Exotic Plant Management Environmental Assessment
The National Park Service has released for public review and comment an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Exotic Plant Management Plan for Rocky Mountain National Park. Invasive exotic plants are capable of spreading rapidly, outcompeting native plants, and altering ecosystem conditions and processes. The number of invasive exotic plant species in the park is growing, as are their distribution and acreage. This is occurring despite efforts to control these occurrences. The park is currently managing exotic invasive plant infestations in accordance with the 2003 Invasive Exotic Plant Management Plan and EA. While the 2003 plan provides a mechanism for addressing some invasive exotic plant infestations, it does not allow managers the flexibility to deal with new species infestations, prevents the eradication of some treated species, and does not contain a structured framework to incorporate new science and information into the decision-making and management process.
Therefore Rocky Mountain National Park is proposing to adopt a framework to manage exotic plant species. The EA evaluates two alternatives: a no action alternative and a preferred alternative. Under Alternative A (the no action alternative), the park would continue to manage exotic plants under the 2003 plan. Under Alternative B (the preferred alternative), the park would develop a decision-making framework that would incorporate the best available science, expert knowledge, site assessments, and monitoring to determine the extent of exotic species infestations, determine if management is necessary, prioritize management, and determine the most effective management methods.
The EA is on public review, with comments accepted through December 6, 2018.