Approximately 1,200 exotic plant species in Florida and the Caribbean have become established in natural areas, and as many as 4% of those exotic plant species have displaced native species. Exotic plants compete aggressively with native plants and are often at an advantage because they have little or no predatory control. Among other problems, exotic plants displace native species, alter native species proportion, degrade or reduce available habitat for threatened and endangered species, consume nutrients, alter fire patterns, reduce recreational opportunities and clog waterways.
Everglades, Dry Tortugas, Biscayne National Parks and the Big Cypress National Preserve along with five (5) other South Florida and Caribbean parks are seeking public input, through November 20, 2006 on a proposed Exotic Plant Management Plan/Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EPMP/EIS).
The purpose of this DEIS is to 1) provide a programmatic plan to manage and control exotic plants in nine parks in south Florida and the Caribbean; 2) promote restoration of native species and habitat conditions in ecosystems that have been invaded by exotic plants’, and 3) protect park resources and values from adverse effects resulting from exotic plant presence and control activities. The DEIS evaluates a range of reasonable alternatives for managing exotic plants in nine parks in south Florida and the Caribbean.
Copies of the DEIS are available for review and comment on the World Wide Web by accessing the National Park Service’s Planning, Environment, and Public Comment Website. Persons wishing to comment may do so by posting comments at this address or mailing comments to Sandra Hamilton, Environmental Quality Division, National Park Service, Academy Place, P.O. Box 25287, Denver, CO 80225.