Restoration of Native Species in High Elevation Aquatic Ecosystems
I am pleased to announce the completion of the Restoration of Native Species in High Elevation Aquatic Ecosystems Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (Restoration Plan/EIS) for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (SEKI). The final step was taken on August 23, 2016 with the signing of the Record of Decision (ROD) by the National Park Service's (NPS) Pacific West Regional Director Laura Joss. Alternative B from the Restoration Plan/FEIS is the Selected Action.
The Selected Action allows us to use a variety of methods to restore and conserve the native species diversity and ecological function of selected high elevation aquatic ecosystems that have been adversely impacted by human activities (i.e., the introduction of nonnative fish) and to increase the resistance and resilience of native species and ecosystems to disease and unprecedented climate change. Removing nonnative fish is a key component of the Selected Action. While physical treatment methods such as gill-netting and electrofishing are our preferred methods to remove nonnative fish, the Selected Action allows for the use of piscicides in specific areas where physical methods cannot accomplish project objectives. In addition, we will be implementing restoration and recovery actions in order to recover the two endangered species of mountain yellow-legged frogs that inhabit the high elevation ecosystems in SEKI.
In reaching a decision on the Selected Action, we carefully considered the multiple laws and policies that apply to the administration of NPS lands, the protection of wilderness character, endangered species preservation and management, the large body of scientific information regarding the impacts of nonnative trout and the use of piscicides, and the public comments we received during the planning process.
The Draft Restoration Plan/EIS was available for public review period from September 26, 2013 to December 17, 2013. The NPS received 123 public comment letters from individuals, interest groups, businesses, and government agencies. In response to public comments, agency feedback, and new technical information, the NPS updated the final plan to clarify, revise, or add information, and modified alternative B slightly by reducing the number of areas selected for piscicide treatment. The key changes are included in Chapter 1 of the Restoration Plan/FEIS.
The management strategies contained within the Selected Action are adaptive and dynamic, allowing us to incorporate new scientific information over time to best meet the objectives of the restoration program. During implementation, the effectiveness of this plan will be reviewed periodically to evaluate new species information, scientific findings, habitat information, and restoration and monitoring results. Following each review, the plan will be revised as necessary to address emerging issues and incorporate new information into the management strategies. Additional public involvement or/and tiered environmental compliance will occur as appropriate.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
ATTN: Restoration Plan/FEIS
47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, CA 93271