Assessment – 09 G. Unique Ecological Systems

Preliminary Draft Environmental Assessment for

Crater Lake Master Plan

 I. Statement of the Problem

Among the issues to be addressed in the assessment are the following:

G. Unique Ecological Systems

Two outstanding ecological systems exist within Crater Lake National Park–Boundary Springs and Sphagnum Bog. Boundary Springs, the headwaters of the Rogue River, is located in the isolated northwest corner of the park, approximately 1/8 mile from the Rogue River National Forest boundary. The springs flow year-around in an arid, desert-like area where there is relatively scarce during the summer months. Because ample water is available throughout the year, the springs support a unique flower complex, including a variety of mosses and herbs.

Sphagnum Bog, fed by Crater Spring, is located in the extreme western portion of the park proximal to the boundary of the Rogue River National Forest. The Bog also exhibits a unique flora of mosses and herbs, as well as several plant species not recorded elsewhere within the park, including five species of insectivorous plants.

Under the existing park land use plan, both Sphagnum Bog and Boundary Springs lie within areas designated as Class IV lands. As a result, these lands are currently being managed as outstanding natural areas, receiving the maximum protection possible at the park level.

Efforts are under way to insure that these unique ecological systems receive an additional layer of protection in the form of wilderness designation. Both Boundary Springs and Sphagnum Bog are within the boundaries of Wilderness Unit 4 of the proposed wilderness plan currently awaiting congressional approval (Senate B.11-1077, introduced on March 7, 1975).

The U.S. Forest Service also considers these unique areas worthy of preservation. As a result, the Rogue River National Forest established the Boundary Springs (320 acres) and Sphagnum Bog (830 acres) Scenic Areas in August of 1970 in an effort to provide a buffer zone of protection for these important natural ecological systems which extend across jurisdictional boundaries.

Because of the ecological importance of Boundary Springs and Sphagnum Bog, all possible alternatives to properly manage and protect these areas must be assessed to include an interagency cooperative management program and/or boundary realignments with the U.S. Forest Service.

 

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