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6 - Monitoring in the Eldorado Mountain/Doudy Draw Trail Study Area CITY OF BOULDER OPEN SPACE BOARD OF TRUSTEES AGENDA ITEM MEETING DATE: November 12, 2008 AGENDA TITLE: Monitoring in the Eldorado Mountain /Doudy Draw Trail Study Area PRESENTERS: Open Space and Mountain Parks 1Vlichael D. Patton, Director Eric Stone, Resource Systems Division Manager Steve Armstead, Visitor Master Plan Implementation Coordinator Mark Gershman, Environmental Planner Will Keeley, Wildlife Ecologist EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Eldorado Mountain /Doudy Draw Trail Study Area (EM/DD TSA) Plan identified three new trail connections in the TSA. The Flatirons Vista trails have been completed and have been opened to visitors. Spring Brook Loop in the Doudy Draw Natural Area and Goshawk Ridge Trail in the Eldorado IVlountain Habitat Conservation Area (HCA) are under construction, and are anticipated to be completed and available for the public in November and December, respectively. Efforts to complete and open Spring Brook Loop and Goshawk Ridge include a commitment to have in place a range of monitoring projects that aid the ability to assess and effectively respond to resource conditions or visitor experience that are in need of protection or improvement. Special on-trail travel restrictions on Spring Brook Loop for equestrians, bikes and dogs (on-leash) afford greater protection for the sensitive resources of the area. Staff will use observations of trail use to gauge compliance with regulations and undesignated trail monitoring, to assess the effectiveness of the requirements and to minimize off-trail travel. A visitor survey will provide information about visitor activity- related conflicts and direct staff's management response to ensure a good visitor experience for all. On Goshawk Ridge Trail, trail condition will be monitored to assess the sustainability of equestrian travel on the trail, and the condition of a stretch of previously undesignated trail that was incorporated into the trail alignment. Staff has also established monitoring projects that will augment information on wildlife resources and their use of the area and allow staff to assess any changes after trails are constructed. On October 15, 2008 staff briefed the Open Space Board of Trustees on the proposal for sustainable recreation monitoring. On the following evening, staff held a public meeting to present and gather public input on the proposed recreational activity monitoring and associated indicators, thresholds and adaptive management responses. Staff also presented the trail-related wildlife monitoring projects underway with some preliminary data fiom the "pre-trail" (baseline) work. AGENDA ITEM # PAGE 1 Staff is returning to the Board for discussion of the Sustainable Recreational Activity monitoring planned for Spring Brook Loop and Goshawk Ridge Trail. Staff will also update the Board on trail related wildlife monitoring underway in the EM/DD TSA. STAFF RECOMMENDATION: This is an information item only. No action is required from the Open Space Board of Trustees. Staff is interested in any suggestions or comments the Board can offer. COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENTS AND IMPACTS: • Economic: The Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) program contributes to the economic vitality of the city because it provides the setting and services that help to attract a diversity of businesses and to recruit and retain employees. • Environmental: Wildlife sampling in the EM/DD TSA uses passive techniques intended to cause minimal disturbance to wildlife. Monitoring information is intended to improve OSMP's ability to effectively protect environmental resources that support ecological sustainability. • Social: Monitoring information is intended to improve OSMP's ability to effectively protect environmental resources that support the aesthetics of the visitor experience. Monitoring will also provide information that will help OSMP maintain high quality and safe trails and maintain a good visitor experience for all activities. OTHER IMPACTS: • Fiscal: Implementation costs are primarily for staffing. Funds for these expenses were anticipated in the current operating budget. • Staff time: Wildlife monitoring projects required the hiring of a seasonal wildlife technician in the fall 2007; this position continues. Two seasonal ranger positions have been hired to assist with the sustainable recreation monitoring. Additional monitoring needs in EM/DD TSA fit into the work-plans of current staff. PUBLIC FEEDBACK: A public meeting was held on October 16, 2008 where staff presented both the sustainable recreation monitoring proposal and wildlife monitoring projects. Staff will incorporate comments from the community into a revised recreation monitoring plan. This item is being heard at this public meeting, advertised in the Daily Camera on November 9, 2008. ANALYSIS: Background The Goshawk Ridge Trail in the Eldorado Mountain Habitat HCA and the Spring Brook Loop in the Doudy Draw Natural Area were identified for construction in the ElV1/DD TSA Plan (Attachment A). The Eldorado 1Vlountain HCA and the portion of the Doudy Draw Natural Area where the Spring Brook Loop are located are especially sensitive landscapes with important natural and cultural resources. Both areas required OSMP staff to carefully consider potential impacts and protective measures. Spring Brook Loop passes tlu•ough an area first recommended as an HCA but that was ultimately designated a Natural Area. With the high resource values of the area in mind, City Council directed AGENDA ITEM # PAGE 2 staff to keep track of the conditions and take appropriate actions to protect the resources found there. Staff has developed monitoring projects to track resource conditions, activities occurring on the new trails, and the effectiveness of strategies designed to reduce impacts in response to the direction contained in the EM/DD TSA and received from Council. Staff hosted a public meeting on October 16, 2448 to address the community interest in the monitoring projects. The public meeting provided members of the community the opportunity to share their thoughts about the indicators, thresholds, and management responses in staff's Sustainable Recreation Monitoring Proposal (Attachment B). Staff also presented and discussed the wildlife monitoring program associated with the new trails. A summary document describing the range of wildlife monitoring projects underway along with some initial baseline information was provided at the public meeting (Attachment C). Sustainable Recreation Monitoring Special activity requirements are included in the EM/DD TSA Plan to minimize potential resource impacts from visitor activities resulting from the new trails. The activity requirements include on-trail travel for equestrians, dogs, and bikes and dogs prohibited in the southern area of Spring Brook Loop. The recreational monitoring projects are intended to provide information to guide adaptive management responses if there are indications of the requirements not meeting specific expectations. Both mountain biking and dog walking are new activities in the area west of Doudy Draw Trail. OSMP is interested in learning more about the experience of visitors on the Spring Brook Loop where bikers, hikers, dog walkers and equestrians will be sharing the