Final Management Action Plan/Environmental Impact Statement; Record of Decision; National Coal Heritage Area, West Virginia
Pursuant to Section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, Pub. L. 91-190, 83 Stat. 852, 853, codified as amended at 42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C), the National Park Service announces the availability of the Record of Decision for the Final Management Action Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (Final MAP/EIS) for the National Coal Heritage Area in West Virginia. The Regional Director, Northeast Region, approved the Record of Decision for the project, selecting Alternative C-Focal Point with Corridor Development, which was described on pages II-1 to II-11 of the Final MAP/EIS and announced to the public in a Notice of Availability published in the Federal Register on September 23, 2002. The selected alternative, and three additional alternatives including Alternative D, the No-Action Alternative, were analyzed in the Draft and Final Environmental Impact Statements. Each alternative was evaluated as to how it would guide the priorities, projects, and management of the national heritage area over the following ten years. Management approach, funding sources, and education, preservation, conservation and interpretation opportunities and priorities were all considered during the analysis, as were marketing and tourism opportunities and priorities and the development of physical components including visitor centers, destination centers, a museum, and access corridors. The full range of foreseeable environmental consequences was assessed and disclosed in relation to impacts on historic, cultural, natural and recreational resources, the environment, and the quality of the visitor experience. The NPS will implement Alternative C, the preferred alternative (the selected action), as described in the National Coal Heritage Area Management Action Plan/Environmental Impact Statement for the National Coal Heritage Area because it best reflects and fulfills the goals of the National Coal Heritage Area's mission, as well as the purpose and intent of the National Coal Heritage Area's enabling legislation. The selected alternative is based on a combined focal point/corridor development approach and is a hybrid of Alternatives A and B, which were also evaluated in the National Coal Heritage Area Management Action Plan/Environmental Impact Statement. The selected alterantive includes the nine Destination Centers and Experience Zones proposed in Alternative A and the development of a large-scale, state-of-the-art interpretive and educational museum/visitor center complex near Beckley proposed in Alternative B. The selected alternative is estimated to cost approximately $78 million over a 10-year period. The NPS has selected Alternative C for implementation because it best meets the legislative intent of the National Coal Heritage Area Act to ``develop and implement integrated cultural, historical, and land resource management policies and programs to retain, enhance, and interpret significant values of the lands, water, and structures of the Area.'' The Selected Alternative captures a broad range of visitors and encourages local capacity building simultaneously. It gives visitors several options for exploring the 11-county heritage area with a large interpretive center, several Visitor Centers and nine Destination Centers. The Selected Alternative provides for strong central leadership that would take an active role in the development of a broad-based preservation and conservation effort that is likely to result in increased investment in the NCHA and increased business and employment opportunities. The Record of Decision includes a background of the project, statement of the decision made, synopses of alternatives considered, the basis for the decision, a finding of no impairment of resources and values, and an overview of public and agency involvement in the decision-making process. This decision is the result of a public planning process that began with public outreach meetings in February and March 2000, and the publication of a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the National Coal Heritage Area Management Action Plan in the Federal Register on July 17, 2001. The official responsible for this decision is the NPS Regional Director, Northeast Region.
General Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, NM
Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 U.S.C. 4332(C), the National Park Service is preparing an environmental impact statement for a general management plan for Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, New Mexico. The environmental impact statement will be approved by the Director, Intermountain Region. The general management plan will prescribe the resource conditions and visitor experiences that are to be achieved and maintained in the monument over the next 15 to 20 years. The clarification of what must be achieved according to law and policy will be based on review of the monument's purpose, significance, special mandates, and the body of laws and policies directing park management. Based on determinations of desired conditions, the general management plan will outline the kinds of resource management activities, visitor activities, and development that would be appropriate in the future. A range of reasonable management alternatives will be developed through this planning process and will include, at a minimum, no-action and the preferred alternative. The monument does not have a general management plan as required by the Redwood Amendment of 1978 and NPS management policies. Issues to be addressed will include but are not limited to the following: The protection and interpretation options for the cliff dwellings and TJ Ruin and long-term direction for protection and management. The needs of all users (cultural heritage visitors, wilderness hikers, nature watchers, and Native Americans) and the appropriateness and adequacy of current facilities. Identifying and analyzing various options for long-term management of the monument, adjacent land, and facilities.
