You made a difference on US government import regulations

Michael Mace
Fri, 19 Apr 2013 12:53:58 PDT


For those of you who have been following the US government's efforts to
tighten up the import rules on plants, the government just issued its final
ruling on the first batch of plants that will be banned from import out of
fear that they might become invasive. It's been a very long process with a
lot of back and forth discussion with the folks in Washington, but the
outcome is that they listened to us.  Two "bulb" species that they had
proposed for import bans, Gladiolus undulatus and Alstroemeria aurea, have
been removed from the list.


You can read the full ruling here:… 


Your feedback helped show them that these two species were already available
in the US (making an import ban irrelevant) and that they are not major
risks for becoming broadly invasive weeds.


(Note that the definition for invasive weed in this case means something
that shows a tendency to escape into the wild and take over undisturbed
areas, not just something that moves around within a garden. They're looking
for potential economic harm here.) 


I wish Roy Sachs had lived to see this. He was a PBS member, Alstroemeria
grower, and former chair of the Landscape/Environmental Horticulture
department at UC Davis.  Roy was skeptical that the government would pay any
attention to him, but he went ahead and sent them information on the
behavior of A. aurea in cultivation, and I think he had a big influence on
the government's decision.  Good job, Roy!


The other outcome of this process is that the government folks are much more
aware of groups like ours, and are quite open to working with us in the
future to identify truly dangerous species and to find ways to import seeds
and plants in ways that reduce the risk of invasive pests.  I think the ball
is in our court to build a relationship with them and come up with creative
ideas on how to work together. The more we work with them up front, the more
we can head off misguided regulations before they become a problem.


Thanks to everyone who helped out by providing information about the
presence and behavior of these species.



San Jose, CA

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