ADVOCACY

Speak out for plants!

Why We Advocate

Advocacy is an important tool at our disposal to use in saving rare and endangered plants. In the broadest sense of the word, advocacy means to share and communicate the mission of our organization. Sometimes, however, public policies, laws and regulations hinder, thwart and even counter our mission of saving plants. That is when we need to sharpen this tool and focus our efforts to urge lawmakers to rule in favor of these imperiled plants. Plants can’t voice their concerns on Capitol Hill, so we must.

ADVOCACY TOOLS

HOW CAN WE PROTECT RARE PLANTS?

Just as the Center for Plant Conservation is a community of practice around the science of plants, we are building a community of advocates, working from every angle, to get Congress to move on bills that protect the environment and rare and endangered plants.

This community of advocates needs to go beyond all of us, we need to include our visitors, friends, families.

CPC Conservation Officer, Dr. Naomi Fraga working with her mentor Steve Boyd at Hidden Lake to conserve Hidden Lake blue curls - a taxa which was recently delisted.

What We Do

As part of our 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, the Center for Plant Conservation does not promote political parties or candidates but does issue statements on legislation and other actions that affect conservation objectives.

WRITE POSITION PAPERS

The Center for Plant Conservation Advocacy Committee drafts position papers on relevant topics pertaining to plant conservation. The purpose of the position papers is to have an organizational approved position on issues related to our mission, to give the Center for Plant Conservation the guidance under which to take actions, and show our stance on issues to the public and network.

CPC Position Papers
TRACK FEDERAL LEGISLATION

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

Current Legislation
SHARE OUR STORIES

If your organization would like to have us speak at your meeting or event, we’d love to share with you the amazing world of rare plant conservation – from collecting seeds of some of the rarest plants in the world, to the cutting-edge research needed to save these plants from extinction, please email us.

Contact Us

What You Can Do

Every action matters when it comes to saving plants. Whether it is becoming well versed on native and rare plants in your region, sending emails to your policy makers in support of plant conservation or sharing the work of the Center for Plant Conservation with others, these individual actions add up to big, positive change for plants.

STAY INFORMED

Sign up to the Center for Plant Conservation email list and receive timely action alerts and our monthly newsletter. You will keep up to date on the latest in plant conservation and be the first to know when relevant plant conservation legislation is being heard in Congress.

SIGN UP FOR EMAIL LIST
CONTACT CONGRESS

From time to time, we will reach out to our community and ask you to lend your voice to saving plants. If you need to find out how to contact your Representative or Senator in the United States Congress, click below.

FIND YOUR REPRESENTATIVE
LEARN MORE

The Center for Plant Conservation maintains a collection of more than 1,600 of America’s most imperiled native plants through its network of world class botanical gardens. To dig deeper into the status of these plants, please visit our National Collection.

NATIONAL COLLECTION

Position Papers

Background

Since 1984, the mission of the Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) has been to save the threatened and endangered native plants of the United States and Canada by supporting evidence-based measures to prevent extinction. The landmark 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA) has served to protect imperiled species. As advocates for native plants and biological diversity, we support the ESA(1) and champion the enforcement of federal, state, and local environmental laws to protect native species and the ecosystems that provide the essential context for their survival. Many plants are at risk owing to habitat destruction, climate change, invasive non-native plants and loss of pollinators, among other challenges. Without human intervention, an estimated one million of Earth’s plant and animal species may face extinction in the next decades. To save rare and imperiled plants, CPC collaborates with a network of partners–botanical gardens, arboreta, seed banks, herbaria, and research organizations–and is a member of the Endangered Species Coalition. Looking beyond the borders of the U.S.A., the CPC endorses international efforts aimed at securing the fate of Earth’s imperiled species.

Each plant species represents a unique genetic and phenotypic solution to the problem of how to live on planet Earth. Each species occupies a unique nexus in the web of interactions among living organisms and with the abiotic environment. As a result, the loss of a single species represents loss of irretrievable and precious information, while also endangering other species that are part of the interactive web of life. The CPC believes that human beings have the urgent responsibility to prevent this loss by taking action accordingly.

(1) According to the ESA, “‘Endangered’ means in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of a species’ range. ‘Threatened’ means likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future. (https://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/ESA_basics.pdf)

What CPC Supports

  • Conserving imperiled plants in nature (in situ) and in gardens, seed banks, and other repositories for living tissue (ex situ).
  • Preserving existing critical habitat of imperiled species and unoccupied “refuge” areas where species can recover and persist.
  • Safeguarding native species and ecosystems as a fundamental responsibility of humanity. Diverse wild populations are sources of medicine, food, and other essentials for human communities.
  • Advancing the conservation of imperiled flora through science-based standards and protocols, research, cutting-edge technology, information synthesis, data sharing, and collaboration.
  • Providing strict legal safeguards and consistent standards for threatened species awaiting listing that parallel those for listed endangered plants.
  • Increasing the number of trained botanists, conservation biologists, and ecologists to conduct the exacting scientific research, monitoring, and interventions necessary for native plant conservation and to provide science-based information to inform decision-making, responsible environmental policy-making by government entities at all levels, and conservation action.
  • Augmenting viable, genetically diverse germplasm in seed banks and gene banks as a critical step in the restoration of self-sustaining wild populations and the survival and recovery of plants at risk.
  • Supporting herbaria and their repositories of vouchers that provide expertly identified evidence to establish the historical ranges of species.
  • Backing increased funding for restoration of native ecosystems and rare plants on public lands and for active management and sound strategies to combat invasive weeds.
  • Working actively to protect pollinators with which plant species have co-evolved and upon which they depend for successful reproduction.
  • Empowering people with science-based knowledge to become advocates and activists for native plants threatened with extinction.

Federal Legislation

Background

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 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.

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.

UPDATE

On Tuesday, August 4, 2020 the President signed into law the Great American Outdoors Act.

Thanks to all of you who called and wrote your Representatives to vote for this important conservation bill. This victory wouldn’t have happened without you!

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.

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.