Elk and Vegetation Management Plan, Final Environmental Impact Statement, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO
Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C), the National Park Service announces the availability of the Record of Decision for the Elk and Vegetation Management Plan, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. On February 15, 2008, the Regional Director, Intermountain Region, approved the Record of Decision for the project. As soon as practicable, the National Park Service will begin to implement the Preferred Alternative contained in the FEIS issued on January 4, 2008. The Final Plan analyzed five alternatives, including a no action alternative (Alternative 1), to manage elk and vegetation within the Park. The four action alternatives each used different combinations of management tools to reduce the elk population size and densities, redistribute elk, restore natural migration, and restore vegetation. All action alternatives emphasized adaptive management. Alternative 2 used intensive lethal reduction (culling) of elk in the first four years of the plan to reach a population size on the low end of the natural range of variation, in combination with minimal fencing. Alternative 4 used a fertility control agent along with gradual lethal reduction (culling) of elk over the 20 year life of the plan to reach a population size on the high end of the natural range of variation, in combination with a moderate amount of fencing. Alternative 5 used introduction of a small number of intensively managed wolves, along with intensive lethal reduction (culling) of elk in the first four years of the plan to reach a population size that incorporated the full range of natural variation, in combination with minimal fencing. The selected action, Alternative 3, relies on a variety of conservation tools including fencing, redistribution, vegetation restoration and lethal reduction (culling). In future years, the park will, using adaptive management principles, reevaluate opportunities to use wolves or fertility control as additional tools. The selected alternative includes the gradual lethal reduction (culling) of elk by National Park Service staff and authorized agents of the National Park Service to achieve an elk population size at the high end of the natural range of variation of 1,600 to 2,100 elk (600 to 800 park subpopulation; 1,000 to 1,300 town subpopulation) by the end of the plan. Inside the park, up to 200 elk will be removed annually over 20 years. To the extent possible, elk carcasses and/or meat resulting from these actions will be donated through an organized program to eligible recipients, including tribes, based on informed consent and pursuant to applicable public health guidelines. Aspen stands (up to 160 acres) on the elk range will be fenced to exclude elk herbivory. Because this alternative will result in a target population at the high end of the natural range, up to 440 acres of suitable willow habitat will be fenced in the high elk-use areas of the primary summer and winter ranges. These temporary fences will be installed adaptively, based on vegetation response to elk management actions as indicated through a monitoring program. To reduce elk densities on the elk range outside of fenced areas, redistribution of the population will occur using herding, aversive conditioning, and use of unsuppressed weapons for culling. The plan incorporates adaptive management and monitoring to determine the level and intensity of management actions needed, including elk population reductions, fencing, herding, and aversive conditioning. Population numbers will be estimated annually and the number of animals to be removed will be determined based on the most current population estimates. If the elk population is within the defined portion of the range of natural variation and vegetation management objectives are being met, no lethal reduction activities will take place. Culling will be administered by the National Park Service and carried out by National Park Service personnel and their authorized agents. For purposes of this plan, ``authorized agents'' can include: Professional staff from other federal, state, or local agencies or tribes; contractors; or qualified volunteers. For all alternatives the full range of foreseeable environmental consequences was assessed, and appropriate mitigating measures were identified. The Record of Decision includes a statement of the decision made, synopses of other alternatives considered, the basis for the decision, a description of the environmentally preferable alternative, a finding on impairment of park resources and values, a listing of measures to minimize environmental harm, and an overview of public involvement in the decision-making process.
Notice of Availability of Draft General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement/Wilderness Study for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Pursuant to Section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(c), the National Park Service (NPS) announces the availability of a draft General Management Plan/ Environmental Impact Statement/Wilderness Study (GMP/EIS/WS) for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan.