The Native Plant Society of New Jersey created a statewide legislative committee in August 2020. Our charge has been to identify legislation—chiefly at the state level—that impacts the wellbeing of our environment, and native plants in particular. In December 2020 and January 2021, we ran two campaigns to promote the passage of A1580/S83, establishing the Jersey Native Plants Program and A2070/S1016, “the Save the Bees Bill” prohibiting most outdoor non-agricultural uses of harmful neonicotinoid pesticides.
“Jersey Natives” will be a new initiative at the Department of Agriculture to promote the sale of native plants at retail garden centers and nurseries modeled on the successful “Jersey Fresh” and “Jersey Grown” programs. We are proud to be working with Secretary Fisher and the Department to help make this program a reality.
The “Save the Bees Bill” is critical as scientific research concludes that neonicatinoids (or neonics) are responsible for contributing to massive bird and insect losses and may also be harmful to humans and other wildlife. “This landmark legislation makes New Jersey a national leader in protecting pollinators, wildlife, and people from neonic contamination,” said Lucas Rhoads, Staff Attorney at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “The law relies on the most up-to-date science to ban the largest uses of neonics in the state. This is great news for not just pollinators that are poisoned by neonics, but for all the farmers who depend on insect pollination and for all New Jerseyans that value thriving ecosystems.”
The NPSNJ legislative committee currently supports A3677/S2186, a bill that prohibits sale, distribution, or propagation of certain invasive plant species without a permit for the Department of Agriculture. Although we would love to see a broader list of plants, this is a start, as many of these are still sold, particularly in places like Lowe’s and Home Depot. The current plant list includes:
- Norway maple (Acer platanoides)
- Mimosa or Silk tree (Albizia julibrissin)
- Porcelain berry (Ampelopsis glandulosa var. brevipedunculata)
- Japanese angelica tree (Aralia elata)
- Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
- Japanese clematis (Clematis terniflora)
- Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
- Weeping lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula)
- Winged burning bush (Euonymus alatus)
- English ivy (Hedera helix)
- Japanese hop (Humulus japonicas)
- Sericea lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneate)
- European privet (Ligustrum vulgare)
- Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii)
- Morrow’s honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii)
- Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
- Japanese crabapple (Malus toringo)
- Chinese silvergrass (Miscanthus sinensis)
- Eurasian water-milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum)
- Oriental photinia (Photinia villosa)
- Callery or Bradford pear (Pyrus calleryana)
- Common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
- Jetbead (Rhodotypos scandens)
- Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora)
- European water chestnut (Trapa natans)
- Siebold’s arrowwood (Viburnum sieboldii)
- Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda)
- Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis)
We encourage you to reach out to your state legislators in both the house and the senate and ask them to vote for this bill. It is good for the environment and good for New Jersey. You can find your legislator at https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/.
We also encourage our members to reach out to legislators to support a bill to help save Caven Point Peninsula.
Native plant enthusiasts and friends of the environment were dealt a blow when A4264/S2807, the “Liberty State Park Conservation, Recreation, and Community Inclusion Act,” was passed and signed by the Governor at the end of June, allowing commercial development of Liberty State Park in Jersey City. But we still have a chance to save Caven Point Natural Area. Senator Brian P. Stack introduced A4264/S2807 to preserve Caven Point as natural habitat and the bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. It is essential that we preserve this critical habitat along the Atlantic flyway for 120 species of resident and migratory birds, the largest uninterrupted stretch of natural waterfront between the Verrazano and George Washington Bridges. Please contact both your state representatives and state senator and ask them to work to advance this bill. You can read news stories about this bill at the Jersey Journal and the New Jersey Monitor.
You can read the full text here:
Please mark your calendar Saturday, Oct. 1 at 10am for the Friends of Liberty State Park walk to Caven Point on its opening day of the season, to support the Caven Point protection bill. For those who cannot make that date, the Hudson chapter of the NPSNJ is organizing a smaller group walk through Caven Point on Sunday, Oct. 2 at 10am. If anyone is interested they can email .
Key points to make when contacting your legislators about Caven Point:
- The 22-acre Caven Point area within Liberty State Park is one of the last undisturbed natural estuaries in the New York City area. It is home to over 250 species of birds and provides an important stopover during migration.
- The Caven Point nature trails and wetlands are a living classroom for ecology and biology education—especially for urban youth. Caven Point is a destination for field trips for local urban grade schools and high schools, as well as colleges. It is invaluable for providing knowledge of migration, conservation, endangered species, and other environmental issues to students in underserved communities students from Jersey City and beyond who have long been excluded from both access to nature as well as to pursuing ecology studies.
- The protection of Caven Point is particularly critical following the passage in June of A4264/S2807, the “Liberty State Park Conservation, Recreation, and Community Inclusion Act,” which will lead to increased development of the park. There is currently nothing that prevents the development of this critical natural area – or that prevents it from becoming the last three holes that billionaire Paul Fireman has been coveting for his Liberty National Golf Club, which borders Liberty State Park.