Colorado Native Landscaping Coalition Update

| Advocacy

By Tom Swihart, Danna Liebert, and Eryn Joy Murphy

The December 2020 issue of the Newsletter informed members that Front Range was a founding member of the Colorado Native Landscaping Coalition (CNLC) – a collaboration between Wild Ones Front Range Chapter, the Audubon Rockies Habitat Hero Program, the Colorado Native Plant Society, the Colorado Wildlife Federation, the People and Pollinators Action Network, and Denver Audubon.  

All of us can make a difference in our individual yards (if we have them) but are often uncertain how to prompt wide-scale landscaping transformation beyond our own homes. The Coalition spent over a year identifying and reaching consensus on the most important policy actions to promote native landscaping, build community, and enhance Colorado biodiversity. We focused on these broader policy actions in a document now available at the CNLC website: “Recommended Native Landscaping Policies for Local Governments and Water Providers.” No other state has a comparable set of recommended landscape transformation policies.

Six issue areas of the 31 policies that the CNLC recommended:

  1. Focus on Communities
  2. Reform Development Codes
  3. Enhance Public Spaces
  4. Commit to Environmental Justice
  5. Reform the Term “Xeriscaping”
  6. Use Financial Incentives Wisely

Other CNLC projects underway include:

  • Working to make native plants more available to the trade and to homeowners.
  • Evaluating legislative proposals. For example, we recently endorsed the “turf replacement” bill being considered by the Colorado Legislature.
  • Creating a database of yard makeover programs and municipal native landscaping sites statewide (coming to our website soon).

Although our individual native landscaping actions are of course important, we can accomplish much more on a neighborhood, local, and state level. The CNLC aims to influence critical landscaping choices for new community developments, streetscapes, commercial buildings, and open spaces. Successful projects in all these areas can inspire even more.

What can you do, as an individual Wild Ones Front Range member? Continue your own native landscaping efforts, which are very valuable. At the same time, lift your eyes above our beautiful native flowers. Start speaking to your own local governments and water providers about landscaping transformation! Refer to the CNLC’s “Recommended Policies” and decide what actions in your community are most worthwhile for you.

Examples of how to “build our native plant community” together!

  • Advocate for native landscaping with your local city council, parks department, and water provider.
  • Educate your community and clients about the benefits of native plants.
  • Create a community native habitat project or advocacy group.
  • Ask nurseries to increase and label their native plant selection.

Consider what actions, in your own community, seem best for you to undertake. If you would like to learn more, or devote energies to the purposes of the Colorado Native Landscaping Coalition, please contact: [email protected]

Curious to learn more about transforming your garden into a habitat with Colorado native wildflowers, grasses, shrubs, and trees? Check out our native gardening toolkit, register for an upcoming event, subscribe to our newsletter, and/or become a member – if you’re not one already!