Fwd: Importation of Plants - Proposed rule - Request for Guidance

Tony Avent tony@plantdelights.com
Mon, 27 Jul 2009 05:24:25 PDT

Joyce Fingerut of the North American Rock Garden Society has been our 
point person for the hobbyist gardener, and the one responsible for 
getting the Small Seed Permit instituted.  Her email is 

There are a number of problem people in this debate...well meaning, but 
with a mystical idea that nature should always remain a Camelot...a 
pristine idealic static place that never really existed.  We (all 
parties to the debate) originally all met back in 2001 for a meeting 
known as the St. Louis Summit, where we came up with a voluntary code of 
conduct.  I tried to make the point that invasive species must be 
monitored on a local level.  My proposal was to use trained master 
gardeners to monitor if a plant was becoming a problem in a region and 
subsequently use the media to let folks know that the plant was a 
problem in that region and should not be planted.  Free market forces 
would then eliminate the demand in that area and the plant would 
subsequently disappear from production.  There still may be an 
occasional case for government preemption, when good science deems it 
necessary (we currently have a Federal Noxious Weed Law which is more 
than adequate). 

About 10 years ago, I heard about a closed meeting in Chicago with the 
eco-nazis and USDA-Aphis.  I showed up, uninvited just as a discussion 
was concluding to ban all plants that were invasive in any part of the 
US from the entire US.  I asked Dr. Reichard if this indeed was her 
intent, to which she replied, yes.  Can you imagine what would happen if 
this had occurred and every plant that invades in Florida, Hawaii, or 
California were banned from the entire country?  Any new regulations 
must allow plants like water hyacinth, lantana, and impatiens to be 
grown and produced in areas where it is not winter hardy while not in 
areas where it can choke out waterways.

As with everything, the devil is in the details and the current plants 
are to use a screening model such as devised by Dr. Sarah Reichard.  Her 
model includes many factors including plant families that have weeds as 
members, the propensity to reseed in the wild, whether the seed coat is 
desirable to wildlife, etc.  Such groups as the Nature Conservancy have 
conclucded that the only acceptable control of potential exotic weeds is 
exclusion....we must effectively shut the horticultural border under a 
guilty until proven innocent philosophy.  The dollars that they cite 
spent on controlling /costs incurred by exotic pests is staggering (5% 
of the worlds GDP) until you realize that it includes everyone who uses 
a pesticide to kill cockroaches or crabgrass.  I am including a link to 
the Nature Conservancy's Position paper on Invasive plants...pay 
particular attention to page 2...if this doesn't scare you to death, 
you're not a gardener. 

USDA Aphis is now accepting public comments, so please do so as well as 
call you Congressional representatives.

Tony Avent
Plant Delights Nursery @
Juniper Level Botanic Garden
9241 Sauls Road
Raleigh, North Carolina  27603  USA
Minimum Winter Temps 0-5 F
Maximum Summer Temps 95-105F
USDA Hardiness Zone 7b
email tony@plantdelights.com
website  http://www.plantdelights.com/
phone 919 772-4794
fax  919 772-4752
"I consider every plant hardy until I have killed it myself...at least three times" - Avent

James Waddick wrote:
>> I hope you will read the Nature Conservancy's position paper posted all
>> over the Internet...I have also been a member in the past.  This is
>> truly frightening.
> Dear Tony,
> 	I suspect you are the most knowledgeable member on this new 
> "Proposed Rule".
> 	Would you be willing to put down in a few simple words and 
> sentences  what you think this Rule might result in and then
> 	Who exactly (name, title email or postal address) we could contact,
> 	What topics might be of greatest importance to bring up and,
> 	When the deadline is for contacting the responsible agency(-ies) ???
> 	Has the agency proposing this already incorporated everything 
> in Hortus, specialty seed list, etc
> 	Will this list be by family, or genus, or species or down to cv?
> 	I'll certainly try to marshal some effort if I had a direct 
> contact to inform of my concerns.
> 			Thanks	Jim W.

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