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Roadside Use of Native Plants

Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies of April 26, 1994

Environmentally and Economically Beneficial Practices on Federal Landscaped Grounds

The Report of the National Performance Review contains recommendations for a series of environmental actions, including one to increase environmentally and economically beneficial landscaping practices at Federal facilities and federally funded projects. Environmentally beneficial landscaping entails utilizing techniques that complement and enhance the local environment and seek to minimize the adverse effects that the landscaping will have on it. In particular, this means using regionally native plants and employing landscaping practices arid technologies that conserve water and prevent pollution.

These landscaping .practices should benefit the environment, as well as generate long-term costs savings for the Federal Government. For example, the use of native plants not only protects our natural heritage and provides wildlife habitat, but also can reduce fertilizer, pesticide, and irrigation demands and their associated costs because native plants are suited to the local environment and climate.

Because the Federal Government owns and landscapes large areas of land, our stewardship presents a unique opportunity to provide leadership in this area and to develop practical and cost-effective methods to preserve and protect that which has been entrusted to us. Therefore, for Federal grounds, Federal projects, and federally funded projects, I direct that agencies shall, where cost-effective and to the extent practicable:

  1. Use regionally native plants for landscaping;
  2. Design, use, or promote construction practices that minimize adverse effects on the natural habitat;
  3. Seek to prevent pollution by, among other things, reducing fertilizer and pesticide use, using integrated pest management techniques, recycling green waste, and minimizing runoff. Landscaping practices that reduce the use of toxic chemicals provide one approach for agencies to reach reduction goals established in Executive Order No. 12856 "Federal Compliance with Right-To-Know Laws and Pollution Prevention Requirements;"
  4. Implement water-efficient practices, such as the use of mulches, efficient irrigation systems, audits to determine exact landscaping water-use needs, and recycled or reclaimed water and the selecting and siting of plants in a manner that conserves water and controls soil erosion. Landscaping practices, such as planting regionally native shade trees around buildings to reduce air conditioning demands, can also provide innovative measures to meet the energy consumption reduction goal established in Executive Order No. 12902, Energy Efficiency and Water Conservation at Federal Facilities;" and
  5. Create outdoor demonstrations incorporating native plants as well as pollution prevention and water conservation techniques, to promote awareness of the environmental and economic benefits of implementing this directive. Agencies are encouraged to develop other methods for sharing information on landscaping advances with interested non-Federal parties.

In order to assist agencies in implementing this directive the Federal Environmental Executive shall:

  1. Establish an interagency working group to develop recommendations for guidance, including compliance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C.4321, 4331-4335, and 4341-4347, and training needs to implement this directive. The recommendations are to be developed by November 1994; and
  2. Issue the guidance by April 1995.To the extent practicable, agencies shall incorporate this guidance into their landscaping programs and practices by February 1996. In addition, the Federal Environmental Executive shall establish annual awards to recognize outstanding landscaping efforts of agencies and individual employees. Agencies are encouraged to recognize exceptional performance in the implementation of this directive through their awards programs. Agencies shall advise the Federal Environmental Executive by April 1996 on their progress in implementing this directive. To enhance landscaping options and awareness, the Department of Agriculture shall conduct research on the suitability, propagation, and use of native plants for landscaping. The Department shall make available to agencies and the public the results of this research.

William J. Clinton
THE WHITE HOUSE,
April 26, 1994

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Questions and feedback should be directed to Deirdre Remley (deirdre.remley@dot.gov, 202-366-0524).

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