trail. Monitoring will inform management actions in response to conflicts that may degrade the visitor experience for some or all activities. Goshawk Ridge Trail is built in an area with steep, highly erodable soils. The trail is designed to be minimally "developed" and integrates a portion of apre-existing undesignated trail. Equestrian travel on the trail will be on a trial basis to ensure that the trail can hold up to equestrian use. OS 1VIP monitoring will track trail condition using the indicators and standards developed as part of the OSl~IP's Trail Management Framework. «ildlife Monitoring The Spring Brook and Bull Gulch drainages and nearby forested mesas and ridges are some of the few locations on OSMP that are used by locally uncommon species like elk, Merriam's wild turkey, dusky grouse, and forest hawks and owls. The area provides suitable habitat with minimal human disturbance favored by breeding turkeys, forest raptors and other sensitive wildlife species. Wildlife monitoring projects established in the area west of Doudy Draw are intended to gather information about wildlife's use of the area and to measure wildlife's response to new trail construction. Together, these efforts will help inform the need for management actions to protect resources and guide future trail management decisions in EM/DD and elsewhere in OSMP. AGENDA ITEM # PAGE 3 In 2447 and 2448, staff undertook multiple wildlife monitoring surveys in proximity to where Spring Brook Loop and Goshawk Ridge trails were to be built to establish pre-trail data. Staff conducted breeding surveys for forest raptors (owls and forest hawks), wild turkeys, northern leopard frogs, and forest songbirds. Other efforts included wild turkey roost observations, deer and elk bed mapping, and pellet plot surveys implemented to learn more about the distribution and abundance of turkey, deer, elk and other large animals. To account for potential animal population effects not due to trail effects and to help decipher ranges in variation (i.e., decrease in overall numbers due to harsh winter conditions), staff has established "control" plots on the Lindsay/Jeffco property, far from any trails. IVlonitoring will continue for four out of the next five years after trail construction and then twice more in the following fve years to measure wildlife community responses. In contrast to the sustainable recreation monitoring where thresholds and management responses were based upon trends as well as pre-existing standards and policy direction, no thresholds or standards are currently proposed for the wildlife monitoring component of EM/DD monitoring. Natural systems possess considerable inherent variation. Multiple seasons/years of wildlife monitoring may be required before any potential impacts can be identified. It may be necessary to analyze monitoring data over a period of time (i.e., not just current conditions) to establish an understanding of the range of inherent natural variation in indicators so that changes caused by manageable impacts can be addressed and an acceptable range of variation for wildlife effects established. Wildlife surveys may also provide information to determine the need for visitor restrictions or additional protections from recreational disturbance to protect specific occurrences of sensitive and rare wildlife. Examples include restricting access near raptor nests or turkey roosts and not allowing off-trail permits in parts of the HCA during certain time periods of elk use. Public Discussion on Trail Related Monitoring Comments were recorded from the public meeting and a post meeting comment period. Staff prepared a summary of the comments and staff responses (Attachment D). Comments included: 1. suggestions on ways to clarify the monitoring proposal, 2. suggestions on refinements to management actions, 3. additional indicators and thresholds to consider, and 4. thoughts on broader policy considerations underlying the monitoring. Staff will incorporate several suggested changes into the Sustainable Recreation Monitoring proposal based upon the public discussion and input. Examples of the changes include: ° minor adjustments to trail design as a trail modification would be considered in the least restrictive management responses for Spring Brook Loop conflict monitoring, ° the addition of directional travel as a least restrictive option for Spring Brook Loop conflict monitoring, ° modify the existing trail to include minor reroutes or spur trails to popular overlooks or resting spots as potential management responses for undesignated trail monitoring. AGENDA ITEM # PAGE 4 During the conversation on the wildlife monitoring program, several comments regarding the absence of acceptable ranges of variation for wildlife species and trail related vegetation monitoring were discussed. Appendix D includes staff's responses to these questions. Next Steps All pre-trail baseline wildlife monitoring has been completed. Staff is completing the baseline sustainable recreation monitoring necessary before Spring Brook Loop and Goshawk Ridge are opened for visitors. After the designation and opening of the new trails, monitoring will begin to collect information on visitor and resource conditions related to the new trails. Submitted by: Michael D. Patton, Director Eric Stone, Resource Systems Division Manager Steve Armstead, Visitor Master Plan Implementation Coordinator Mark Gershman, Environmental Planner Will Keeley, Wildlife Ecologist ATTACHMENTS: A: Eldorado 1Vlountain / Doudy Draw New Trails Map B: Sustainable Recreation Monitoring C: New Trail Related Wildlife Monitoring D: Public Comments and OSIVIP Response AGENDA ITEM # PAGE 5 ' Eldorado Mounfain/Doud Draw Trail Study Area y l= ~ ~ _ - ~ • • • • • ~ • • ~ • . • ~ f :TO~_ I OSMP Property whe@. ~ :.~~t• , , . - •t ~ ~ y-- ~ _ HabitalConservalionAreaBoundary .O~eSt~aa.- ~ ` , _ 'L . .~•,1 , 1 I . _ /l r OSMP - No public Access ~ ~ ~ ..':Mesa y r_ yy ~ / --f-~ Railroad 7At l nN~%+ ' ! ~ l Designated Trails tn.at~iR t r ; ' •-~~.~r, ~ ~ ~ ~ i '•rj~~ , , ts, , South~Mesa~TH' ~ ~ , Multi-Use _ •~l,A t~,i. ~r'~: , y. ~ r ~ - - . ~ / - i 1 ~ r HikinglEquesUian ® - '~s.~ w ~ J ,;C';~~ , t ~ w Non-OSMPTralls _ ~ •X. t~(~' Q ~ - ' ~ ~ - New Trails & Trail C 5' t'~" _Doudy ~ Z 7 hangesin2008 ri,,Ii., ' fi] ~ y ~;r; ring -.I Draw TH 1 . 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Z. / ~ ~ :.1 I ~A ` : Lit f~'+.( f1T` , '~~~t. ~ / `G ~ ~ ' fII i`~ 'rtiJ1~"~._ ~`••.+i:~4 ~.!L°3.e~~..