BayScapes-type principles are about to become the law of the landscape for federal facilities and for federally funded projects.

An executive order issued by President Bill Clinton in April outlines "environmentally and economically beneficial" practices that will help conserve water, prevent pollution, and minimize adverse impacts when landscaping activities take place.

"These landscaping practices should benefit the environment, as well as generate long-term cost savings for the federal government," the executive order said. "For example, the use of native plants not only protects our natural heritage and provides wild life habitat, but also can reduce fertilizer, pesticide, and irrigation demands and their associated costs because native plants are suited to the local environment and climate."

Because the federal government owns large amounts of land, using environmentally sound landscaping practices "presents a unique opportunity to provide leadership in this area and to develop practical and cost-effective methods to preserve and protect tha t which has been entrusted to us."

The executive order requires, to the extent practical, that federal facilities and federally funded projects:

  • use regionally native plants for landscaping;
  • design, use, or promote construction practices that minimize adverse effects on the natural habitat;
  • seek to prevent pollution by reducing fertilizer and pesticide use, using integrated pest management techniques, recycling green waste, and minimizing runoff;
  • implement water-efficient practices, such as the use of mulches, efficient irrigation systems, audits to determine exact landscaping water-use needs, recycled or reclaimed water, and the selecting and siting of plants in a manner that conserves water and controls soil erosion; and
  • create outdoor demonstrations incorporating native plants, as well as pollution prevention and water conservation techniques, to promote awareness of the environmental and economic benefits of implementing the directive.

The executive order also establishes an annual award to recognize outstanding landscaping efforts of agencies and individual employees.

The order stemmed from recommendations made by Vice President Al Gore in the report of his National Performance Review.