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Grand Canyon removing grasses to keep elk from roadways

NPS is applying herbicide to remove grasses that attract elk in congested areas of Grand Canyon Village. (Stock photo)

NPS is applying herbicide to remove grasses that attract elk in congested areas of Grand Canyon Village. (Stock photo)

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — On June 4-5 NPS will apply herbicide to the traffic islands on South Entrance and Yavapai Roads to remove grasses that attract elk in these congested areas of the Grand Canyon Village. The intent of the removal is to minimize conflicts between wildlife (elk) and both visitors and residents along the road corridors.

Weather permitting, park staff from the Division of Science and Resource Management (SRM) will use a low concentration tank mix of imazapyr and glyphosate based herbicides to kill the grasses. These herbicides are approved for use along road sides by the Department of the Interior’s Pesticide Use Proposal System (PUPS). Although foot traffic in the area is generally limited, visitors, staff and residents are encouraged to use the designated crosswalks to avoid potential contact with the herbicide until the evening of June 5.

In spring 2009, park staff prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) for implementation of Grand Canyon National Park’s Exotic Plant Management Plan that identifies the need to use an integrated approach to exotic plant management including the use of herbicides. The EA was prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and generated a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). The FONSI, signed by the Regional Director in July 2009, said the expansion of chemical pest control in the park was a reasonable alternative to no action and would have no significant negative impact on the park’s ecology.

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