August 10, 2018

Hirono Continues Advocacy for Use of Native Plants in Visit to Lyon Arboretum

Last Month, Senator Hirono Introduced Legislation to Encourage Federal Land Management Agencies to Prioritize Hiring Botanists, Conduct Research on Native Plants, and Incorporate Native Plants on Federal Land

HONOLULU – Senator Mazie K. Hirono continued her advocacy for the use of native plants during a visit to Lyon Arboretum where she toured the Native Hawaiian Garden, met with scientists, and planted native species at the facility.

“Scientists at Lyon Arboretum are working to preserve native ecosystems through research, outreach, and propagation of plants native to Hawaii – many of which are endangered and important to our culture,” Senator Hirono said. “The scientists I met with provided critical input in writing the Botanical Sciences and Native Plant Materials Research, Restoration, and Promotion Act, and I look forward to continuing our work together as we advocate for its passage.” 

“We are thrilled that Senator Hirono visited Lyon Arboretum to learn about, and participate in, the work we do with endemic and endangered Hawaiian plants,” Dr. Marian Chau, Seed Conservation and Laboratory Manager, Lyon Aboretum, Hawaiian Rare Plant Program said. “We're grateful for her initiative in introducing the Botanical Sciences and Native Plant Materials Research, Restoration, and Promotion Act, which would empower the U.S. to better preserve our incredible biodiversity. This is especially important for Hawaii, which has more federally listed endangered plants than all other states combined.”

Introduced in July, the Native Plant Materials Research, Restoration, and Promotion Act would promote native plat research and use by:

  • Creating a botanical research grant program within the Department of the Interior;
  • Promoting the hiring of botanists within the Department of the Interior and creating a student loan repayment program to attract and retain botanists;
  • Directing the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, and Defense to provide preference to native plant materials in land management projects and justify the use of non-native plant materials;
  • Requiring the use of native plant materials in surface transportation projects and federal building design;
  • Promoting interagency cooperation for various activities relating to native plants;
  • Directing the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to incorporate into existing activities native plant conservation; and
  • Creating a grant program within the Department of the Interior to keep rare plants off of the Endangered Species list by increasing their populations and helping those currently on the list recover.

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