant program including planting of native species along highways, with the planting and seeding of locally appropriate native wildflowers and grasses. Senators Merkley (D-OR), Alexander (R-TN), Carper (D-DE) and Rounds (R-SD) are the co-sponsors of this bill.

4.) H.R.1572 – Botanical Sciences and Native Plant Materials Research, Restoration, and Promotion Act

H.R.1572, commonly referred to as the “botany bill”, that among other things, “directs the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the National Park Service, and other appropriate entities to support a program of intramural and extramural botanical science research to support the land management responsibilities of the Department of the Interior.”

Learn more About the Botany Bill
Find Your Representative and Senators

S. 3422 Great American Outdoors Act information

A bill, introduced into the Senate on March 9, 2020 to establish, fund, and provide for the use of amounts in a National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund to address the maintenance backlog of the National Park Service, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, and the Bureau of Indian Education, and to provide permanent, dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and for other purposes. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and has 58 bipartisan co-sponsors.

BACKGROUND

The “Great American Outdoors Act” combines two major conservation bills: S. 500, aimed at reducing the nearly $20 billion deferred maintenance backlog on public lands, and S. 1081, which would make funding permanent for the Land and Water Conservation Fund at its $900 million annual authorized level.

Under the bill, the National Park Service would receive the bulk of the aid — 70% of the funds — or roughly $1.3 billion per year beginning in fiscal 2021.

The Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service each would get 10%, or $190 million annually, while the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Education would each collect 5%, or about $95 million annually.

S.500 and S.1081 were important for plant conservation because they contained language that required native plants and natural infrastructure to be used in the projects funded by the bills. The new Great American Outdoors Act combines those two bills to further the protection of our natural lands and water.

  • S.1081 Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act

    This bill makes permanent, beginning in FY2020, funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

    The Land and Water Conservation Fund was established by Congress in 1964 to fulfill a bipartisan commitment to safeguard our natural areas, water resources and cultural heritage, and to provide recreation opportunities to all Americans. Using zero taxpayer dollars, the fund invests earnings from offshore oil and gas leasing to help strengthen communities, preserve our history and protect our national endowment of lands and waters. The LWCF Act authorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund at an annual level of $900 million, but Congress usually appropriates only a portion of this amount. While $900 million in revenue is deposited into a designated account in the Treasury each year, Congress has appropriated full funding to support conservation and recreation projects only once in the Fund’s 50-year history – diverting the remainder for other purposes.

  • S.500 –  Restore Our Parks Act and H.R.1225 – Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act

    These bills (1) establish the National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund, and (2) requires 50% of all energy development revenues for FY2019-FY2023 to be deposited into such fund.

  • H.R. 3195 is the companion bill to S. 1081 introduced in the House of Representatives, again with bipartisan support.

Find Your Representative and Senators

H.R.1572 – Botanical Sciences and Native Plant Materials Research, Restoration, and Promotion Act

The US House of Representatives introduced a bill, H.R.1572, commonly referred to as the “botany bill”, that among other things, “directs the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the National Park Service, and other appropriate entities to support a program of intramural and extramural botanical science research to support the land management responsibilities of the Department of the Interior.”

The bill has bi-partisan support and is being widely promoted by professionals in academia, botanical gardens and conservation.

The Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) supports this bill for the following reasons:

  • It would increase the number of trained botanists, scientists, conservation biologists and ecologists to conduct the science-based research necessary for the conservation of vulnerable plants and their ecosystems.
  • It advocates for science-based research that provides data to alert relevant agencies and the public with vital information to inform decision-making, responsible environmental government policy and conservation action.
  • It supports engagement between the Department of the Interior with other agencies and groups, including organizations like CPC, to maximize conservation efforts and legislative advocacy efforts.

UPDATE

There is no new update on the “botany bill” as of March 2020.

On March 6, 2019, H.R.1572, was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Rob Quigley (D-IL-5) and co-sponsor Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL-19). As of August, 2019, the bill has 50 co-sponsors, including the 22 original.

The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forest and Public Lands held hearings on July 18, 2019. Center for Plant Conservation President and CEO,  CPC Participating Institutions, and Board of Trustees attended the hearings and met with Representative and Senate staff to share why it is important to save plants in the United States and why the Botany Bill is key to saving these imperiled plants.

On July 31, 2019 a related bill, S.2384, Botanical Sciences and Native Plant Materials Research, Restoration, and Promotion Act was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Hirono (D-HI).

CALL TO
ACTION

Take action for plant conservation

Now is the perfect time to contact your Representative and Senator to ask them to support plant conservation legislation. Please take this time to write to, email, phone, or visit your Representative in person and ask them to support these bills that help save plants.

What to do

Find the contact info for your Representative or Senator

Let your elected official know that plant conservation is important to you and ask them to support the House and Senate versions of these bills. If they have cosponsored the bill, thank them. If they have not, ask them to do so.

Tell your friends and family to contact their elected officials to support legislation that helps plant conservation.

Please help us all Save Plants by supporting these federal bills

Thank you from each of us for acting now.

Sincerely,

Lindsay Marshall, Chair Advocacy Task Force, CPC Board of Trustees
Christopher Dunn, Advocacy Task Force, CPC Board of Trustees
Diana Fish, Advocacy Task Force, CPC Board of Trustees
Clark Mitchell, Advocacy Task Force, CPC Board of Trustees
Lynde Uihlein, Advocacy Task Force, CPC Board of Trustees
Lucinda McDade, Advocacy Task Force, CPC Board of Trustees
Joyce Maschinski, President and CEO

CALL TO ACTION

Take action for plant conservation

Autumn is the perfect time to contact your Representative and Senator to ask them to support plant conservation legislation. Please take this time to write to, email, phone, or visit your Representative in person and ask them to support the Botany Bill.

What to do

Find the contact info for your Representative or Senator

Let your elected official know that plant conservation is important to you and ask them to support the House version of the Botany Bill. Here is a sample letter for you to send to your Representative by email, postal mail, or use the letter as talking points and phone or visit their office. If they have cosponsored the bill, thank them. If they have not, ask them to do so.

Tell your friends and family to contact their elected officials to support the Botany Bill and plant conservation.

Please help us all Save Plants by supporting this historic and forward-thinking legislation.

Thank you from each of us for acting now.

Sincerely,

Lindsay Marshall, Chair Advocacy Task Force, CPC Board of Trustees
Christopher Dunn, Advocacy Task Force, CPC Board of Trustees
Diana Fish, Advocacy Task Force, CPC Board of Trustees
Clark Mitchell, Advocacy Task Force, CPC Board of Trustees
Lynde Uihlein, Advocacy Task Force, CPC Board of Trustees
Lucinda McDade, Advocacy Task Force, CPC Board of Trustees
Joyce Maschinski, President and CEO

About the Center for Plant Conservation

CPC’s mission is to ensure stewardship of imperiled plant species. Our core conservation activities include:

  • We advance science-based best practices in plant conservation through our network of conservation partners known as Participating Institutions.
  • Our network actively applies these practices to Save Plants from extinction here in North America as part of the CPC National Collection of Endangered Plants.
  • We share best practices with conservationists the world over and advocate for plants and their value to humankind.

As part of this mission, from time to time the Center for Plant Conservation takes positions on relevant matters that affect our collective ability to Save Plants. The Center for Plant Conservation is a non-partisan, 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. By law, CPC does not promote political parties or candidates but does issue statements on legislation and other actions that affect conservation objectives.