+,it4~~• 'i'r ~f./~~ / / i~..7~ 'i i I Sustainable Recreation Monitoring Eldorado Mountain/Doudy Draw Trail Study Area Spring Brook/Goshawk Ridge Area ~~5"-'"' v/! October 7, 2x08 Z Working Together for Sustainable Recreation and Resource Protection on Spring Brook Laop and Goshawk Ridge Trails The fallowing document contains a suite of proposed trail and activity monitoring efforts associated with two new trails, Spring Brook Loop and Goshawk Ridge in the Eldorado Mountain /Doudy Draw Trail Study Area (EM/DD TSA}. The purpose of the monitoring work is to inform our adaptive management responses so that recreational opportunities can be maintained in the manner intended and natural resource protection goals achieved. The purpose of this document is to provide a framework for a community discussion on the monitoring to be carried out, expectations that determine desired conditions, and actions that OSMP will consider to maintain these desired conditions. To maintain a quality recreational opportunity for all activities and to reduce resource impacts, special on-trail regulations, activity specific restrictions, and trial periods for select activities were established on Spring Brook Loop and Goshawk Ridge Trail. Achieving the desire condition of sustainable recreation and resource protection requires that visitors comply with the recommendations, be mindful of impacts to resources and other visitor activities, and work with OSMP to reduce and mitigate problems. OSMP is responsible for working with the community and stakeholders to implement strategies that allow desired conditions to be maintained and when possible enhanced. The EM/DD TSA Plan states that OSMP will consider both restrictions to activities and modifications to trail design in response to unacceptable levels of regulatory compliance. OSMP will focus on strategies to accommodate the on-trail visitor activities specified in the plan. Proposed monitoring efforts include thresholds that would be used to trigger a set of "less restrictive" strategies. These include making modifications to trails, changes to signs and educational messages, increased enforcement, and even seasonal access restrictions. There may be cases however, where these approaches prove to not be effective and additional visitor access restrictions may be necessary. Collectively, these monitoring approaches will form the basis for decisions on visitor access restrictions. OSMP managers will consider the totality of the situation (e.g., compliance estimates, trail condition status, wildlife effects, and community input} when making decisions about restrictions to visitor access. Upon constructing and opening these trails, OSMP will work hard to promote sustainable recreation and protect the incredible natural resources of the area. Sustainable Recreation Monitoring o,,, Eldorado Mountain/Daudy Draw Trail Study Area a~:~; . Spring BrooklGoshawk Ridge Area October 7, 2008 Z~~ Proposed Sustainable Recreation Monitoring Projects Spring Brook Loop Trail 1. On-Trail Travel & Dog Regulation Monitoring -Ranger Patrol & Contact 2. On-Trail Travel Monitoring -Trail Segment Observation 3. Undesignated Trail Monitoring -Evaluation of Location, Condition and Extent 4. Dog Regulation Monitoring -Trait Segment Observation 5. Recreation Conflict Monitoring -Visitor Survey Goshawk Ridge Trail Sustainability of Equestrian Travel 1. Trail Condition Monitoring -Evaluation of Changes in Tread Width & Incision 2. Undesignated Trail Monitoring -Evaluation of Location, Condition and Extent Physical Sustainability of Segment Two 1. Trail Condition Monitoring -Trait Condition &Undesignated Trai! Development z Objective: Track the frequency with which rangers encounter visitors and dogs off-trail or out of compliance with area specific dog regulations. Concurrently, educate visitors about the resources and regulations in effect at Spring Brook Loop Trail and provide regulatory enforcement. Methods: Rangers will ~ _ _ , _ _ patrol the Spring Brook Loop Trail and tally ~ ~ - parties2 of cyclists, r j equestrians, and r~ ,,'r~ : - { pedestrians observed ~ ~ - r' on and off the trail. ~ ~ ~ .i - Rangers will also tally ' - ~ ~ - ~ 7- the number of do ~=rt~ T ~ ~ guardians observed .s '~~,~.•~ti s~ ~ and whether or not 'Y ~ ~~1 • • ~x - ~ ' they complied with the ~y 1. Y . r ~ ~ ~ f s~ specific dog regulations ~ - - ~ ~7 ` in effect. The ranger r. r~:~ on patrol will contact „5s ~ 'w .t, °x~ Y~'. cyclists, equestrians, ~ ~ , _ :is~ _ :K and dog guardians who -zµ ,"-~~x+~;~ k f -.'•~~`~';~t~` are out of compliance ~ ~ ,,~t~` ~ ~ ~;7rf,~~ with regulations to `ly gather information (e.g., reasons for going off trail, visitors' awareness of Spring-Brook Loop Trail regulations}. Rangers will also provide information about the resources OSMP is seeking to protect and the rules in effect to accomplish this and provide warnings and issue citations as appropriate. Rangers will report the percentage of visitor parties observed off- trail or out of compliance with monitored dog regulations to inform management decisions. ~ Off-trail means that all of a person's feet/tiorse's hooves/dog's feetlor bike's tires are off the trail tread. Exceptions to this definition are: a} A person leaving the trail tread yielding to another visitor b) A person leaving the trail tread to pass another visitor c) A person leaving the trail to avoid an isolated obstacle, where the person returns to the trail once past the obstacle d) A dog leaving the trail for fewer than 30 seconds and traveling no further than ten feet from the trail margin z A visitor party is defined as an individual or group of individuals who, in the opinion of the observer, appear to be visiting OSMP as one unique group. 3 Thresholds and Res onses for On-Trail Travel >_95% observed on-trail compliance of 1. Maintain or consider reducing levels of equestrian parties, bike parties, and parties outreach, education and patrol with dogs 2. Acknowledge/Thank visitors < 95°~ observed on-trail campliance of 3. Close and restore undesignated trails equestrian parties, bike parties, and parties 4. Changes in education, outreach, signs, or with dogs enforcement 5. Address maintenance concerns} an designated trails that have resulted in off- trailtravel 6. Create physical barriers to keep people an trail 7. Meet with stakeholders and implement strategies aimed at improving compliance 8. Seasonal ar temporary access restrictions OSMP would use values and trends of this 9. Prohibit off-trail travel by pedestrians indicator, along with those from trail segment 10. Disallow one or more activity groups on observation and undesignated trail monitoring Spring Brook Loop Trail to make determinations about prohibiting a particular activity Adopting regulations prohibiting specific activities would be considered after less restrictive strategies were demonstrated to be ineffective at achieving targeted compliance rates Thresholds and Res onses for Do s On-Leash ?90% of parties comply with on-leash 1. Maintain or consider reducing existing levels requirements of education, outreach and enforcement 2. Acknowledge/Thank visitors <90°~ of parties comply with an-leash 3. Changes in education, outreach, signs, ar requirements enforcement 4. Meet with stakeholders and implement strategies aimed at improving campliance OSMP would use values and trends of this 5. Disallow parties with dogs on the Spring indicator for on-leash compliance, along with Brook Loop Trail levels of on-leash compliance measured during trail segment observations to make determinations about prohibiting dogs Adopting regulations prohibiting dogs would be considered after less restrictive strategies were demonstrated to be ineffective at achieving targeted compliance rates 4 Considerations: • The potentially low numbers of equestrians and dogs may make it difficult or cost prohibitive to obtain desired sample size • Ranger presence may influence visitor behavior. Compliance is likely to change when rangers are absent or under reduced levels of patrol. 5 ~ ~ Objective: Locate, measure, and characterize the condition of undesignated trails near the Spring Brook Loop Trail. Methods: OSMP will document the location, length, condition class3, and discernable visitor activity on undesignated trails in a defined area around the Spring Brook Loop Trail. Undesignated trails include parallel trails, shortcutting of climbing turns and undesignated trails to new destinations. Photographs will also be used to document undesignated trail condition and any type of discernable visitor activity. Thresholds and Res onses Reduction in the extent of pre-existing 1. Close and restore any remaining undesignated trails undesignated trails and 2. Maintain or consider reducing levels of Conditions of pre-existing trails are less severe education, outreach and patrol and 3. AcknowledgelThankuisitors No new undesignated trails detected No reduction in the extent or condition of 4. Close and restore undesignated trails pre-existing undesignated trails 5. Change education, outreach, signs, or or enforcement Conditions of pre-existing trails more severe 6. Address maintenance concerns} on or designated trail that have resulted in off- New undesignated trails detected trail travel 7. Create physical barriers to keep people on trail 8. Meet with stakeholders and implement strategies aimed at improving compliance 9. Seasonal or temporary access restrictions OSMP would use values and trends of this 10. Prohibit off-trail travel by pedestrians indicator, along with those from trail segment 11. Disallow one or more activity groups on observation and ranger patrols to make the Spring Brook Loop Trail determinations about prohibiting a particular activity Adopting regulations prohibiting specific activities would be considered after the use of less restrictive strategies and clear indication of off-trail travel by a particular activity s As described in: Marion, J.L., Leung, Y., Nepal, S.K., 2006. Monitoring hail conditions: new methodological considerations. The George Wright Forum 23:36-29. 6 Considerations: • Clear evidence of undesignated trail use by a particular activity may be difficult to determine. Vllhen hoof prints, foot prints, bike tire treads, etc. are present, they suggest a visit by a person engaged in an activity; however other activities may have contributed to the establishment and impact of the trail. ~ ~ objective: Estimate the percentage of cyclists, equestrians, pedestrians, and dogs that remain on observed trail segments. Methods: Observers} stationed will document parties of cyclists, equestrians, pedestrians, and dogs staying on or leaving specific segments of the Spring Brook Loop Trail. Thresholds and Res onses ?95% on-trail compliance of equestrian parties, 1. Maintain or consider reducing existing cycling parties and parties with dogs levels of education, outreach and enforcement 2. Acknowledge/Thank visitors <95°~ on-trail compliance of equestrian parties, 3. Changes in education, outreach, signs, or cycling parties and parties with dogs enforcement 4. Address maintenance concerns} on designated trail that have resulted in off- trail travel 5. Create physical barriers to keep people on trail 6. Meet with stakeholders and implement strategies aimed at improving compliance 7. Seasonal ar temporary access restrictions OSMP will examine the rate of compliance and 8. Prohibit off-trail travel by pedestrians visitation levels observed from each activity, 9. Disallow one or more activity groups on along with data from ranger patrols and the Spring Brook Loap Trail undesignated trail monitoring to make determinations about prohibiting or restricting a particular activity Adapting regulations prohibiting specific activities would be considered after less restrictive strategies were demonstrated to be ineffective at achieving targeted compliance rates 8 Considerations • only a small fraction of a visitor's trip will be observed at each location. This method does not allow C?SMP to estimate the actual rates of compliance for visitors' trips through the Spring Braok Loop Trail. We can only derive an estimate for the portion of the trip that is observed • While the Visitor Master Plan {pg. 63) proposes a 95°Jo overall compliance with on-trail regulations, C?SMP cannot translate sample compliance rates to overall compliance rates. If the sample compliance rate is below 95%, then the trail-wide compliance is also below 95°l0. It is possible that the overall compliance may even be much lower than the rate observed at a small portion of the trail. ~ ~ Objective: Estimate the rate of dog guardians complying with regulations requiring dogs to be leashed or prohibiting dogs on observed segments of the Spring Brook Loop Trail. Methods: Observers} will document parties with dogs that are leashed or unleashed on monitored trail segments. They will also document parties with dogs that comply or do not comply with dog prohibitions on the southern segment of Spring Brook Loop Trail. The percentage of parties with dogs in compliance with leash and dogs-prohibited restrictions will be calculated and reported. Thresholds and Res onses ?90% of parties comply with on-leash 1. Maintain or consider reducing existing levels requirements of education, outreach and enforcement and 2. AcknowledgelThankvlsitors >_90°~ of parties comply with dog prohibition on the southern Spring Brook Loop Trail <90°/a of parties comply with on-leash 3. Changes in education, outreach, signs, or requirements; enforcement or 4. Meet with stakeholders and implement <90°!0 of parties comply with dog prohibition in strategies aimed at improving compliance southern Spring Brook Loap Trail OSMP would use values and trends of this 5. Disallow parties with dogs on the northern indicator for on-leash compliance, along with Spring Brook Loop Trail levels of on-leash compliance measured during ranger patrols to make determinations about prohibiting dogs. To make determinations about compliance with dog prohibited on the southern Spring Brook Loop, OSMP would only use values and trends of this indicator. Adopting regulations prohibiting dogs would be considered after less restrictive strategies were demonstrated to be ineffective at achieving targeted compliance rates 10 Considerations: • Since only a small fraction of dog guardians' trips will be observed, this method does not allow OSMP to estimate the actual on-leash compliance rates on the Spring Brook Loop Trail. OSMP will derive an estimate for the portion of the trip that is observed. That rate is probably lower than the actual rate of compliance for the entire trip. • The EM/DD TSA {pgs. 17 & 35} proposes a standard of 85-90°lo for compliance with on-leash dog regulations. OSMP cannot translate on-leash compliance rates for a portion of the trail to compliance rates for the entire trip along the trail; however if the compliance rate for a small portion of the trail is below 90%, then the trail-wide compliance is also below 90%. It is possible that the overall compliance may be much lower than the rate observed along a small portion of the trail. • The potentially low numbers of parties with dogs may make it difficult or cost prohibitive to obtain desired sample size. 11 ~ ~ • • • • ~ • Objective: Estimate the percentage of visitors who experience conflict arising from interactions with other visitors on the Spring Brook Loop Trail. Methods: Visitors exiting the Spring Brook Loop Trail will be asked to complete a questionnaire. Thresholds and Res onses . ~ <_20% of visitors report having ever experienced 1. Maintain or consider reducing existing levels conflict in the Spring Brook Loop Trail area of education, outreach and enforcement and 2. AcknowledgelThank visitars <_5% report having experienced conflict in the Spring Brook Loop Trail area on the day of the survey. >20°~ of visitors report having ever experienced 3. Changes in education, outreach, signs, or conflict in the Spring Brook Loop Trail area enforcement or 4. Meet with stakeholders and implement >5°lo report having experienced conflict in the strategies aimed at reducing conflict {e.g., Spring Brook Loap Trail area an the day of the bike patrol, dog walker patrol) survey. 5. Spatial or temporal activity separation 6. Construct trail modifications {e.g., obstacles to slow speed) Adapting regulations prohibiting specific 7. Disallow cyclists, equestrians, or dogs on activities would be considered after less the Spring Brook Loop Trail restrictive strategies were demonstrated to be ineffective at achieving targeted compliance rates Considerations: Changes in reported level of conflict after implementation of a management response may be due to a variety of demographic or activity level shifts rather than the effectiveness of management strategies. For example, the displacement of visitors (e.g., non-cyclists abandon the area because of high conflict with cyclists} could reduce conflict, but only as a result of an activity group avoiding the trail. • The potentially low number of equestrians and individuals with dogs on the trail may make it difficult or cost prohibitive to obtain desired sample sizes. 12 - . - ~ Objective: Estimate the change in tread width and incision on the Goshawk Ridge Trail. Methods: OSMP will measure tread width and tread incision at intervals along the trail. Any paint along the trail greater than 45 inches wide (not including constructed fords or switchbacks} will also be documented. Any point along the trail with tread incision five inches greater than the median baseline incision or any trail section with more than 10 feet of continuous tread incision at least two inches greater than the median baseline incision will also be documented. 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V~ L S i k'' 9411 ~ ~ t it; ~ ' ( ~ 'L 4 4 5y~+~y_ iQ ~ et a~~r - z ;t.~ Y~~i ~iti~yai :~~~e ~i ~~~i R'y~y~ ? `'t i Yf ~ ~ i v ot~~~ v t~t~ £"f`F ~ f ~.,j A ~ i.. a ~ \t ~ z~.. `4 \ 2.~. 4t tti V~fz +~~1 t 7;zk ~d 1 0 ~ f ti .t L ~t ~ 1~ irk ~ ~ \ t~ 6 z o- 3 I I • • e L, ~ z z ~ ee ~l~ Y a 7~f ti 1~- + xn~~~~gr~~~ ? r • ? {~'~y 13 Thresholds and Res onses The trail width is not more than 45 inches 1. Continue routine maintenance wide anywhere 2. AcknowledgelThankuisitors and The trail is not incised more than five inches from baseline median anywhere and No section of the trail 10 feet or longer is incised two inches or mare beyond baseline median and 25% of tread width sample points >30 inches and <25°~ of incision sample points incised two inches or more beyond baseline median Any point where the trail width is greater than 3. Immediately correct to trail design standard 45 inches {Class 2 Equestrian Trail) through or maintenance or minor trail adjustments Any point where the trail is incised more than five inches from baseline median or Any section of trail 10 feet ar longer incised two inches or more beyond baseline median Trail Width: >25°~ of sample paints >30 4. Correct to trail design standard {Class 2 inches Equestrian Trail) through maintenance or or minor trail adjustments Incision: >25°1° of sample points are incised 2 5. Add additional trail/drainage structures inches or more beyond baseline median 6. Changes in education, outreach, signs, or enforcement 7. Physical barrier/s to restrict widening 8. Meet with stakeholders to determine strategies to minimize tread incision and trail widening associated with visitor activity 9. Cover excess width with locally harvested organic material 10. Visitor activity restrictions {e.g., temporal closure) Clear indication of off-trail travel by 11. Disallow equestrians an the Goshawk Ridge equestrians Trail Prohibiting equestrian activities would be considered after less restrictive strategies were demonstrated to be ineffective at achieving targeted compliance rates 14 Considerations: • Monitoring does not include the provisional use of segments one {Gonda Mine Road) or tW04. • While OSMP may observe increases in tread width or incision, it may be difficult to determine that equestrian use is responsible for the observed change. Other visitors, wildlife, or other factors (e.g., weather, trail design elements, slope, and soil type} can affect tread width and incision. • OSMP's trail design specifications {trail classes and standards) are a credible first iteration of standards adapted from other land management agencies by OSMP staff. On the ground experience across the OSMP system, including the Goshawk Ridge Trail, will provide information about how and if OSMP's trail classes should be adjusted to address "real world" conditions. Far example, if monitoring consistently demonstrated trail widening and incision resulted from legitimate visitor activity, OSMP could respond in three ways. First, the department could attempt to maintain the trail to the original class by increasing the maintenance frequency. This is likely to be expensive, time-consuming, and potentially unsustainable. Another alternative would be to change the allowed activities, reducing them to those that would likely allow the original trail class to be sustainable without increasing maintenance. The third alternative is to change the trail class {and thus design} to accommodate the levels of allowed activities. a Segment two is the stretch of previously undesignated trail now incorporated into the trail. Segment two will be monitored through an already approved threshold and response framework. 15 • • ~ ~ Objective: Characterize the condition and extent of undesignated trails adjacent, parallel, or emanating from the Goshawk Ridge Trail. Methods: USMP will document the location, length, condition class (Marion et al., 20065), and discernable visitor activity on undesignated trails intersecting or parallel to the Goshawk Ridge Trail. Undesignated trails include parallel trails, shortcutting of climbing turns and undesignated trails to new destinations. Photography will be used to document undesignated trail condition and discernable visitor activity. Thresholds and Res onses . ~ Reduction in the extent of pre-existing 1. Close and restore remaining undesignated undesignated trails trails and 2. Maintain or consider reducing levels of Conditions of pre-existing trails less severe education, outreach and patrol and 3. Acknowledge/Thank visitors No new undesignated trails detected No reduction in the extent or condition of 4. Close and restore undesignated trails pre-existing undesignated trails 5. Changes irr education, outreach, signs, ar or enforcement Conditions of pre-existing trails mare se~dere 6. Strengthen "stay off undesignated trail" or message in off-trail permit guidelines New undesignated trails detected 7. Address maintenance cancern(s} on designated trail that have resulted in aff- trail travel 8. Create physical barriers to keep people on trail 9. Meet with stakeholders and implement strategies aimed at improving compliance 10. Re-route part of trail 11. Access restrictions (e.g., seasonal closure) Clear indication of off-trail travel by 12. Disallow equestrians on the Goshawk equestrians Ridge Trail Regulations prohibiting equestrian activities would be considered after less restrictive strategies were demonstrated to be ineffective at achieving targeted compliance rates $ Marion, J.L., Leung, Y., Nepal, S.K., 2006. Monitoring trail conditions: new methodological considerations. The George Wright Forum 23:36-49. 16 Cansideratians: • While OSMP may observe new undesignated trails, staff may not be able to determine that equestrian travel is responsible for the new trail or at what level and frequency of activity that changed occurred. Other visitors or wildlife can contribute/or cause new undesignated trail development. 17 • Objective: Estimate the change in tread width, tread incision, trail braiding, and undesignated trail development on Segment Two of the Goshawk Ridge Trail. OSMP will also track the number of structures {e.g. drainage bars, steps etc.) in place or recommended for improving the physical sustainability of the trail. Background: OSMP included a section of an undesignated trail into the alignment of the Goshawk Ridge Trail on a provisional basis. Although, this section will be subject to some initial maintenance and minor improvements prior to trail opening, it was not designed or constructed to OSMP trail standards as were other sections of the trail. OSMP is committed to early detection and correction of problems with the physical sustainability of this part of the trail. OSMPdeveloped asite-specific monitoring program for this purpose. Thresholds have been set for indicators that specify an acceptable amount of change. If the indicator falls outside the threshold, management options are identified to return the segment to acceptable conditions. Thresholds and management options have been developed for each indicator. By the end of 2010, staff will evaluate the physical condition of Segment Two, monitored natural resources, and visitation levels to determine if a different alignment is necessary. Methods: OSMP will measure tread characteristics at intervals along the trail. Tread width and trail braiding will be documented in linear length based upon the respective indicator standard and each trail braiding occurrence will be assigned a condition class. Any point along the trail with undesignated trail development will also be documented. OSMP will document the location, length, condition class {Marion et al., 20066}, of undesignated trails intersecting or parallel to the Goshawk Ridge Trail. Photography will be used to document undesignated trail condition and discernable visitor activity. OSMP will also keep track of the number of structures {e.g., drainage dips, water bars, or steps} constructed to support the physical sustainability of the trail, and the number of such structures recommended to address trail degradation. Monitoring will continue to determine the effectiveness of corrective actions. If over the long term, continued maintenance and new infrastructure fail to maintain indicators within the range of acceptability, a trail reroute will be considered for this section of trail. s Marion, J.L., Leung, Y., Nepal, S.K., 2006. Monitoring trail conditions: new methodological considerations. The George Wright Forum 23:36-29. 18 Thresholds and Res onses < or = 2.5ft None (acceptable} 2.5-aft De-berm trail tread, drain dips Trail Width >3ft, < 200 linear ft Add use of wood or rock water bars and risers >3ft, > 200 linear ft Re-route Condition Class 0 None (acceptable} Condition Class 1 Install drainage structure, temporary closure Presence of Condition Class 2-3, Install drainage structure, temporary closure Trail Braiding <100 linear ft Condition Class 2-3, Re-route >100 linear ft Trail Tread 0-2 inches De-berm trail tread and drain dips IncisionlDepth 3-7 inches Add use of rock or wood water bars > or = 8 inches Add use of risers no trails None (acceptable} Take action to close undesignated trails that is Number of 1-3 trails consistent with condition class, increase ranger Undesignated patrols, adjust number of off-trail permits Trails >3 Undesignated trails Re-route Presence of Condition Re-route Class 3 trail Undesignated Condition Class 0-1 Install closure sign Trail Condition Install closure sign, seeding {if needed) and Class Condition Class 2 matting, increase ranger patrol Condition Class 3 Re-route <30 structurest None {acceptable} Number of Segment 2 Structures > 30 structures/ Re-route Se ment 2 19 ~ =j~0 • • • • N _ -Designated Trails ' ~ Railroads • • oHabitat Conservation Area • ~ OSPAP Fropertv Eldorado State Park •••}.sr, ~ r• + ` ~ ~ ~ r- - ; ITT y,~,r ~ :+xi Y ~I { • 1 ~,t t ~ 7 0 ~~t t;fil~ • ' 7 Eldorado - - w ~ I \ ~ ~ ~ • r s~~~ Mountain HCA f~ :~f • 2 ~ ~ ~ ~ ,+'1 ~{~i~~;~,_. Y ~ , j •i ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ °/y±~~ t : .n .eye i~.j',~ ~ fS ~ 3 i.. ~ j 7f , - , rpr• . 1~ i ~ ~ ` . ~ O Mickey , ' . ~ ~`~tr• Mouse r. ~ 9~, r I r \ . Wall- E , •J.t~.,., r,.,,~ ~ ~ ~ ,l 5~ti t5 ~~.~(~Kw' ~,r'~i'~..l~l l ~ j ~`j t~?1•~Ct•': r~t~1U~ t.ti~ _ t; ~ 2:. f~ ~~~\~t_ ` ~e~y~ki,~,t•'i('t 4Lt `::r 7~'}~•('fv*s•`Yv'~ v~'• ~ z~~R~~.[• f . ,~~r` S`Y`1, a ~1 `a~~~ Qy '!t ..S`" ;-~!'~r~ :)~.}~Sh~t!Y~f 20 ATTACHMENT C ~ Open Space and Mountain Parks Visitor Master Plan o-'r EM/DD Trail Study Area ti ~~i ~ Wildlife Monitoring Projects 2008-2004 ~ Spring Brook Loop and Goshawk Ridge Trail 11/3tZ008 ~~Vildlife Monitoring in the EMtDD TSA for New Trails The Eldorado Mountain / Doudy Drav~r Trail Study Area plan specifically directs wildlife monitoring to: 1) collect more information to augment existing baseline data; 2) measure changes in tivildlife abundance and use patterns in response to new trail construction. As such, monitoring to assess the impacts of new trails on wildlife in this area began in July 2007. While some surveying efforts (e.g., ungulate bed mapping and turkey roost observations) continue, staff completed other surreys used to establish current condition (pre-trail development) in September 2008. These efforts included: bird surveys in Spring Brook and throughout the study area, pellet plots used to detect changes in deer, elk, and turkey abundance in the vicinity of new trails, and forest raptor surveys. Our future monitoring schedule to assess trail impacts in the TSA is set for years 1, 2, 3, 7, 10 post trail construction. Listed below are descriptions of the monitoring projects that will be continued in future years, their objectives, and a brief methodology. It is important to note that OSMP staff's tota12008 work effort on wildlife monitoring projects was approximately 220 person days. Objective: This sampling provides us vVith current condition (pre-trail development baseline data) on the amount of use of these areas by mule deer, elk and wild turkeys. Re-sampling these pellet plots (post-trail development) will provide an estimate of the effect these trails have on certain wildlife species as well as continue to help us understand wildlife use patterns (temporal and spatial) in the area. Methods: We randomly placed Sm radius circle plots in the vicinity of the Spring Brook Loop and Goshawk Ridge Trails to act as treatments as well as two "control" areas away from trails. Control plots will serve as inclicators of population level changes (i. e., not trail associated) such as disease and effects of weather and will be cleared simultaneously with treatment plots. Control samples are also invaluable in determining the natural variation inherent in wildlife use indices. Plots are cleared of all animal droppings. For each plot, staff records the species present, number of pellets and number of pellet groups (any group of pellets 5 pellets). These are the metrics of interest. We cleared 25 treatment and 25 control plots for Spring AGENDA ITEM PAGE ATTACHMENT C Brook Loop and 88 treatment and 25 control plots for Goshawk Ridge Trail. The increased number of treatment plots for Goshawk Ridge Trail will allow staff to estimate the distance of the trail effect on species' use of the area. Spring Brook Loop Trail pellet plot sampling schedule is between 3-9 months. Treatment and control plots were simultaneously cleared in 7/07, 10/07, and 7/08. Clearing events in 2009 are planned in 7/09 and 10/09. Goshawk Ridge Trail sampling schedule is ~10 months. Treatment and control plots were simultaneously cleared in 1 l;`07 and 9/08. Clearing events in 2009 are planned in 9/09. 2008 work effort = 56 person days 1 Objective: Augment existing data on local habitat preferences for ungulate (deer and elk} resting sites to inform future management decisions regarding trail placement, and to identify heavily used bedding sites in EM/DD TSA that can be monitored in the future for evidence of re-use after trail development. Methods: Staff located beds by walking line transects, spaced SOm apart. We collect site specific data on a subset of beds located, including but not limited to: current bed condition, canopy cover, habitat type (grassland or forest), bed aspect, nearest tree species, its distance to the bed, and its diameter at breast height. 2008 work effort = 1685 total beds mapped in El~~T/DD TSA: 900 with bed chaiactei•istic data collected. i i' i i i i ©bjective: Locate active turkey roosts, categorize user groups and monitor seasonal use of roosts before and after trail construction. Methods: We walked line transects 100m apart and identified potential sites that indicated signs of turkey use (scat, foraging areas). We also have located potential sites opportunistically as part of other projects (bed mapping, pellet plots). Once identified, roosts were observed during dawn or dusk. Local site characteristics will be measured and used for wild turkey preferred habitat modeling for West TSA planning purposes. 2008 work effort = 36 roost observations totaling 17 person days, 3 active roost sites identified in E1171DD TSA AGENDA ITEM PAGE ATTACHMENT C i ' ~ ~ ~ Objective: Locate occupied nest sites and collect nesting success and productivity data and monitor impact of increased visitor use on raptor behavior at occupied nest sites. Methods: For owl surveys, we sampled 11 stations three times each in suitable habitat by broadcasting calls of flammulated owls and great horned owls. For forest hawks, we censused the study area in 2007 by broadcasting raptor food-begging calls every 225 meters twice in forested habitat. We passively surveyed for northern goshawks in spring 2008 using dawn acoustical surveys (i. e., listening stations, no broadcasting). 2008 work effort ~ 28 person days; We identified one Cooper's hawk breeding territory, 2 great horned owl breeding territories and 1 long eared owl breeding territory, but no northern goshawk oi• flammulated owl breeding territories. Objective: Augment existing baseline data on forest and shrub-nesting songbirds in the area as well as monitor the impacts of new trails on these communities. Methods: Songbirds were passively surveyed using variable distance point counts (10 minute sampling period) at 341istening stations throughout study area. Each station was surveyed three times from mid May to mid July. Listening stations were spaced at least 200 meters apart to maximize sampling effort. Some stations were established far from trails to act as controls, similar to the design of pellet plots. 2008 work effort = 30 person days AGENDA ITEM PAGE w Open Space and Mountain Parks Visitor Master Plan a~ EM/DD Trail Study Area ~ Sustainable Recreation Monitoring Proposal oAr~. ; : ' Public Comments and OSMP Response W~ 11/3/2008 General Public Comment/Issue OSMP Res onse OSMP Trail Guide volunteers might be a Staff will investigate the need and feasibility of using OSMP volunteers, including Ti-ail valuable resource to assist in the collection of Guides, to conduct mor:itor•ing. monitoring data. OSMP often receives calls and entail messages describing the observations of community Boulder Mountain Bike Patrol also collects members and volunteers. Staff ntay use th1S ir1fOY)Ylatl011 t0 Znf01•nl deClSlOn-malang. data during regular volunteer patrols that ~ rna be useful for OSMP. How frequently will you monitor-is all this The Eldorado Motsntairz /Doudy DI•aw Trail Study Plan {EM/DD TSA) stated that staff n monitoring an on-going commitment lvould monitor up to two years to assess the effectiveness of on-trail and dog indefinitely? regulations, and to track the sustainability of equestrian travel on Goshawk Ridge Trail.. m y Decisions about the specific duration of monitoring will be based on the results of initial monitoring and the need to measllr•e the effectiveness of OSMP's responses. Monitoring d for undesigrtated trails and trail conditions will be incorporated into existing system- wide mortitor•irlg. Wildlife monitoring will occur over a longer- time frame (ilp to 10 years). Staff tit~ill regularly evaluate the monitor•zng results for evidence of the presence of sensitive species and habitats that would benefit from immediate protection (e.g., seasonal closures or off- trail erntit restrictions in areas around orest ra for nest sites). f :i ai S r'* 1 i I Public Comments OSMP Res onse Clarify that existing regulations will stay in The regulations described in the VMP and EM/DD TSA Plan will remain in place even if place even if we find acceptable levels of measured compliance levels ar•e above established tltr•esliolds compliance. Increasing enforcement was recommended as one of the least restrictive management Instead of restricting an activity, increase responses. enforcement of the rules ahead in lace. Thresholds may be wrong (too high, too low) Staffsought guidance from the Visitor Master Plan (VMP) and the EM/DD TSA Plan for setting proposed thresholds and believe the thresholds are consistent with direction from the As monitoring results or data come in, OSBT and City Council. consider integrating the data from various monitoring projects, including wildlife OSMP may consider revisions to the initial thresholds. Any changes to established thresholds monitoring, and adjust tluesholds as a would likely go through a public review and comment process. res onse. The current level of ranger staffing will not Two seasonal r•anger• positions Rave been added. They will focus on monitoring and be sufficient to make a significant presence patrolling these new trails. on the trails. The effect ofnon-compliance varies with OSMP is anticipating that the Spring Brook Loop will be a popular tail and rates of use will volume of visitor activity. A high rate of be significant. The monitoring will allow OSMP to develop compliance rates with specific non-compliance by a small number of people activity types and determine relative levels of trse by activity types may not be significant. Even low rates ofnon-compliant use can lead to resource impacts. The recreation ecology literature indicates that some of the most significant changes in resource condition result from cumulative effect of the initial disturbances. OSMP's experience is that visitation increases over time and even low rates ofnon-compliance by tlzose engaged in a pm-tictdar activity ar•e likely to lead to signi cant cumulative effects. Integrate wildlife and vegetation As infon•nnation.fi•om wildlife and vegetation monitoring becomes available, OSMP will use it ~ consideration into the decision making to select the most beneficial management response. rocess for the "most restrictive" o tions. See attached document: Trails Related Ve etation Monitorin i `L 3 Public Comments OSMP Res onse Why is Physical Sustainable monitoring not Ti•ail condition monitoring which assesses the physical condition of trails is condtccted on a being prescribed far the Spring Brook Loop? system-wide artd continuing basis. The new trails will be irtcorpor•ated into the on-going trail management fi•amewor•k that links monitoring results with the prioritization of trail maintenance. S rin Brook Loo Visitor Conflict Monitorin Public Comments 05MP Res onse Management responses should include Trail modification is included in the recorrtntertded least restrictive ntanagentent responses. modifications to trail design as they do for Staff will clarify that trail modifications includes minor adjustments to the trail design. the other monitoring projects. Staff designs and constructs mulh'ple use trails based on established trail standards for the Trails need to be designed to manage the user activity which has the most sig~tificant physical requirements (i.e vehicle access, horse, wheel group with the highest potential speed. chair). Staff also considers additional trail design features that help the trail fitnction well for• all activities occttr•rin on the trail. Consider directional use as a least restrictive Staff is considering this option. o tion even before o erring the trails. Temporal separation should be a "most Staff believes that temporal separation is an appropriate "less restrictive "response and can restrictive" response-avoids creating second be in:plemertted fairly. class citizens (bic clists . Include every activity (e.g., hiking) among While all activities m•e stcbject to being prohibited, the city has made a significant investment those that could be prohibited under the in the development of the Spring Brook Loop trail system. OSMP considers it in the interest of "most restrictive" management response. all visitors to seek strategies that allow continued multiple ttse of the loop. Survey data should be stratified by activity The visitor conflict survey results will report the degree of conjZict r•epor-ted for each activity tYPe• type. If a partictclar activity is causing visitor conflict above the tltresltold, then martagentent ' ~ actions will be directed to reduce the conflict associated with that partictclar activity. If visitors experience conflict above the threshold, but rto particular group is contributing above tl:e threshold, staff will wor•1t at lowering the conflict by working with all the activities involved in causin conflict. Displacement of users will go undetected The VMP and EM/DD Plan do not identify goals or thresholds for the relative composition of visitation by activity type at the trail, area or• system level. Establish a management goal that monitors the ro ortion of different activities OSMP is aware of dis lacentent as a otential r•oblent artd has included uestions about s~ R 5 Trails Related Vegetation Monitorin6 11/44/08 OSMP approaches vegetation monitoring at two spatial scales; site-specific and system- wide. OSMP is interested in the effects of new trail construction on vegetation. The department has two site-specific vegetation monitoring projects underway designed to improve our understanding of these effects. These projects are stafftime intensive and require long-term commitments. Consequently, OSMP establishes them very selectively. The EM,'DD TSA Plan did not propose site-specific trail-effect vegetation monitoring for the area west of Doudy Draw. OSMP also gathers system-wide baseline vegetation data to provide a better understanding of the distribution and abundance of plant associations and rare plant populations, and the conditionmostly weediness of these resources. This relatively inexpensive and comprehensive information helps staff place specific areas in context of their ecological importance and contribution to local and regional biodiversity and directs management action where it is most needed. Existin6 hIonitorvi6 and biventory uroiects that will help inform trails nlannin6: High Plains trail impact monitoring- This is asite-specific monitoring effort set up prior to the construction of the High Plains trail. The project monitors 54 transects and 21& subplots at varying distances from the trail tread. The goal of the monitoring is to track changes in vegetation cover and composition due to the trail itself. The monitoring was stratified to cover a variety of vegetation and patch types. Due to the variety of vegetation covered by this study the impacts can be extrapolated out and applied to other similar areas of the system. Hwy 93 to Flatirons Vista connector trail visitor impact monitoring- This site- specific monitoring project was contracted to Esco Associates from 2004-2007. It was designed to look at trail effects along the new Greenbelt connector trail. The study consisted of six transects at differing distances from the trail with the goal of measuring cover and composition of vegetation. The transects were placed in common vegetation types and the data can be extrapolated to other areas of the system. RAM weed mapping- The rapid assessment weed mapping project is based on a widely used protocol adopted from Utah State University. This is a system-wide effort to quickly and consistently map weed species across OSMP. In 2008 staff focused on areas of the mountain backdrop including parts of the EM/DD TSA, and also mapped all designated and high use undesignated trails in the West TSA. This mapping gives staff comprehensive baseline weed information as well as a way to track changes in weed density, patch size and species occurrence. The trails specific data will inform where weed populations are changing along trail corridors and be used to inform treatment planning. Rare plant inventor3~- DSI~•TP keeps asystem-wide database and GIS coverage of rare plant occurrences on the system. In 2007,staff began revisiting historic records and collecting data using a standard protocol for all occurrences. The goal is to revisit all populations of rare plants on a five-year cycle, adding new occurrences as they are discovered. For each occurrence record the species and location are recorded as well as information about the population size, habitat, and threats. Having a consistent inventory of rare plants allows C~SMP to track population trends and plan new trails and reroutes away from sensitive plant species. Undesignated trail closure monitoring- Social trail closure and restoration is often a regular part of new trail and reroute projects. The undesignated closure monitoring is designed to document restoration techniques, describe on-the-ground trail conditions, and track the success of management. Vegetation cover is one of the variables measured during this monitoring. Currently this monitoring is focused on the EM/DD area and covers a majority of the social trails in that TSA. Restoration work is ongoing and in conjunction with social trail mapping, vegetation staff will have data about how effective closures are and if and where new social trails are developing.