Environmental Assessment Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park



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Environmental Assessment

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

Fire Management Plan

June 9, 2016


Submitted to:
Todd Roeder

Chief Ranger and Project Technical Representative



Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

3370 Lafayette Road

Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742

Prepared by:


SWCA Environmental Consultants

200 W. 22nd Street, Suite 220


Lombard, IL 60148

PUBLIC COMMENT OPPORTUNITY


Public, or external, scoping was conducted through the National Park Service (NPS) Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website where a scoping notice and brochure were posted on January 12, 2016, to inform the public of the proposed project. The scoping brochure was also posted on the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park’s (park’s) public website to solicit feedback for the environmental assessment (EA). The public scoping period ended on February 11, 2016. Public comments received during the scoping period related to 1) the need to restore the historic landscape to represent the Civil War time period, 2) recommend methods for fire management activities, and 3) potential impacts from the use of prescribed burns.

The Fire Management Plan (FMP) EA will be available for public comments for 30 days, between June 9 and July 9, 2016. Comments are due by July 9, 2016. Copies of the EA will be provided to interested individuals upon request. Reviewers should provide comments on the EA during the review period. Comments on the EA should be specific and discuss the adequacy of the analysis and the merits of the alternatives discussed. Following closure of the review period, all public comments will be reviewed and analyzed prior to release of the decision document. The NPS will issue responses to any substantive comments received during the review period and will make appropriate changes to the EA as needed.

If you wish to comment on this EA please go to the PEPC project website: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/CHCH. The open for comment link on the left hand side provides access to the EA. Comments can also be submitted by mail to the address below. Comments must be submitted by July 9, 2016. Comments cannot be received by email.

Superintendent

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

Fire Management Plan

P.O. Box 2128

Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742

Before including your address, telephone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comments, you should be aware that your entire comment (including personal identifying information) may be publically available at any time. While you may include in your comment direction to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS


PUBLIC COMMENT OPPORTUNITY 3

1PURPOSE AND NEED FOR ACTION 8

1.1Introduction 8

1.2Purpose and Need of the Action 9

1.2.1Fire History of the Park 12

1.2.2Federal Wildland Fire Policy 13

1.3Scoping 13

1.3.1Internal Scoping 13

1.3.2Public Scoping 14

1.4Issues 14

1.4.1Issues Retained for Analysis 15

1.4.2Issues Considered and Dismissed from Further Consideration 16

Wetlands 16

Museum Collections 17

Soundscapes 17

Socioeconomics 17

Environmental Justice 17

Public Health and Safety 18

2Alternatives Considered 18

2.1Alternative A: No Action Alternative 18

2.2Alternative B: Proposed Action (Preferred Alternative) 19

2.2.1Minimum Impact Strategy and Tactics 20

2.2.2Fire Management Strategies 20

Wildland Fire Suppression Strategies 20

Full Suppression 20

Confine and Contain 20

Point Protection 21

2.2.3Fuel Management Strategies 21

Prescribed Fire 22

Mechanical Fuel Treatment 22

Cooperation and Collaboration 23

2.2.4Fire Management Units 23

Chickamauga Battlefield Unit 24

Lookout Mountain Unit 24

Moccasin Bend Unit 24

Signal Point Unit 25

Missionary Ridge Unit 25

Orchard Knob Unit 25

2.3Mitigation Measures/Best Management Practices 31

3Affected Environment and
Environmental Consequences 35

3.1Climate Change 35

3.2Similar and Cumulative Actions 36

3.3Air Resources 37

3.3.1Affected Environment 37

3.3.2Environmental Consequences 38

Alternative A: No Action 38

Cumulative Impacts 39

Alternative B: FMP Revision (Preferred Alternative) 39

Cumulative Impacts 41

Conclusion 41

3.4Soil and Water Resources 41

3.4.1Affected Environment 41

Chickamauga Unit 42

Lookout Mountain Unit 42

Moccasin Bend Unit 42

Signal Point Unit 42

Missionary Ridge Unit 42

Orchard Knob Unit 43

3.4.2Environmental Consequences 43

Alternative A: No Action 43

Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, Moccasin Bend, and Missionary Ridge Units 43

Signal Point and Orchard Knob Units 44

Cumulative Impacts 44

Alternative B: FMP Revision (Preferred Alternative) 44

Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, Moccasin Bend, and Missionary Ridge Units 44

