Only native PA plants will be along the sides of Pennsylvania roads and highways now

08 July 2024- Rep. Brett Miller’s (R-Lancaster) legislation to help protect Pennsylvania’s eco-system has been signed into law by Governor Josh Shapiro.  

Specifically, the new law will direct PennDOT to plant vegetation which has been identified by the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources as being native to Pennsylvania. It effectively bans any species designated as invasive by the National Invasive Species Information Center (NISIC) from being planted along Pennsylvania’s highways.

NISIC warns on its website that invasive species can lead to the “extinction of native plants and animals, destroy biodiversity, and permanently alter habitats.” Additionally, dangers from invasive species include harm to property values, farming productivity, and public utility operations.

Miller calls the bill “small but mighty.” In his recent remarks during House session, Miller said, “Since PennDOT does repair work all throughout the Commonwealth, the effects of this bill will reach to every corner of Pennsylvania.” The lawmaker noted that he’s been working on this bill for nearly six years.

PennDOT has already been working to shift away from the planting of non-native species. This law codifies this policy and ensures this same goal remains for the future. Pennsylvania has approximately 2,100 native plants — including ferns, sedges, rushes, wildflowers and vines — according to PA’s Department of Conservation & Natural Resources.

Miller expressed his gratitude to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for their help with their statewide advocacy for this bill and for the Lancaster Conservancy for their support of this environmental initiative.

This new law takes effect immediately.