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Exotic plants often compete with native plants species within Indiana's natural areas. The state statutes to encourage the preservation of native plant species have distinct histories, and are located in different areas of the Indiana Code, from those to control unwanted exotic plants. Yet in many ways, the two legislative designs are inter-connected.
Exotic plant control is pursued at different governmental levels. Much of the responsibility for controlling detrimental plants rests at the local level with the township trustee or with weed control boards that can be established by county ordinance. At the state level, the Department of Natural Resources shares the responsibility for exotic weeds that may harm nursery stock, agricultural crops, other vegetation, or bees. Another important source for information is the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service.
Responsibilities for the regulation of native and exotic plants are assigned by the Indiana General Assembly in statutes and implemented largely through rules. The Natural Resources Commission adopts permanent rules, and the DNR Director adopts temporary (or emergency) rules. Rules have the force and effect of law.
Several regulatory programs consider the protection of native plant species as part of their overall regulatory structures. Prominent among these are the regulatory programs discussed in the Lakes, Floodplains, and Water Management Link.
The Division of Entomology and Plant Pathology is the entity within the DNR that has primary responsibility for seeking the control of unwanted plant species: