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DINO I The National Park Service (NPS) is seeking public input on a draft management plan to restrict or remove exotic Rocky Mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus, herein referred to as mountain goats) in Dinosaur National Monument, located in northwest Colorado and northeast Utah.
The first documented mountain goat sighting in Dinosaur National Monument was in June 2014 at the end of Harpers Corner Road near the Colorado-Utah line. It was spotted on several more occasions in this general area during the summer of 2014 and then again in June 2015.
The mountain goat is believed to have originated from Utah’s Leidy Peak herd, approximately 50 miles west of the monument. While native to the Northern Rockies, mountain goats were purposefully introduced into previously unoccupied mountain ranges for hunting and general recreation and enjoyment by Colorado and Utah state wildlife agencies.
Mountain goats are considered by NPS policy to be a non-native species and require proactive management action to protect sensitive and/or endemic plant and animal communities. The purpose of this process is to establish how Dinosaur National Monument will address mountain goats that are found within the monument boundary.
Dinosaur National Monument does not have alpine tundra or subalpine environments and there is no continuous corridor of terrain suitable for mountain goats to move into the monument from outside current herd locations. However, mountain goats do wander, particularly mountain goats from transplanted herds.
Although the risk may be small, mountain goats have the potential to transmit disease, such as pneumonia and Johne’s disease, to other native species such as native bighorn sheep, deer, pronghorn and elk.
Mountain goat dispersal and range expansion have created concerns for the National Park Service at Olympic, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Rocky Mountain National Parks, where mountain goats have traveled from introduced populations. Mountain goats are considered non-native/exotic at these parks also.
The National Park Service has developed procedures to remove mountain goats that include both live capture and lethal removal methods. Methods selected will depend on variables including the goat’s location, visitor and staff safety, risk of escape before capture, availability of a relocation site, and staff availability.
Comments can be submitted online at the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website at parkplanning.nps.gov/ dinomtngoat, or you may submit written comments by mail to: Natural Resource Specialist, Dinosaur NM, 4545 E. Highway 40, Dinosaur, CO 81610. Please provide all comments by March 9.