Rocky Mountain National Park is considering alternatives for the management of invasive exotic plants in the park. Invasive exotic plants are capable of spreading rapidly, outcompeting native plants, and drastically altering ecosystem conditions and processes, even in pristine wilderness areas. The number of invasive exotic plant species in the park is growing, as are their distribution and acreage. This is occurring despite efforts of the park to control these occurrences.
The park is currently managing exotic invasive plant infestations in accordance with the 2003 Invasive Exotic Plant Management Plan and Environmental Assessment. While the 2003 plan provides a mechanism for addressing some exotic invasive plant infestations within the park, it does not allow managers the flexibility to deal with new species infestations, prevents the eradication of some treated species, and does not contain a structured framework to incorporate new science and information into the decision-making and management process.
The park proposes a framework to manage exotic plant species in the park to protect and restore native species, ecosystems, cultural resources, and the visitor experience.
The park is considering several options for managing invasive exotic plants:
Proposed Action – Adaptive Integrated Pest Management
The proposed action is the initial National Park Service proposal to address the purpose and need for taking action.
The park would develop a decision-making framework, which would incorporate the best available science, expert knowledge, site assessments, and monitoring, to determine the extent of exotic species infestations, determine if management is necessary, prioritize management, and determine the most effective management methods.
The no action alternative is to continue with current management of exotic plant species in the park.
Invasive exotic plants would continue to be managed using the provisions of the 2003 plan. No additional species would be managed, even if they are, or become, a threat to park resources.
Additional Options Considered
Modifying the 2003 plan was considered, but the park is not likely to move forward with this option because it would not allow the park to address exotic plant infestations as effectively as the proposed action.
An environmental assessment will be prepared to provide a decision-making framework that analyzes a reasonable range of alternatives to meet project objectives, evaluates issues and impacts on park resources and values, and identifies mitigation measures to lessen the degree or extent of these impacts.
Park staff encourage public participation throughout the planning process. There will be two opportunities to comment formally on the project – one during initial project scoping and again following release of the environmental assessment. The park will host three public meetings regarding the proposed project, as follows:
Monday, November 7
Grand Lake Fire Protection District Building
201 W. Portal Road
Grand Lake, CO
Monday, November 14
Estes Park Town Hall Board Room
170 MacGregor Avenue
Estes Park, CO
Thursday, November 17
Boulder Public Library (Boulder Room)
1001 Arapahoe Avenue
There will be a short presentation at 5:45 p.m., and park staff will be available to answer questions until 7:00 p.m. The public is invited to visit the locations listed above at any point during the scheduled time to review materials and provide written comments.
Comments received during the scoping period will be used to help define the issues and concerns to be addressed in the environmental assessment, while also assisting with analyzing the different alternatives.
Comments must be received in writing by close of business on December 1, 2016. Comments can be submitted at the public open house described above or online by visiting: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/romo; look for “Exotic Plant Management Plan EA.”
Comments may also be sent to the following mailing address:
Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park, CO 80517
Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. Although you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee we will be able to do so.
If you have questions about the project or would like more information about Rocky Mountain National Park, please visit www.nps.gov/romo or call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.