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GLIN==> Native Plants Agreement

June 27, 2000                                     Hugh Vickery 202-208-5634


     Imperiled North American plants and their habitats received a boost
today when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Center for Plant
Conservation announced an agreement to work together to protect native
plants, including those listed as threatened or endangered under the
Endangered Species Act.

     The memorandum of understanding, announced during the 2000 World
Botanic Gardens Congress in Asheville, North Carolina, establishes a broad
framework for joint conservation efforts and public education about the
biological, medical, economic, and aesthetic contributions native plant
species and their habitats make to the Nation's quality of life.

     Originally founded in 1984, the Center for Plant Conservation is
supported by a consortium of 29 botanical gardens and arboreta throughout
the United States. With approximately one out of every 10 plant species in
the United States facing potential extinction, the CPC is the only national
organization dedicated exclusively to preventing extinction of the rare
plants of the United States.

     "I am very excited about the potential for expanding the partnership
that exists between the members of the CPC and the Service," U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service Director Jamie Rappaport Clark said. "Together with the
Center's member institutions and dedicated professionals,  we hope to
prevent the loss of native plant habitats from Florida to Hawaii."

     "The CPC has long worked with the Service toward imperiled plant
species recovery," Center for Plant Conservation Chairman Eliot Paine said.
"This agreement will strengthen the ties and shared conservation vision of
the two organizations and enhance our science-based programs.  Equally
important, the potential for development of public education and outreach
programs is enormous when approached cooperatively."

Under the agreement, the Service and the CPC agree:

o     To seek opportunities to work together to support the conservation
needs of all endangered native North
     American plant species and their habitats where the Service has the
authority to do so and when
     consistent with the mission and purpose of the CPC;

o     To help their respective CPC member institutions and Service regional
and field offices identify
     potential for conservation partnerships;

o      To encourage participation by the CPC in the development of Service
recovery plans for Federally
     listed plant species;

o      To support appropriate research and education, and enhance the
formal recovery program process for
     the most critically imperiled plant species listed under the
Endangered Species Act; and

o      To periodically assess project collaborations between the CPC, the
Service, and other partners.

             The United States currently is home to 735 threatened or
endangered plant species.  Native plants are important for their economic,
and aesthetic values.  Plants play an important role in development of
crops that resist disease, insects, and drought.  At least 25 percent of
prescription drugs contain ingredients derived from plant compounds,
including medicines used to treat cancer, heart disease, juvenile leukemia,
and malaria, and to assist organ transplant recipients.  Plants are also
used to develop natural pesticides.

            "Through conservation partnerships like this, we've made great
strides in conserving threatened and endangered species," Clark said.
"Only by working together to increase our effectiveness can we stem the
alarming decline and extinction of plant species around the world."

             Botanical gardens and arboreta play an important role in
educating the public about native plant conservation, Paine said.

            "The 40 million people who visit CPC member botanical gardens
and arboreta annually represent a huge audience to share our message about
the native jewels that occur in our own backyards," he said. "We are
thrilled to affirm and expand our association with the Service and look
forward to the experiences and understanding this agreement can bring to
our members and their visitors."

              The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal
agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and
wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American
people. The Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge
System comprised of more than 500 national wildlife refuges, thousands of
small wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 66
national fish hatcheries and 78 ecological services field stations. The
agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species
Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant
fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and
helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees
the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in
excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish wildlife

                                  - FWS -

Note: For a complete copy of the MOU between CPC and the Service, please
contact Dave Harrelson at 703-358-2171.

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