Management Plan for Developed Water Sources & EA, Mojave National Preserve
The Management Plan for Developed Water Sources and EA evaluates a range of alternatives for water resources management in Mojave National Preserve (Preserve). Three action alternatives are analyzed and compared to current management practices, referred to in the Plan and EA as No Action. The Preferred Alternative would potentially increase bighorn sheep habitat during the hot summer months with a total of seven bighorn sheep guzzlers. During a transition period lasting several years there could be as many as ten bighorn sheep guzzlers supporting herds throughout the Preserve. There are currently six bighorn sheep guzzlers in the Preserve. Most of the small game guzzlers in the Preserve have been recently rebuilt and are in good condition. The Preferred Alternative would not take any immediate action other than to initiate a series of studies designed to improve understanding of the ecological role of small game guzzlers, the results of which would be used to guide future maintenance decisions. Developed springs have both an historical and ecological aspect. The Preferred Alternative would initiate a series of studies of developed springs to identify those most important for wildlife. Maintenance of developed springs would be prioritized according to those identified as most important for wildlife.
The Preferred Alternative is compared to Alternative 2 that minimizes use of guzzlers and Alternative 4 that emphasizes use of guzzlers. Alternative 2 would result in loss of bighorn sheep habitat and thus is not the agency's Preferred Alternative. Repair, maintenance, and improvement of small game guzzlers would see more emphasis under Alternative 4, which would also keep one more bighorn sheep guzzler in wilderness than Alternative 3 with no corresponding benefit to bighorn sheep dry-season habitat. None of the alternatives proposes construction of new guzzlers in wilderness or maintenance of small game guzzlers in wilderness.
Topics for consideration could include the role of guzzlers for wildlife sustainability, current and future projected drought conditions, habitat connectivity, and wilderness character. The National Park Service solicits substantive comments that provide information to guide a National Environmental Policy Act decision and implementation of this Management Plan for Developed Water Sources in Mojave National Preserve.
03/20/2018 - 07/19/2018