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Hirono proposes bill to create national hub for storing native plant communities

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ʻŌhiʻa-Honouliuli Forest Reserve (4-27-18). Ōhi’a lehua is endemic to the six largest islands of Hawai’i and is the most common native Hawaiian tree, comprising 80% of Hawaiʻi’s native forests. PC: DLNR

US Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) has introduced legislation that seeks to create a national support hub and storage center for native plants of all US states and territories.

The National Interagency Seed and Restoration Center Establishment Act — introduced by Sen. Hirono and Representative Mike Quigley of Illinois on Friday — if successful would create and fund a National Interagency Seed and Restoration Center within the US Department of the Interior (DOI) to promote the conservation and restoration of native plant communities across the US.

“In Hawaiʻi, 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 Hirono. “Native plants also play a crucial role in strengthening the landscape resilience and biodiversity in every region of our country.”


The DOI says over $1 million in initial funding has already been dedicated toward strategic planning for such a center.

The response to native plant communities at-risk of extinction, according to authors of the bill, are a result of invasive species and climate change-related impacts, including wildfires. The bill hopes to create a seed and plan material supply chain, “necessary” to conserve and restore various species, stated a press release on Friday.

The bill requests $100 million per fiscal year over five years to support the center and codify ecoregional hubs representing all 50 states in addition to US territories.


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.

“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.


The full text of the bill is available here.


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