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Finding of No Significant Impact signed for the Exotic Plant Management Plan at Grand Canyon National Park

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Date: July 20, 2009
Contact: Maureen Oltrogge, 928-638-7779
Contact: Rachel Stanton, 928-774-9612

Grand Canyon, Ariz. – A Finding of No Significant Impact (FONISI) was signed Thursday, July 16, by Michael D. Snyder, Regional Director for Intermountain Region of the National Park Service for the implementation of the Exotic Plant Management Plan for Grand Canyon.

The purpose of the project is to use integrated pest management techniques to control and contain exotic plant species within the park boundaries.  Integrated pest management is a decision-making process that coordinates knowledge of pest biology, the environment, and available technology to address pests, such as exotic plants, cost effectively and with the least possible risk to people, resources, and the environment. Exotic plant species displace natural vegetation and affect the long-term health of native plant and animal communities. Currently, 189 species of exotic plants are known to occur in Grand Canyon National Park; 82 of these are of serious concern.

In February 2009 the National Park Service (NPS) prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Exotic Plant Management Plan.  This EA, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, analyzed the impacts that will likely result from implementation of the project. One alternative for addressing the purpose and need for action was evaluated in the EA, in addition to a no action alternative (Alternative 1, No Action). The EA was available for a 30-day public comment period. Public comments that were received were used in preparation of the FONSI.

The Regional Director concluded that implementation of the preferred alternative does not constitute a major federal action that would significantly affect the quality of the human environment and is not an action that normally requires preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS).

Actions under the preferred alternative include the use of integrated pest management; increased education, prevention, and collaboration; and increased manual, mechanical, cultural, and chemical controls.  This alternative provides a framework for exotic plant management and serves as a planning document that will guide this type of work in the park for the next ten years.

All those that commented on the February 2009 Environmental Assessment will be receiving a printed copy of the FONSI.  Those interested in viewing the FONSI may do so on the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment website at (http://parkplanning.nps.gov/grca).  For questions and additional information about this project please contact Rachel Stanton, Project Planning Lead at (928) 774-9612.

-NPS-

Did You Know?

FOSSIL FOOTPRINTS IN GRAND CANYON

No one has ever found a fossilized reptile skeleton or even an entire reptile bone within the Grand Canyon. Fossil footprints were left by more than 20 species of reptiles and amphibians, but no complete teeth or bones! More...