Sen. Hirono Visits Lyon Arboretum

August 10, 2018, 3:42 PM HST (Updated August 10, 2018, 3:42 PM)
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Sen. Mazie K. Hirono continued her backing 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.

(L-R) David Shepard, Senator Hirono, and Marian Chau at Lyon Arboretum. Courtesy photo.

“Scientists at Lyon Arboretum are working to preserve native ecosystems through research, outreach, and propagation of plants native to Hawai‘i—many of which are endangered and important to our culture,” Sen. 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.”

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“We are thrilled that Sen. 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 Hawai‘i, 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 plant 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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