National Park Service conducts scoping study for pest management

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Public comment can be made through Aug. 1

 The National Park Service is accepting public comments pertaining to development of the Cumberland Parks Forest Pest Management Plan Environmental Assessment. The scoping period began July 1 and extends through Aug. 1. Comments will be used to assist the parks in developing and evaluating feasible alternatives and analyzing the environmental consequences of each alternative.

The National Park Service is planning to prepare an Environmental Assessment for a Forest Pest Management Plan for the following parks located in the Southeast Region: Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park, Andrew Johnson National Historic Site in Tennessee, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in Tennessee/Kentucky, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in Georgia, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Mammoth Cave National Park and Obed Wild and Scenic River in Tennessee.

The Cumberland Parks Forest Pest Management Plan EA will be based on sound integrated pest management. Integrated pest management is defined as a decision-making process that coordinates knowledge of pest biology, the environment, and available technology to prevent unacceptable levels of pest damage, by cost-effective means, while posing the least possible risk to people and park resources. The purpose of the plan is to identify long-term management tools to reduce the impacts of – or threats from – invasive pests to natural and cultural resources and provide opportunities for restoring native plant communities and cultural landscapes.

The EA is intended to provide strategies for park staff to manage present and emergent forest pests within the designated boundaries of the parks.

Written comments should be postmarked no later than August 1, 2012. Comments may be submitted by mail, fax, email, or through the Planning, Environment, and Public Comment commenting system. Comments are typically treated as public record and made available for public review. Individuals may request that the NPS withhold their name and address from disclosure. Such requests will be honored to the extent allowable by law. Comments may be submitted at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/Scoping_FPMEA. Comments may also be submitted by mail, email, or by fax.

Comments may be submitted to Superintendent, Attn: Forest Pest Management Plan Environmental Assessment, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area,

4564 Leatherwood Road, Oneida, Tenn. 37841; Phone: 423.569.9778; Fax: 423.569.5505 or email: biso_superintendent@nps.gov.