Inventory & Monitoring
Much like a physician monitors a patient’s heartbeat and blood pressure for diagnostic purposes, National Park Service officials need accurate information about the resources in their care. Specifically, they need to know how and why natural systems change over time, and what amount of change is normal, in order to make sound management decisions.
In 1998, Congress authorized and funded a new initiative designed to build a stronger scientific foundation for the management and protection of natural resources in parks and monuments across the country. As part of The Natural Resource Challenge, Canyonlands joined sixteen other parks on the Colorado Plateau where scientists are designing an integrated inventory and monitoring program. The first goal of the program is to verify records of what plants and animals exist in the parks. To accomplish this, teams of scientists and park biologists are conducting inventories of plants, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds.
The second phase of the program is the development of vital signs monitoring. Vital signs are measurable, early warning signals that indicate changes which could affect the long-term health of natural systems. Canyonlands, along with other network parks, is planning a program to monitor biological and physical resources like air quality, water quality, exotic species, soils, and threatened and endangered species.
For more information, visit the Inventory & Monitoring Program website.
Did You Know?
The dirt is alive! A living crust called "Biological Soil Crust" covers much of Canyonlands and the surrounding area. Composed of algae, lichens and bacteria, this crust provides a secure foundation for desert plants. Please stay on roads and trails to avoid trampling this important resource. More...