By ELAINE ALFARO
On May 5, San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted to approve the creation of a native plant landscaping policy with the hopes of fostering biodiversity and sustainability in San Diego’s natural environments.
The initiative was presented by Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer and Supervisor Chair Nathan Fletcher.
According to the statement of proceedings, due to unanimous approval, the Chief Administrative Officer must, “collaborate with the San Diego Regional Biodiversity Working Group to develop options for a comprehensive Native Plant Landscaping both for public and private landscaping with guidelines, requirements, incentives, and equity-based resources and training, to circulate for stakeholder and public input.” As of right now, there will be no fiscal impact but the topic will be revisited in 8 months according to the statement of proceedings.
With over 1,700 native plant species belonging to San Diego, Lawson-Remer called for fellow constituents and the public to recognize the importance of approving this policy. Currently, San Diego County does not have guidelines in place for bioregionally appropriate native plants in landscaping development.
“If we don’t really think about how we revitalize and invest in our native plants and our native landscaping, we’re certainly in danger of losing quite a bit of that biodiversity, which has massive implications not only on the kind of landscaping that we see in our day to day lives but also on our biodiversity in terms of our species as well as on the sustainability of our soil.”
Lawson-Remer outlined the main areas of focus in the policy.
“A big purpose of this in my mind is to send strong signals to growers and retail service and landscaping professionals that there is a robust regional market for locally produced native plant stock. Another big important part of this initiative is giving traditionally underserved communities the ability to actively participate and have access to support, resources and subsidies to help transform our region in terms of our native plant landscaping.”
Frank Landith, conservation chair of the San Diego Chapter for the California Native Plant Society called in via phone to express the chapter’s support for the policy. Landith made the distinction that the policy will not come at the expense of landscapers and nursery owners.
“One quarter to third [of the 1,700 native plants in San Diego county] have been cultivated. We want to make it easier for nurseries, landscapers and the public to incorporate these plants into gardens and landscapes; not to force them to do so.”
La Mesa City Council member Jack Shu also called via phone in support of the policy, especially after the City of La Mesa passed a resolution earlier this year declaring La Mesa in a state of climate emergency.
“The city [of La Mesa] needs help implementing our climate action plan and keeping our city from getting further polluted,” he said. “We are looking forward to watching and seeing what the county does so that the city of La Mesa may learn some of these steps that you are taking.”