Hwy 62 – 77 Biotic Communities

Rehabilitation of Highway 62 West, Crater Lake National Park, Klamath County, Oregon

 ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES

ALTERNATIVE B: RESURFACING, RESTORATION, AND REHABILITATION

This section evaluates the potential impacts of alternative B.

Biotic Communities

Vegetation

Under alternative B, impacts would occur to vegetation associated with construction required to rehabilitate the Highway 62 West corridor resulting from dust generation and construction activity. Dust generated during construction would coat vegetation adjacent to the highway until the next precipitation event occurred, resulting in a localized, short-term, negligible, adverse effect to downwind vegetation. Vegetation that has re-established along the road shoulders (mostly lodgepole pine seedlings) would be removed under alternative B, resulting in a short-term, negligible, and adverse effect. Long-term effects would be the same as the no-action alternative.

Small areas of existing turnouts (approximately 0.2 acre or 0.08 hectare) would be obliterated and revegetated following the rehabilitation project resulting in a long-term, negligible, beneficial effect to vegetation.

Non-native plant species could be introduced to this road segment from rock and gravel hauled in from the Wizard III Quarry; however, mitigation measures would be implemented to reduce the likelihood of “weed seed” introduction.

Wildlife

Traffic delays due to construction events would result in vehicles idling in long lines, then traveling from the construction site in more dense groups and in a more pulsed manner, resulting in a change in normal traffic flow during the construction period.

Loss of wildlife would be proportional to the amount of habitat lost. The existing road corridor and nearby forested areas have been previously affected through years of close association with vehicles and attendant human activity; wildlife in the area have unquestionably been long habituated to human activity, noise, and traffic. Wildlife would probably avoid the construction zone to a certain extent during construction. Overall, populations of affected species might be slightly and temporarily lowered during construction, but no permanent negative effects on wildlife would be anticipated. Revegetating the roadside areas would result in negligible additional wildlife habitat. A long-term, negligible, beneficial effect would occur for wildlife where habitat is restored through revegetation.

Alternative B would result in a short-term, negligible, adverse effect to wildlife during construction.

Cumulative Impacts. Past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions would have an effect on biotic, vegetation, and wildlife communities and include fire management using prescribed burning and construction projects related to waterlines and lagoons in Munson Valley. Prescribed burns would emulate a natural occurrence under controlled conditions that would result in short-term, adverse impacts to vegetation, individual wildlife, and habitat; however, the long-term effect from prescribed burns would be beneficial as the health of plant communities would improve and habitat would be more diverse for wildlife. Construction in the Munson Valley would result in temporary to long-term, minor, adverse effects on biotic, vegetation, and wildlife communities on a localized site. This alternative would contribute negligibly to the cumulative impacts on both vegetation and wildlife, which would be anticipated to be short and long term and adverse.

Conclusion. Alternative B would have a short-term, negligible, adverse effect on roadside biotic, vegetation, and wildlife communities during construction. A long-term, negligible, adverse impact on roadside vegetation would continue following construction due to maintenance activities and public use. A long-term, negligible beneficial effect would occur for vegetation and wildlife where habitat is restored through revegetation. The cumulative impact would be short- and long-term, negligible, adverse affects on biotic communities.

Because there would be no major adverse impacts to a resource or value whose conservation is (1) necessary to fulfill specific purposes identified in the park’s establishing legislation, (2) key to the natural or cultural integrity of the park or to opportunities for enjoyment of the park, or (3) identified as a goal in the park’s General Management Plan or other relevant National Park Service planning documents, there would be no impairment of park resources or values related to biotic communities at Crater Lake National Park.

 

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