Native plants are making a comeback in Wisconsin, thanks to the growing number of homeowners who are switching to "natural landscaping". Many parks are also preserving or restoring areas with native plant communities, and the state highway department and some county departments are reducing mowing and spraying of road sides to encourage the return of native wildflowers, grasses and some shrubby species. Too often such efforts are stymied, however, by a municipal cutting ordinance or noxious weed list, and citizens are told to conform with the conventional clipped lawn aesthetics (an ecological wasteland) or the city will do it for them. In New Berlin a wildlife ecologist is going to court to challenge the constitutionality of such ordinances. To try to remedy the situation short of going to court in every community, the Wisconsin Natural Beauty Council has introduced a bill which would exempt public or private landowners from cutting ordinances if their land is being managed as a "restoration project". The landowner would file a "management plan" with the governing body of his city, village or town. The plan would include a legal description of the managed lands, a general description of the types of plants or plant succession involved, and the management techniques being employed. The governing body could reject the plan if it were shown to be incomplete, if the owner was not adhering to the terms of the plan, or if the project were shown to create a condition hazardous to public health or safety.
Whitford, P.1975. Natural Landscaping Bill (AB 348). 8(1): 5.