Signal Point and Orchard Knob Units 45

Cumulative Impacts 45

Conclusion 46

3.5Vegetation, Including Nonnative Species 46

3.5.1Affected Environment 46

Chickamauga Unit 48

Lookout Mountain 48

Moccasin Bend Unit 50

Signal Point Unit 50

Missionary Ridge Unit 51

Orchard Knob Unit 51

3.5.2Environmental Consequences 51

Alternative A: No Action 51

Chickamauga Unit 51

Lookout Mountain Unit 52

Moccasin Bend Unit 52

Signal Point, Missionary Ridge, and Orchard Knob Units 53

Cumulative Impacts 53

Alternative B: FMP Revision (Preferred Alternative) 54

Chickamauga Unit 54

Lookout Mountain Unit 55

Moccasin Bend and Missionary Ridge Units 56

Signal Point and Orchard Knob Units 56

Cumulative Impacts 56

Conclusion 56

3.6Wildlife, Including Threatened and Endangered Species 57

3.6.1Affected Environment 57

Mammals 57

Federally Listed Species 58

Invasive Species 59

Birds 59

Reptiles and Amphibians 59

Fish 59

3.6.2Environmental Consequences 60



Alternative A: No Action 60

Mammals 60

Federally Listed Species 60

Birds 61


Reptiles and Amphibians 62

Fish 62


Cumulative Impacts 63

Alternative B: FMP Revision (Preferred Alternative) 63

Mammals 63

Federally Listed Species 63

Birds 64

Reptiles and Amphibians 64

Fish 65

Cumulative Impacts 65



Conclusion 65

3.7Cultural Resources, including Cultural Landscapes 66

3.7.1Affected Environment 66

Chickamauga Battlefield Unit 67

Cultural Resources 67

Cultural Landscapes 67

Lookout Mountain Unit 67

Cultural Resources 67

Cultural Landscapes 68

Moccasin Bend Unit 68

Cultural Resources 68

Cultural Landscapes 68

Signal Point, Missionary Ridge, and Orchard Knob Units 69

Cultural Resources 69

Cultural Landscapes 69

3.7.2Environmental Consequences 69

Alternative A: No Action 69

Cultural Resources (all units) 69

Cultural Landscapes (all units) 70

Cumulative Impacts 70

Alternative B: FMP Revision (Preferred Alternative) 71

Cultural Resources (all units) 71

Cultural Landscapes (all units) 72

Cumulative Impacts 72

Conclusion 72

3.8Land Use and Transportation 73

3.8.1Affected Environment 73

3.8.2Environmental Consequences 74

Alternative A: No Action 74

Cumulative Impacts 74

Alternative B: FMP Revision (Preferred Alternative) 74

Cumulative Impacts 75

Conclusion 76

3.9Visitor Use and Experience 76

3.9.1Affected Environment 76

Chickamauga Unit 76

Lookout Mountain Unit 76

Moccasin Bend Unit 77

Signal Point Unit 77

Missionary Ridge Unit 77

Orchard Knob Unit 77

3.9.2Environmental Consequences 77

Alternative A: No Action 77

Chickamauga Unit 77

Lookout Mountain Unit 78

Moccasin Bend Unit 78

Signal Point, Missionary Ridge, and Orchard Knob Units 79

Cumulative Impacts 79

Alternative B: FMP Revision (Preferred Alternative) 79

Chickamauga Unit 79

Lookout Mountain Unit 80

Moccasin Bend Unit 80

Missionary Ridge Unit 81

Signal Point and Orchard Knob Units 81

Cumulative Impacts 81

Conclusion 82



4Consultation and Coordination 83

5References and Literature Cited 85

Appendix A.Agency Consultation 92

Appendix B.Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics 96

List of Tables


List of Figures




Acronyms and Abbreviations

AQRV

air quality related values

BMP

best management practice

CEQ

Council on Environmental Quality

CFR

Code of Federal Regulations

CO

carbon monoxide

DO

Director’s Order

EA

environmental assessment

EPA

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

ESF

Environmental Screening Form

FMP

Fire Management Plan

FMU

Fire Management Unit

GMPA

General Management Plan Amendment

MIST

Minimum Impact Strategy and Tactics

NAAQS

National Ambient Air Quality Standards

NEPA

National Environmental Policy Act

NOx

nitrogen oxide

NPS

National Park Service

NRCS

Natural Resources Conservation Service

NWCG

National Wildfire Coordinating Group

O3

ozone

park

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

Pb

lead

PM10

particulate matter less than 10 microns in size

PM2.5

particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in size

PMS

Product Management System

SO2

sulfur dioxide

USC

United States Code

VOC

volatile organic compound

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