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Park Continues Work To Control Cheatgrass

Rocky Mountain National Park is proposing an initiative to control cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) in areas of the park infested with this exotic invasive plant.  This initiative would extend from September 2008 through 2010 and would include approximately 350 acres. Infestations would be controlled using herbicide and replanted with native seed as needed. Other control methods that do not include the use of herbicides would continue to be explored.  The objective of this initiative is to reduce the negative impacts of cheatgrass to native plant communities and other natural and cultural resources in the park.

Priority areas for cheatgrass control are critical habitat, existing vegetation restoration sites, and areas where the invasive grass is spreading further into the park:  Bear Lake Road and Trail Ridge Road, Beaver Meadows, Hondius Park, Horseshoe Park, Endovalley, Deer Mountain, Moraine Park, Hollowell Park, near visitor centers, campgrounds, administrative areas, parking lots (including the Lumpy Ridge trailhead).
Infestations in these areas range from less than 1 acre to over 35 acres in size. Other infestations of cheatgrass could be discovered and treated as additional areas are inventoried by park staff.

The park’s Exotic Plant Management Plan (2003) anticipated only limited control efforts for cheatgrass. Acres of park land infested with cheatgrass have increased since 2003 and require a greater effort to reduce the negative impacts to native plant communities. The 2003 threshold level for cheatgrass herbicide control is no longer effective due to the potential for all infestations to spread. To reduce cheatgrass levels, all infestation sizes require treatment. Treating all infestations may result in less retreatment and less herbicide applied over time.

Because this initiative goes beyond what was anticipated in the Exotic Plant Management Plan completed in 2003, we would like to hear your thoughts on this initiative. You can submit your comments to us in several ways:

By Mail: Superintendent, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park,  Colorado 80517

By Fax: (970) 586-1397

By email: romo_superintendent@nps.gov

By Express Delivery: Superintendent, Rocky Mountain National Park, 1000 Highway 36, Estes Park, Colorado 80517

Hand Delivery: Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, Fall River Visitor Center

The deadline for comments is September 10, 2008.

Rocky Mountain National Park will continue to keep the public informed about areas of the park that would be treated with herbicide. Notification of the areas to be treated would be provided at least two weeks in advance of treatment, and would include the posting of signs at the proposed treatment locations. A list or map of the proposed treatment areas would also be posted on the following website:
http://www.nps.gov/romo/parkmgmt/planning_documents.htm.
If you have any questions about this initiative, please contact Jim Cheatham at (970) 586-1301.

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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