Working Groups
Alien Plant Working Group
Medicinal Plant Working Group
Restoration Working Group
Plant Conservation Alliance
(If your federal agency is interested in becoming a signatory member of the Federal Native Plant Conservation Committee, please contact us.)


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This Memorandum of Understanding is made and entered into by and between the Bureau of Land Management, Department of Defense, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Geological Survey, National Park Service, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service, USDA Forest Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, hereinafter referred to as the Committee or as Members.



The purpose of this MOU is to establish and describe a Federal Native Plant Conservation Committee. The Committee will identify and recommend, as appropriate, priority conservation needs for native plants and their habitats and coordinate implementation of programs for addressing those needs. A native plant species is one that occurs naturally in a particular habitat, ecosystem, or region of the United States and its Territories or Possessions, without direct or indirect human actions. Recognizing that native plant species are of aesthetic, ecological, educational, historical, recreational, and scientific value to the Nation and its people, the Committee's priorities will be driven by the following vision:

"For the enduring benefit of the Nation, its ecosystems, and its people; to conserve and protect our native plant heritage by ensuring that, to the greatest extent feasible, native plant species and communities are maintained, enhanced, restored, or established on public lands, and that such activities are promoted on private lands."



Native plants are a key component of national and global biodiversity conservation efforts. Native plants and their communities support ecosystem functions vital to a healthy, productive, and beautiful environment. Native plants also provide innumerable direct and indirect benefits to the Nation's wildlife, its people, and its economy.

The native flora of the United States includes about 15,300 species of flowering plants, or about 7 percent of the world's total, the world=s oldest and largest conifers, and a wealth of other vascular and non-vascular plants. All these groups face challenges in the form of habitat loss and alteration, competition and predation by invasive species, and in some cases overexploitation for human use.

Opportunities exist for native plant preservation and conservation at Federal, State, Tribal, and local government levels, among public and private land managers, conservation organizations, and the interests of individual citizens. Protection and conservation of areas of highly diverse or rare native plants is key to conserving the Nation=s biodiversity and may convey additional benefits to species of both plants and animals that otherwise could become imperiled.

Numerous opportunities exist to employ native plants in a variety of federally implemented, funded, authorized, or permitted activities. For example, native plants can be used to revegetate road and other construction sites, or to assist the stabilization and recovery of wildfire burn sites. Native plants are an essential element of habitat restoration efforts at scales ranging from isolated wetlands to large regional efforts such as the BayScapes program which encompasses the entire 64,000 square mile Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Plants represent over half of all species federally listed as endangered and threatened species in the United States. As of July 2003, 1,262 native plant and animal species were federally listed as endangered or threatened in the United States. Of these, 517 were animals, and 745, or 59 percent, were plants. Federal lands provide habitat for more than 200 listed plant species and one fourth of the known occurrences of listed plants. Careful management of these lands can help maintain our nation's plant heritage. Federal agencies also have the expertise to assist non Federal land managers in plant conservation and protection efforts. Innovative partnerships are needed among public and private sectors, nationally and internationally, to conserve native plants and their habitats before they become critically endangered.



This Memorandum of Understanding is made and entered into pursuant to the provisions of the following statutes:

1. Bureau of Land Management: Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, 43 U.S.C. 1737(b), section 307(b) (1988) as amended by P.L. 98 540 (98 Stat. 2718) Oct. 24, 1984.

2. National Biological Survey: Secretarial Order 3173, September 29, 1993.

3. National Park Service: National Park Service Organic Act of 1916, 16 U.S.C. 1 (1988); Economy Act of 1932, 31 U.S.C. 1535 (1988); Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, 72 Stat. 563, 16 U.S.C. 661 (1988).

4. USDA Forest Service: Economy Act of 1932, 31 U.S.C. 1535 (1988); Multiple Use Sustained Yield Act of 1960, 16 U.S.C. 528 531.

5. USDA Soil Conservation Service: Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act of1935, P.L. 74 46 (49 Stat. 163, 16 U.S.C. 590a f).

6. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C. 1531 1548 (1988); Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act of 1980, 16 U.S.C. 2912 (1988); Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956, 16 U.S.C. 742f (1988); Fish and Wildlife Coordination. Act, 16 U.S.C. 661 (1988).

7. Federal Highway Administration: Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act of 1987, Section 130, Wildflowers, 23 U.S.C. 319(B) (P.L. 100 17).


The Committee members mutually agree that:

1. Membership on the Committee is open at any time to any Federal body interested in taking an active role in a native plant conservation program. Membership becomes official at such time as the Memorandum of Understanding is signed by the head of the Federal body or a designee thereof.

2. A member agency may designate one official (with one alternate) to serve as its representative to the Committee, who will attend scheduled meetings at his or her agency's expense. Each member agency will inform the Committee, in writing, of the name and position of its representative and alternate, or of any changes in same.

3. The Committee shall establish its own working rules, including a procedure for designating the Chair. The position of Committee Chair shall rotate every two years to a different member agency.

4. The Committee shall meet a minimum of once per year. Additional meetings may be scheduled as agreed to by the Committee, and may include meetings at field locations.



