Center for Plant Conservation Memorandum of Understanding

Memorandum of Understanding Between the Center for Plant Conservation and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service

I. Authority

This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and the Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) is hereby entered into under the authority of the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (16 U.S.C. 661), the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 (16 U.S.C. 742 f(a)(4)), the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (P.L. 105-57) and the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.)(ESA). Together, the CPC and the Service are referred to as Cooperators.

II. Purpose

The purpose of this MOU is to establish a broad framework for collaboration between the Cooperators for the conservation of native North American plant and animal species and their habitats. Animals are identified as a component of this MOU because of their interactions with plants; for example as pollinators and seed dispersers. Through appropriate tools of outreach and education, the Cooperators will work together to convey to the public the biological, economic, aesthetic, and other values of native plant species, their habitats and their relationship to the quality of life of the American people. This MOU identifies and supports joint activities based on the shared commitment of the Cooperators to the conservation of all native wildlife, plants and their habitats.

This MOU is also intended to promote increased cooperation in the implementation of the conservation of native species that are federally listed as endangered or threatened (CFR 17.11 and 50 CFR 17.12), proposed for Federal listing, candidates for Federal listing, or State species of special concern or interest. For federally protected species, this MOU is intended to advance collaboration between the Cooperators through the implementation of Service recovery plans and other mutually agreed upon conservation strategies. Activities that would be appropriate for cooperative endangered and threatened species recovery partnerships include, but are not limited to, status surveys, determination of species' range and habitat requirements, population monitoring and assessment, public education and outreach, propagation technology development, controlled propagation and population augmentation or reintroduction, habitat restoration, seed and tissue storage, and research needs as identified in Service recovery plans and other mutually accepted resource management and conservation strategies.

For species not protected under the ESA, yet known to be in need of special conservation measures over all or part of their range, this MOU encourages efforts to explore, identify and undertake conservation solutions that are effective alternatives to the regulatory process of listing and recovery implementation.

Though this MOU emphasizes imperiled native plant species conservation, it is not intended to exclude collaborations to enhance other native species and habitat conservation. Such efforts may include increasing public awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the diversity, importance and ecological relationships which exist between native plant species, wildlife, and their shared habitats.

III. Statement of Mutual Interest and Mutual Benefits

The CPC is managed as a non-profit corporate entity by a national Board of Trustees, and scientific aspects of program development and implementation are overseen by a Science Advisory Committee composed of national and international botanical experts.

While the CPC specializes in the controlled propagation, seed storage, and other ex-situ aspects of rare native plant conservation, it fully supports habitat conservation as the preferred form of plant conservation.

The CPC works to promote the conservation of native plants through public education, improved methods of in-situ and ex-situ conservation, development of small population management technologies, and research leading to a better understanding of native plant conservation needs. The CPC provides valuable information and services to government and nongovernment organizations, scientists, land managers, and the public. Through these efforts, the CPC network of gardens and arboreta is recognized by the Service as one of the leading plant conservation organization in the nation.

The Service recognizes the scientific expertise and special capabilities of the CPC to contribute to the conservation of native North American plants including those species listed under the ESA. The Service recognizes that the support provided by the CPC for the conservation of native plant species may, under certain circumstances, make Federal listing under the ESA unnecessary.

The CPC recognizes the mission of the Service's National Wildlife Refuge System. This mission includes a significant role in conserving the native flora and biological diversity of the United States, and providing vital ecological linkages through habitat restoration.

The CPC recognizes the regulatory and statutory responsibilities of the Service for the conservation of species listed under the ESA. These responsibilities include assisting, coordinating, and forming partnerships with Federal, State, Tribal and private entities in the national effort to prevent the extinction of native plants and associated animal species.

The Cooperators recognize the importance and necessity of partnerships in the conservation of native species and their habitats. The Cooperators agree to support and to coordinate, as practical and appropriate, activities intended to conserve and restore imperiled native North American plants and wildlife and educate the public about these species and the habitats on which they depend.

The Cooperators understand that collaboration for the conservation of federally listed or other imperiled species under this MOU is voluntary, and is intended to be limited to efforts for species occurring within the jurisdiction of the United States. However, conservation efforts may include species which are part of an international cooperative agreement in which the Service is an active partner.

IV. Statement of Mutual Agreement:

The Cooperators agree:

1. To seek opportunities to work together to support the conservation needs of native North American plant species and their habitats where the Service has authority to do so and when consistent with the mission and purpose of the CPC. Such efforts may include conservation education and outreach efforts and implementation of specific recovery tasks directed toward native species identified as federally endangered or threatened under the ESA, proposed and candidate species, and State species of special concern or interest. Such collaborative conservation activities are encouraged and supported by the authorities, jurisdiction and policies of the Service and are consistent with the mission and purpose of the CPC.

2. To assist their respective CPC member institutions and Service Regional and Field Offices in identifying and assessing potential cooperative actions for conservation partnerships.

