[Federal Register Volume 69, Number 14 (Thursday, January 22, 2004)]
[Notices]
[Pages 3174-3175]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 04-1287]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service


Notice of Intent To Prepare an Exotic Plant Management Plan and 
Environmental Impact Statement for Nine Park Units in the Southeast 
Region

AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that in accordance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332) (40 CFR 1503.1) and 
Council on Environmental Quality regulations (40 CFR 1506.6), the U.S. 
Department of the Interior, National Park Service will prepare an 
exotic plant management plan/environmental impact statement (Plan/EIS). 
The Plan/EIS will be used to guide the management and control of exotic 
plants and restoration of native plant communities in nine park units 
in South Florida and the Caribbean. The nine park units are Big Cypress 
National

[[Page 3175]]

Preserve, Biscayne National Park, Canaveral National Seashore, Dry 
Tortugas National Park, Everglades National Park, Buck Island Reef 
National Monument, Christiansted National Historic Site, Salt River Bay 
National Historic Park and Ecological Preserve, and Virgin Islands 
National Park. The EIS will assess potential environmental impacts 
associated with various types of exotic plant control measures and 
native habitat restoration techniques on park resources such as native 
plants, threatened and endangered species, water quality and hydrology, 
wetlands, wildlife, cultural resources, and public health and safety.

DATES: To determine the scope of issues to be addressed in the plan and 
EIS and to identify significant issues related to the management and 
control of exotic plants in the nine park units, the National Park 
Service will conduct public scoping meetings in South Florida and the 
Caribbean. Representatives of the National Park Service will be 
available to discuss issues, resource concerns, and the planning 
process at each of the public meetings. When public scoping meetings 
have been scheduled, their locations, dates, and times will be 
published in local newspapers.

ADDRESSES: Any comments or requests for information should be addressed 
to Sandra Hamilton, National Park Service, Environmental Quality 
Division, Academy Place, P.O. Box 25287, Denver, Colorado 80225. 
Comments may also be submitted to the following email address: 
FLCA@den.nps.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sandra Hamilton, at (303) 969-2068. 
Email: Sandra--Hamilton@nps.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In the United States, infestations of exotic 
plants are second only to land use changes as the cause of habitat loss 
and subsequent species endangerment. The threat of exotic species has 
grave implications for the preservation of natural and cultural 
resources throughout the National Park System. It is estimated that 
exotic plants infest approximately 1.5 million acres in the national 
park system, with some 400,000 acres of exotic plants within park units 
in Florida alone.
    The presence and spread of exotic plants in park units in South 
Florida and the Caribbean threaten park natural and cultural resources. 
Exotic plant species threaten native plant communities, alter native 
habitat for plants and wildlife including threatened and endangered 
species, and disrupt natural processes, such as fire regime and 
hydrology. Cultural landscapes are altered by the presence of exotic 
plants, and excessive growth can threaten the integrity of historic or 
cultural structures. The National Park Service recognizes that to 
manage and control the spread of exotic plants more effectively, it is 
necessary to use a collaborative approach between park units, as 
commonalities exist between the units that lend themselves to broad 
management strategies.
    The purpose of the Plan/EIS is to provide a programmatic framework 
for the nine South Florida and Caribbean parks:
    [sbull] To manage and control exotic plants;
    [sbull] To provide for the restoration of native species and 
habitat conditions in ecosystems that have been invaded;
    [sbull] To protect park resources and values from adverse impacts 
resulting from the presence of exotic plants and control activities; 
and
    [sbull] To provide consistency in planning for exotic plant 
management among the participating parks.
    Our practice is to make the public comments we receive in response 
to planning documents, including names and home addresses of 
respondents, available for public review during regular business hours. 
We will make all submissions from organizations or businesses, and from 
individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of 
organizations or businesses, available for public inspection in their 
entirety. However, individual respondents may request that we withhold 
their names and addresses from the public record, and we will honor 
such requests to the extent allowed by law. If you wish to withhold 
your name and/or address, you must state that request prominently at 
the beginning of your comment. Anonymous comments will not be 
considered.
    The draft and final Plan/EIS will be made available to all known 
interested parties and appropriate agencies. Full public participation 
by federal, state, and local agencies as well as other concerned 
organizations and private citizens is invited throughout the 
preparation process of this document.
    The responsible official for this Plan/EIS is Patricia A. Hooks, 
Acting Regional Director, Southeast Region, National Park Service, 100 
Alabama Street SW., 1924 Building, Atlanta, Georgia 30303.

    Dated: December 3, 2003.
John Yancy,
Acting Regional Director, Southeast Region.
[FR Doc. 04-1287 Filed 1-21-04; 8:45 am]
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