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Hirono, Quigley Introduce Bicameral Legislation to Create National Seed and Restoration Center, Conserve and Restore Native Plant Species Across U.S.

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL) introduced the National Interagency Seed and Restoration Center Establishment Act, legislation that would create and fund a National Interagency Seed and Restoration Center within the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) to promote the conservation and restoration of native plant communities across the U.S.


“In Hawaii, native plants are not just significant to our state’s history and culture, they also provide restorative benefits to our local ecosystems and habitats,” said Senator Hirono. “Native plants also play a crucial role in strengthening the landscape resilience and biodiversity in every region of our country. I’m proud to introduce this legislation to help combat harmful invasive species, and protect and restore native plant communities across the country.”

“As our earth braces for more climate disasters, native plants are the key to protecting our landscapes and the precious ecosystems within them. Not only are native plants more resilient to climate change, they are actively removing carbon dioxide from our air, protecting us in the process,” said Quigley. “This bill ensures we can research the most effective methods for native plant restoration. It also invests in our future by building an archive of seeds to guarantee these plants are protected for generations to come. It is clear that if we are to defend our environment from climate change, native plants are at the heart of this mission.”

Native plant communities across the country are at-risk or going extinct as a result of invasive species and climate change-related impacts, including extreme weather events such as wildfires. In order to conserve and restore these native plant communities, a robust native seed and plant material supply chain is necessary. The National Interagency Seed and Restoration Center Establishment Act would codify the establishment of a National Interagency Seed and Restoration Center, as well as ecoregional hubs representing all states’ and territories’ local needs, and authorize funding in support of the Center ($100 million per fiscal year over five years).

A National Interagency Seed and Restoration Center would serve as the scientific, logistical, and support hub for the country’s restoration and seed needs and would support interagency native plant programs. Specifically, the Center would:

  • Research the development and use of native plants, restoration of native plant communities, and propagate/store native plants;
  • Provide native plant materials to land managers;
  • Create resilient native plant communities;
  • Enhance interagency coordination; and
  • Coordinate shared use/enhancement of infrastructure for native plant material development.

The bill is endorsed by Chicago Botanic Garden; Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility; California Native Seed Supply Collaborative; National Wildlife Federation; Defenders of Wildlife; Western Watersheds Project; Institute for Applied Ecology; Native Seed Network; and Garden Club of America.

“The Garden Club of America, with its long history of working to restore, improve, and protect our environment, highly commends Senator Hirono and Representative Quigley for their vision and leadership in championing legislation to advance native plants and combat invasive species,” said Marilyn Donahue, The President of the Garden Club of America. “Native plants are the backbone of biodiversity, on which our life on this planet depends. This forward-looking legislation not only supports biodiversity but also assures a coordinated federal approach to providing managers with the science, funding, and adaptable, resilient native plant materials that will aid in the preservation of existing ecosystems and also assure the restoration of landscapes decimated by natural disasters.”

“This bill addresses the urgent need to ensure a national supply of native seeds is available for restoration of public lands after fires and other disasters,” said Jean M. Franczyk, executive director and president, Chicago Botanic Garden. “Coordination among multiple stakeholders and research is needed to better restore our public lands. This is game changing legislation, and the time is now to establish a National Interagency Seed and Restoration Center and regional hubs.”

The full text of the bill is available here.