3. To encourage participation by the CPC in the development of Service recovery plans for federally listed species. To accomplish this goal, the Service will seek, as appropriate, the expertise of CPC institutions and members. The Service recognizes the considerable contributions the CPC can and does provide to the development, review, and implementation of Service recovery plans for plant species.

4. To support appropriate research, education, conservation actions, and the transfer of information and technology to enhance the formal recovery program and recovery planning process for federally listed species.

5. To periodically assess project collaborations between the Cooperators.

V. Implementing Tasks:

1. The Cooperators agree to each identify an individual to serve as a national liaison for the implementation of this MOU. The establishment of additional liaisons at Service Regional Offices, on refuges or at other appropriate organizational levels to support implementation of this MOU is encouraged.

2. The Cooperators will meet not less than twice yearly to review the progress of implementing this MOU and to develop short- and long-term objectives and strategies for further implementation.

3. The Cooperators will work together, to the extent practical, to develop and share educational and outreach capabilities, materials, and opportunities concerning native plant species and their habitats at CPC member institutions, Service facilities, and other appropriate locations.

4. The Cooperators will work together to coordinate pertinent public information activities. When press releases or other public statements pertaining to joint projects are being prepared, each Cooperator will be provided opportunities to review and comment when it is reasonable to do so.

5. Periodically the CPC and the Service will identify collaborative projects and identify federally listed species in CPC member institutions and the purposes for which they are being held.

In consideration of the above, the CPC and the Service agree as follows:

VI. The CPC:

1. Recognizes that this MOU does not obligate the Service to provide funding to the CPC. All projects developed or initiated through this MOU will be subject to Federal Acquisition Regulations and will require development of formal cooperative agreements or contracts as necessary.

3. Will not refer to this MOU in commercial advertising.

4. Will submit for prior review by the Service, materials proposed for release to the public media which refer to this MOU or any employee of the Service or the Department of the Interior.

VII. The Service:

1. Where practical shall make its administered public lands and facilities, particularly those of the National Wildlife Refuge System, available for the furtherance of this MOU by providing opportunities for outreach, education and research, implementation of conservation actions for native species and habitats, and other mutually agreed upon projects. Any use of Service lands extended to a CPC member institution for purposes consistent with this MOU will be subject to applicable Federal laws, regulations, land use restrictions or plans, compatibility determinations, and special use permits for the affected area, and approval by the authorized officer(s) of the Service for the lands or resources involved.

2. Provide assistance to the CPC, as practical, for the planning, implementation and monitoring of work undertaken pursuant to this MOU.

3. Will submit for prior review by the CPC, materials proposed for release to the public media which refer to this MOU or any employee of the CPC or its member institutions.

VIII. It is Mutually Agreed and Understood By the Cooperators that:

1. Collaborative projects may be developed by the Cooperators with additional interested parties as appropriate. All such projects involving Service resources are subject to Federal Acquisition Regulations and will require permits, development of formal cooperative agreements, or contracts as appropriate.

2. All improvements placed on Service land at the direction of either of the Cooperators shall become the property of the United States, and shall be subject to the same regulations and administration of the Service as all other Service improvements of a similar nature. The Service will notify the CPC of any proposed major changes in management of Service lands that might affect a collaborative project(s) prior to implementation. Any temporary CPC facilities established on Service lands will be removed at the end of the project unless otherwise agreed to by the Cooperators.

3. This MOU in no way restricts the Service or the CPC from participating with other public and private agencies, organizations, and individuals or from accepting contributions and gifts for the improvement, development, administration, operation, and maintenance of plant and wildlife habitats and the recovery of federally listed species.

4. Nothing in this MOU shall be construed as obligating the Service or the CPC to expend money or other resources. By signing this MOU, the Service does not incur any obligation for present or future payment of money in excess of appropriations authorized by law and administratively allocated for work undertaken pursuant to this MOU.

5. The Government's tort liability shall be governed by the provisions of the Federal Tort Claims Act (28 U.S.C. et seq.).

6. This MOU may be revised, as necessary, by the issuance of a written amendment, consented to, signed and dated by both parties.

7. Either party may terminate this MOU by providing 30 days written notice.

8. Nothing in this MOU shall be construed as giving the Service or the CPC any type of exclusive arrangements to the exclusion or detriment of other groups or organizations.

9. No part of this MOU or supplements hereto shall entitle the Service or the CPC to any share of interest in activities other than those provided by applicable laws and regulations.

10. No part of this MOU, any supplements hereto, or any specific agreements entered into in accordance with this MOU, shall have the intent of or tend to promote public support or opposition to any pending legislative proposal.

11. During the performance of work undertaken pursuant to the MOU, any supplements hereto, or any specific agreement entered into pursuant to the authority of this MOU, the Cooperators shall not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, creed, gender, age, physical handicap or national origin.

IX. Effective Date:

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have executed this MOU as of the last written date below.

Jamie Rappaport Clark, Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: June 19, 2000

Elliot Paine, Chairman, Center for Plant Conservation: June 27, 2000