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Contact: Sarah Haas, 435.834.4753
Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for Vegetation Management Plan
The National Park Service has issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for a Vegetation Management Plan at Bryce Canyon National Park. Intermountain Acting Regional Director Mary Gibson Scott approved the FONSI based on the environmental assessment recommended by Kathleen Gonder, Acting Superintendent at Bryce Canyon National Park. Utah Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer, Lori Hunsaker, concurred with the finding of no adverse effect to historic and cultural resources. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Utah Field Office, concurred with the park’s determination of Not Likely to Adversely Affect the Utah prairie dog, a federally listed threatened species within the park. With the environmental assessment and associated compliance completed, implementation of the Vegetation Management Plan will begin immediately.
Three alternatives were evaluated in the environmental assessment addressing varying levels of vegetation management. Alternative II was the NPS preferred alternative and includes the full use of Integrated Pest Management techniques - fire, mechanical, chemical, and biological control - to manage invasive plants, implementation of a sensitive plant species monitoring/protection program, and implementation of a restoration program. Under the selected alternative, integrated pest management procedures will be employed to determine whether to use fire, mechanical, chemical, or biological methods to control invasive vegetation. A comprehensive program of restoration treatments of disturbed areas will be established and a mechanism to conserve and restore native plants will be incorporated into future park projects where vegetation is disturbed. A protocol for the inventory and monitoring of sensitive plants will be established and sensitive plant management will be incorporated into project planning and compliance.
Alternative II was determined to best meet the purpose and need for the project as well as the project objectives to: 1) preserve, protect, and restore the natural abundance, diversity, and distribution of native plant populations, including sensitive plant species, 2) minimize/mitigate the effects of human activities on native plant populations and the communities and ecosystems in which they occur, 3) eradicate, reduce, or contain infestations of known invasive plants, 4) prevent further introductions of invasive species already present in the park, as well as new species introductions, and 5) establish decision-making tools and protocols that would guide treatment plan development for vegetation management activities.
For more information about this project or to obtain a copy of the FONSI, contact the Acting Superintendent at Bryce Canyon National Park at (435) 834-4700, look at the park’s website www.nps.gov/brca (under Management/Park Planning) or the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov.