What is the Arizona Native Plant Law?
No where in the United States are there more rare and unusual plants than in Arizona. Many of the native species survive to be hundreds of years old and many people desire to use these “wonders of nature” in commercial as well as residential landscapes. The Department of Agriculture
has been tasked by law and associated regulation to protect certain native plants from unauthorized destruction, taking, and transport from the growing site without a permit. Certain native plants have been classified as “protected” and require public notice of intent to clear land. More details on Arizona Native Plant Law
Under what authority does the State Land Department oversee the disposition of native plants in Arizona?
Lands granted to it by the federal government through the Arizona Enabling Act of 1910 are held in Trust for various beneficiaries. The Arizona State Land Department has a fiduciary responsibility by law to the beneficiaries and the disposition of Trust lands or "the products of the land” are governed by specific sections of Enabling Act. The Department authorizes the Natural Resources Conservation Section Manager to maintain a Department Plant Value List and provides for compensation to the Trust
for the removal of native plants or other natural products as a result various development activities associated with Department permits or leases.
When do I need a Native Plant Survey?
All authorized use of State Trust Land resulting in land clearing, shaping, grading or any surface disturbance activity prior to construction requires a native plant survey following an approved protocol. Clearing of rights-of-way for roads and utilities, mine operations, and small communication tower sites are listed as specific examples whereby the beneficiaries of the Trust are to be compensated. Department Native Plant Surveys are not to be confused with biological assessments often required by state and federal agencies. Department Native Plant Surveys are specific to the number of cacti, succulents, trees, shrubs, and sub-shrubs removed from State Trust Lands as part of land disturbing activities. The Department outlines a standard survey protocol
to be used in collecting native plant data and establishes a price list for calculating compensation to the Trust for vegetation removal.