The Committee members mutually agree that the Committee will:

1. Develop and serve as a forum for coordination and implementation of a national native plant conservation program, consisting of public education and outreach, research, conservation actions, native plant materials development coordination, databases and information exchange, and international programs. The Committee shall continue to further its goals and objectives for a national native plant conservation program.

2. Encourage Committee members to take appropriate action within the limits of their respective authorities, policies, and budgets.

3. Encourage Committee members to coordinate program implementation with State natural resource agencies and natural heritage programs where appropriate, and promote cooperative efforts with States, tribal land managers, and local, national, and international conservation organizations through existing agreements or through establishment of new agreements.

4. Evaluate implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding on a regular basis to determine how effectively objectives are being met.



1. Working Groups may be formed or disbanded as needed, at the discretion of the Committee, consistent with the applicable requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Membership will consist of experts from both public and private sectors.

2. Working Groups will be formed to determine needs for public education/outreach, research, conservation actions, databases/information exchange, international programs, and to address other issues as agreed to by the Committee.

3. Working Groups will report regularly to the Committee on their deliberations including planning, coordination, facilitation, and implementation of actions recommended or developed by the Working Groups or by the Committee.

4. Working Groups representing geographic regions will be established to identify regional management needs for native plants and activities of Federal, State, and private interests within the regions. The geographic regions will be determined by the Committee.



1. Any Federal body not desiring formal representation on the Committee, and any State agency, private organization or individual, or foreign government agency interested in native plant conservation, may become a Cooperator upon acceptance of a written request to the Committee Chair. Cooperators may attend meetings of the Committee as observers, participate in informal open forums with the Committee, and participate in Working Groups. Cooperator agencies and organizations may designate one individual as a contact person, informing the Committee Chair in writing of the selection and of any changes in same. A Cooperator may withdraw upon 30 days' written notice.

2. As of July 2003, 188 governmental and non governmental organizations have Cooperator status. The complete list is available as Attachment 1.



1. This Memorandum of Understanding in no way restricts participants from involvement in similar activities with other public and private agencies, organizations, and individuals.

2. Nothing in this Memorandum of Understanding shall be construed as obligating Committee members or Cooperators to expend funds or to provide resources or be involved in any obligation for future payment of money or provision of resources.

3. Modifications within the scope of this Memorandum of Understanding shall be made by formal consent of the parties, by the issuance of a written modification, signed and dated by the parties, prior to any changes becoming effective.

4. Any Committee member may terminate or withdraw membership in whole or in part at any time before the date of expiration, by providing 30 days' written notice to the Committee Chair.

5. This Memorandum of Understanding is neither a fiscal nor a funds obligation document. Any endeavor involving reimbursement or contribution of funds between the parties to this instrument will be handled in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and procedures including those for Government procurement and printing. Such endeavors will be outlined in separate agreements that shall be made in writing by representatives of the parties and shall be independently authorized by appropriate statutory authority. This instrument does not provide such authority. Specifically, this instrument does not establish authority for noncompetitive award to any Committee member of any contract or other agreement. Any contract or agreement for training or other services must fully comply with all applicable requirements for competition.

6. This instrument expires no later than September 30, 2008, at which time it is subject to renewal through review and amendment, by extension, or by reauthorization by the participating Federal Agencies (Committee).



1. The program or activities conducted under this Memorandum of Understanding will be in compliance with the nondiscrimination provisions contained in Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987 (P.L. 100 259); and other nondiscrimination statutes: namely, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975.

2. No member of, or Delegate to, Congress shall be admitted to any share or part of this instrument, or any benefits that may arise therefrom.



IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have entered into this reauthorization of the Federal Native Plant Conservation Memorandum of Understanding originally signed May 25, 1994, as evidenced by their signatures below. The Federal Native Plant Conservation Conservation Memorandum of Understanding remains viable as long as at least two Federal bodies remain Committee members. The renewal of the Federal Native Plant Conservation Memorandum of Understanding is effective upon the date of the second Agency signature and will remain in effect until September 30, 2008, or until such time prior to this date that it is subject to review and amendment.

Steve Williams 9/29/03
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Dale Bosworth 12/28/03
Chief, USDA Forest Service
FS Number: 04-SU-11132424-005

Fran P. Mainella
National Park Service Director

Mary E. Peters 8/19/04
Administrator, Federal Highway Administration

Kathleen Clarke 11/2/04
Director, Bureau of Land Management

Edward B. Knipling 12/2/04
Administrator, Agricultural Research Service

Bruce Knight 6/1/05
Chief, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Acting Director P. Patrick Leahy
U.S. Geological Survey

Alex A. Beehler
Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Department of Defense

The MOU is effective because at least two Federal agencies have signed; other agencies are in the process of signing the MOU. The names of signatory agencies will be added on an ongoing basis.

Please note that an MOU Extension is no longer necessary because a new MOU is in the process of being signed. If your federal agency is interested in becoming a signatory member of the Federal Native Plant Conservation Committee, please contact us.
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Last updated: 27-Sep-2006