Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Native Plants for Healthy Ecosystems = Healthy Waters

Allium schoenoprasum (Wild Chives)
Too often, NJ State managed roadways have utilized foreign, and even invasive species to replant roadside landscaping and erosion control projects. Not only do these plants crowd out native vegetation which provides critical food and habitat for everything from butterflies to birds, these foreign and invasive species are ill-suited to the soil and weather conditions in the area, requiring more water and maintenance than native plants. Senate Bill S227 is currently in the Senate Environment and Energy Committee. The Bill would require New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT), NJ Transit Authority (NJTA), and South Jersey Transit Authority (SJTA) to use only native vegetation for landscaping, reforestation, and habitat restoration activities. NJDOT, NJTA, and SJTA manage large parcels of land in NJ, including the Garden State Parkway and NJ Turnpike. Native plants improve water quality because they have deeper roots which improve soil health and its ability to absorb rainwater, as well as reduce polluted runoff into our waterways. Native Plants also require less watering and little to no pesticides or fertilizers.

A great source for native plants is Jersey Friendly Yards - try searching their plant database for local plants in your area!

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