DURHAM, NC – A native plants policy that just passed the North Carolina General Assembly will require that native trees, shrubs, and other vegetation are used for landscaping at state parks, historic sites, and roadways. The policy comes after years of advocacy by Audubon members, and gives the force of law to a new policy announced this summer by the N.C. Department of Cultural and Natural Resources.
“This policy is a big win for birds and everyone who cares about North Carolina’s wildlife,” said Brian Turner, policy director at Audubon North Carolina. “Native plants provide habitat for birds and other pollinators, are more resilient, and require less fertilizer and other maintenance. It just makes sense. We thank Senator Bill Rabon for his continued leadership on this issue.”
North Carolina is home to more than 3,900 native plant species, from the longleaf pine, our official state tree, to American beautyberry, making our state one of the most diverse for flora in the South.
Audubon members spoke up for this policy at Advocacy Day and have rallied support from landscapers, nurseries, and garden stores across the state. The policy builds on other recent native plants legislation championed by Senator Rabon and supported by Audubon.
The native plants policy passed as part of the state budget after a long, heated legislative session. Also included in the budget were increases to the state’s conservation trust funds.
The budget includes $30 million in 2024 and $28 million in 2025 for the Land and Water Fund, and the same amounts for the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund. This represents a $4-6 million increase in annual funding.
“This is a step in the right direction for one of the most important conservation tools we have in North Carolina,” Turner said. “By continuing to grow the conservation trust funds, we can protect the natural areas and habitats that make our state so special.”
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About Audubon North Carolina
Audubon North Carolina, a state program of the National Audubon Society, has offices in Durham, Boone, Corolla, and Wilmington. Learn more at www.nc.audubon.org and on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.