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NPS Seeks Public Input for Invasive Plant Management Plan
September 5, 2013 - By Flavia Potenza
The National Park Service (NPS) held the second of two public scoping meetings on Aug. 28, regarding development of a joint Invasive Plant Management Plan (IPMP) and Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) and Redwood National Park. The plan is scheduled for completion in the winter of 2015/2016.
Several Topangans attended the meeting to express their concern about the spraying of herbicides, fearful that while they may control invasive plants short term, they may have adverse long-term effects on local plants and animals.
The purpose of the meeting was for NPS to present three preliminary alternatives on different ways to manage invasive plants and ask for public input for additional alternatives.
Alternative 1: No Actionstay with the status quo and continue current programs, where mechanical, cultural and chemical treatments would continue.
Alternative 2: Additional Management Toolsthe use of grazing livestock or other biological control methods; use of additional herbicides for use on terrestrial invasive species; use of herbicides for aquatic invasive species; aircraft for targeted spraying of inaccessible areas in SMMNRA only; and prescribed fire (for Redwood National Park only).
Alternative 3: Additional Invasive Plant Management Tools with Adaptive Managementbuilds on Alternative 2 by incorporating adaptive management that allows for flexibility in the face of uncertainties and ecosystem variability. This program would be constantly improved by using monitoring tools and new information to respond proactively as appropriate and would include a protocol for selecting and evaluating new EPA-approved and field-tested herbicides to add to the toolbox.
A scoping meeting is not for open discussion but to inform the public of the plan, present preliminary ideas and open up the process for written comments from the public. From here, NPS, with the assistance of the firm, Environmental Management and Planning Solutions, Inc. (EMPSI.com), will refine the alternatives incorporating public comments they feel are applicable (Winter 2013/14); move on to developing the EA (Spring-Fall 2014); publish the EA (Winter 2014/2015); hold public meetings (Spring 2015); followed by comment, analysis and response (Summer 2015).
A Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) will be developed in Fall 2015, with the FONSI to be released in Winter 2015/2016.
At this stage public comments on what the plan should address and analyze will be accepted until October 1.
Submit comments online to: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/rs-inv-plants; or mail comments to: SMMNRA, Attn.: Invasive Plant Management Plan, 401 West Hillcrest Dr., Thousand Oaks, CA 91360. Be aware that the entire comment, including any personal identifying information, may be publicly available at any time.
For those who wish to receive future updates on this project, e-mail email@example.com and include your e-mail address. Public comments will not be accepted at this address and the mailing list will be used solely to communicate information related to this IPMP/EA project.