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State Protected Plants

Showy ladyslipper
Showy ladyslipper, a vulnerable
native New York flower

The Protected Native Plants Program was created in 1989 as a result of the adoption of the protected native plants regulation (6 NYCRR 193.3) (link leaves DEC website), which includes lists of specific protected species.

A new regulation was adopted in May of 2012. Changes to the regulation were made to incorporate new information compiled by the New York Natural Heritage Program. There have also been many changes in the scientific names of many of the plants.

This regulation establishes four lists of protected plants:

  • endangered
  • threatened
  • rare
  • exploitably vulnerable

It is a violation of the Environmental Conservation Law §9-1503 to collect or destroy listed plants without the permission of the landowner. The regulation gives landowners additional rights to prosecute people who collect plants without permission.

The main emphasis of the program is education. The lists were developed through the cooperative efforts of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State Science Service, New York State Natural Heritage Program, The Nature Conservancy, State garden clubs, and universities and colleges. The lists are used extensively in environmental planning. The State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) directs applicants for permits to consult the lists for the possible existence of endangered and threatened species, and may try to look for alternative strategies to lessen the impact of activities on these species. Other environmental laws relate to the lists, including the State Wetland Classification System and § 480-a of the Real Property Law, the Forest Tax Law program. The lists are referenced to in the unit management planning process on State lands. Any activity on land managed by DEC must also address the possible impact on these listed species.

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