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    Denali

    National Park & Preserve Alaska

Environmental Assessment on Wonder Lake Climate Reference Network Station Available for Public Comment

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Date: April 4, 2014
Contact: Kris Fister, 907-683-9583

DENALI PARK, Alaska:The National Park Service (NPS) is considering a proposal by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to install a U.S. Climate Reference Network station near the water treatment building west of the Wonder Lake Campground in Denali National Park and Preserve. This project would take place during the summer of 2014.

The U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) is a network of climate stations developed, deployed, managed, and maintained in the United States by NOAA for the express purpose of detecting the national signals of climate change. There are currently 114 stations that have been deployed in the lower 48 states, and 14 stations in Alaska, including sites in Lake Clark National Preserve and Katmai National Park. The station is needed in Denali National Park in order to have a station site in the interior of Alaska and because a location within a national park has the least likelihood of landscape change.

The Environmental Assessment evaluates one action alternative and the no action alternative (current situation).In the preferred action a Climate Reference Network Station would be installed on a level area of ground above, and approximately ¼ mile west of, the Wonder Lake Campground. Installation would involve the shallow excavation of two 3'x 4' areas to install concrete foundations for a weather tower and rain gauge. The rain gauge would be encircled by a wind screen approximately 10 feet in diameter. The entire area (approximately 25' x 25') may be surrounded by electric fencing to protect equipment from curious wildlife. Solar panels, wind generators, and/or fuel cells will be used to power the station. The fuel cell, methanol, batteries, and water needed to operate it would be stored in a large shipping container in order to contain any potential spill. The Remote Automated Weather Station (RAWS) currently located near the Wonder Lake Ranger Station would be removed after one year of data gathering by the Climate Reference Network station, if the data gathered by the two stations is not contradictory.

The NPS has published an environmental assessment (EA) for this project entitled "Installation of a Climate Reference Network Station at Wonder Lake." It is available at the NPS planning website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov. The EA analyzes the impacts of the "No Action" alternative and the action alternative. It was completed in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and the regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR 1508.9).

Comments on the EA may be submitted through May 5, 2014, preferably via the web site at http://parkplanning.nps.gov. Comments may also be mailed to: Superintendent, Attn: Wonder Lake Climate Reference Station EA, Denali National Park and Preserve, P.O. Box 9, Denali Park, AK 99755 or faxed to 907-683-9612. For questions or paper copies of the EA, please contact Steve Carwile at 907-644-3612 or steve_carwile@nps.gov.

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