Implementation of a Prescribed Burn at Bird Island Basin Within Padre Island NS
Proposal by Padre Island National Seashore to Conduct a Prescribed Burn at
Bird Island Basin Within Padre Island National Seashore,
Kleberg, Kenedy, and Willacy Counties
Summary: The National Park Service (NPS) proposes to conduct a prescribed burn at Bird Island Basin (BIB) within Padre Island National Seashore (PAIS) that would support the accomplishment of resource management and protection objectives.
Fuel loadings and vegetation densities have increased beyond their range of natural variability. Increased management intervention is required to reduce fuels that, under severe burning conditions, could threaten life and property, and to help restore the role of fire as a natural disturbance at PAIS.
The current 2004 Fire Management Plan permits limited manual hazardous fuels treatments to establish defensible space around values to be protected, but only small-scale prescribed burns are currently permitted.
A prescribed burn at BIB would reduce hazardous fuel loading, provide additional protection to park infrastructure and visitors from wildland fire, improve fire fighter safety by reducing risk of intense wildland fire behavior during suppression actions, and help restore fire's role in the ecosystem by removing thatch accumulation, increasing vegetative vitality, abundance, and diversity, and improving habitat use by various species of park fauna.
Two alternatives, a no-action and a proposed action/preferred alternative, were identified based on program goals and objectives, internal and external scoping, guidance from existing park plans, policy guidance from the NPS, the 2001 Federal Fire Policy, the National Fire Plan, and experience from the existing fire management program.
Alternative A (No Action): Utilize mechanical processes to reduce hazardous fuel levels around park infrastructure at BIB as approved by the current Fire Management Plan.
Alternative B (Proposed Action/NPS Preferred Alternative): The proposed action would conduct a prescribed burn at BIB for the purposes of reducing hazardous fuels and improving habitat conditions by increasing vegetative abundance, diversity, and composition.
Public Comment: If you wish to comment on the environmental assessment, you may mail comments to the name and address below or post comments online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/. This environmental assessment will be on public review for 30 days beginning July 26, 2006. Our practice is to make comments, including names, home addresses, home phone numbers, and email addresses of respondents, available for public review. Individual respondents may request that we withhold their names and/or home addresses, etc., but if you wish us to consider withholding this information you must state this prominently at the beginning of your comments. In addition, you must present a rationale for withholding this information. This rationale must demonstrate that disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy. Unsupported assertions will not meet this burden. In the absence of exceptional, documentable circumstances, this information will be released. We will always make submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives of or officials of organizations or businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety.
Padre Island National Seashore
P.O. Box 181300
Corpus Christi, TX 78480-1300