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Need another public meeting on the overall management plan at American Camp
We were gratified that the National Park Service held the recent meeting dealing with rabbit control at American Camp. We also were gratified that the meeting was reorganized (thank you, Linda Downes) to a public discussion of rabbit control options where all those members of the public in attendance could comment to the assembled group.
However, we feel that rabbit control is only part of the management strategy proposed and currently employed by the NPS in management of the American Camp prairie. Considered an invasive species, the rabbits are only one part of a multi-pronged approach to control and eliminate other invasive species from the park. They include Himalayan blackberry and hawthorn. Since controlling these invasive species, in addition to the rabbits, is part of the NPS overall management plan, we feel another public meeting should be held to discuss these broader issues dealing with invasive species control.
The impact on the overall biodiversity of the American Camp ecosystem should be a prime focal point for this meeting. Methodology for control, and methods proposed to evaluate results of control procedures and consequences of control to the overall biodiversity of the prairie ecosystem, should be considered.
We respectfully request another public meeting be held to consider the entire invasive species program. The meeting should be held in the evening when the maximum number of people could attend.
We feel the open forum model for these discussions is an excellent means to inform the public of NPS actions and inform the NPS of public concerns about their proposed management strategies. The public needs to receive clear answers from the NPS to questions raised in these matters. If local personnel cannot answer these questions then more senior NPS staff should be in attendance at the forum to provide the answers.
Members of the public should be encouraged to submit comments on the proposed NPS actions to the local NPS office and submit copies of their comments to Rep. Rick Larsen and Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell.
Keith Van Cleve and Jacqueline Scherer
San Juan Island