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RMNP Reviewing Proposal from National Science Foundation

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Date: September 1, 2009
Contact: Kyle Patterson, 970-586-1363

Rocky Mountain National Park staff have received a proposal from the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), which is under the auspices of the National Science Foundation (NSF). NEON is a proposed continental-scale research program for discovering and understanding the impacts of climate change, land-use change, and invasive species on the biosphere. Property administered by Rocky Mountain National Park is being considered for two proposed NEON sites. One site under consideration is located on the west side of Highway 7 immediately south of Goblins Castle Road. The proposal for this site includes the installation of meteorological and soil sampling equipment. It would include a fifty-nine foot (59’) high lattice tower on which would be mounted several pieces of monitoring equipment, a small outbuilding, and a ground level soil monitoring array. The second site is located on Glacier Creek near the Sprague Lake Picnic Area and the proposal includes the installation of water sampling equipment in the stream. If approved, the equipment is expected to be in place by 2011 and would remain in place for three–five years, not to exceed 10 years. 

The NSF has announced the availability of an Environmental Assessment and has invited public comment on the NEON proposal in general and on specific NEON sites, which include the two sites in Rocky Mountain National Park. The public comment period ends on September 28, 2009. The Environmental Assessment is available at the following website:

http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=13440

The proposed sites in the park are a small part of the overall proposal. After consideration of public input, if the decision is made to proceed with the overall NEON proposal, the Superintendent of Rocky Mountain National Park has the discretion to approve or disallow the placement of equipment within the park.

The National Science Foundation will also conduct two public meetings to provide information regarding their proposed project. These meetings will be available via internet webcast and will occur on September 15, 2009, at the National Science Foundation located at 4201 Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, VA and September 17, 2009, at NEON, Inc. Headquarters Office located at 5340 Airport Boulevard in Boulder, Colorado. For information on how to participate in the public meetings via the internet, please log on to:

http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=13440

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