The National Park Service (NPS) has released for public review and comment an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Exotic Plant Management Plan for Rocky Mountain National Park. Invasive exotic plants are capable of spreading rapidly, outcompeting native plants, and drastically altering ecosystem conditions and processes. The number of invasive exotic plant species in the park is growing, as are their distribution and acreage. This is occurring despite efforts 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 (2003 plan). While the 2003 plan provides a mechanism for addressing some invasive exotic plant infestations, 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 is proposing to adopt a framework to manage exotic plant species. The EA evaluates two alternatives: a no action alternative and a preferred alternative. Under Alternative A (the no action alternative), the park would continue to manage exotic plants under the 2003 plan. Under Alternative B (the preferred alternative), the park would develop a decision-making framework that 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. Park staff would have the flexibility to use a full range of integrated pest management tools, including mechanical control, responsible chemical control, cultural practices, biological control, early detection, and monitoring the effectiveness of management strategies that are consistent with NPS policy and Director’s Order #77-7: Integrated Pest Management.
Park staff encourage public participation throughout the planning process. A public meeting will take place on Thursday, November 15 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Estes Valley Library in the Hondius Room, 335 E Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517. There will be a short presentation at 6:15 p.m., and park staff will be available to answer questions. The public is invited at any point during the scheduled time to review materials and provide written comments.
The EA will be on public review, with comments accepted through December 6. The document is available electronically for review and comment online by visiting http://parkplanning.nps.gov/romo, the website for the NPS’s Planning Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) system. Look for “Exotic Plant Management Plan.”
Comments also may be mailed to the address below:
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 in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee we will be able to do so.
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