Public input is being sought regarding the proposed Invasive Species Management Plan for Joshua Tree National Park, located in southern California. The National Park Service is proposing to develop and implement a plan to address invasive species populations in the park. The National Park Service would like to control or eradicate current invasive species populations and prevent new populations of invasive species. The park expects the plan to guide management actions for the next 10-20 years.
Invasive non-native plants are defined as plant species that have been introduced to an ecosystem after European contact as a direct or indirect result of human activity. Joshua Tree National Park, like other public lands, is under threat of invasion by nonnative plants. Currently, the park actively manages ten invasive plant species including Sahara mustard, tamarisk, puncture vine, and London rocket. The documented flora of the park contains 57 species listed as non-native, approximately 8% of the flora, many of which do not pose a problem now but may become problematic in the face of climate change.
The goal of invasive plant management is to maintain native plant communities by preventing and removing invasive plants using an integrated approach that maximizes the effectiveness of the action while minimizing undesirable impacts. While the park has been fortunate historically to experience only a few aggressive invaders, the future is likely to bring many current and emerging threats to the unique biodiversity of the park. The time for development of an invasive plant management plan guiding our future efforts is now. Development of such a plan would provide comprehensive guidance and documentation for project managers, improve fiscal accountability by focusing on species and/or places where efforts yield the most benefit, and enhance the effectiveness of the program by providing the required environmental analysis of control measures. The National Park Service envisions an adaptive plan as new herbicides or other treatment techniques become available or new invasive plants encroach upon or enter the park.
An environmental assessment will be prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act to provide a decision-making framework that: 1) analyzes a reasonable range of alternatives to meet project objectives, 2) evaluates issues and impacts to park resources and values, and 3) identifies mitigation measures to lessen the degree or extent of these impacts. The park encourages public participation throughout the planning process. This is the public's opportunity to comment formally on the project-now during this initial project scoping and again following release of the environmental assessment.
Comments will be accepted through March 31, 2015. These comments received during this scoping period will be used to help define the issues and concerns to be addressed in the environmental assessment.
Comments can be submitted online by visiting http://parkplanning.nps.gov
, the website for the National Park Services Planning Environment and Public Comment system.
Comments also may be sent to the following address:
Joshua Tree National Park
74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277-3597
Karin Messaros, Compliance Officer, at 760-367-5512 or by e-mail at Karin_Messaros@nps.gov
Miriam Lara-Vamstad, Restoration Biologist, at 760-367-5568, or by email at Miriam_Vamstad@nps.gov