S. 557

Native Plant Species Pilot Program Act of 2021

STATEMENT OF MICHAEL A. CALDWELL, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, PARK PLANNING, FACILITIES, AND LANDS, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SENATE ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, CONCERNING S. 557, THE NATIVE PLANT SPECIES PILOT PROGRAM ACT OF 2021.

MAY 11, 2022

Chairman King, Ranking Member Daines, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to present the Department of the Interior’s views on S. 557, the Native Plant Species Pilot Program Act of 2021.

The Department supports S. 557.

S. 557, the Native Plant Species Pilot Program Act of 2021, would create a pilot program to utilize native plant materials in projects within National Park Service units to protect native plant biodiversity.  The bill complements and enhances how the National Park Service utilizes native plant materials for revegetation on projects throughout the Service.  

S. 557 is aligned with the National Park Service mission and NPS 2006 Management Policies. National Park System units acquire native plant materials through a variety of mechanisms including greenhouses, seed storage capacity, native plant nurseries within park units, and by working with partners to obtain native plant materials for restoration activities.  For example, at Flight 93 National Memorial, on a former surface mine restoration project, more than 4,200 volunteers have planted 41 varieties of native trees and shrubs across 197 acres.  At Devil's Tower National Monument, park staff and contractors used locally collected native plant seed to restore 3 acres of disturbed land at the park's visitor center and along the popular Power Trail to Devil's Tower.  At Pea Ridge National Military Park, National Park Service staff and contractors collected native seed from remnant prairies and planted them in agricultural fields outside the park. The seed and plants will be harvested and used to restore 30 acres of Civil War battlefield, including an obliterated highway, existing roadways, and areas near the park’s Visitor Center.

Finally, the NPS would like to work with the sponsor and the Committee to address technical edits regarding the implementation of the bill.

Chairman King, this concludes my statement. I would be pleased to answer any questions you or other members of the Subcommittee may have.

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