Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve

About the Park

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, located in south-central Idaho, is a vast ocean of lava flows with scattered islands of cinder cones and sagebrush.

Climate change presents significant risks and challenges to the National Park Service and specifically to Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. Scientists cannot predict with certainty the general severity of climate change nor its impacts but average global temperatures on the Earth’s surface have increased about 1.1°F since the late 19th century, and the 10 warmest years of the 20th century all occurred in the last 15 years.

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve

Across the western United States predicted climate change will have significant effects on natural ecosystems. At Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, increasing temperatures, and changing precipitation patterns may alter park ecosystems, changing both vegetation communities and habitats available for wildlife, as well as the experience of park visitors. Water supplies may be affected by reduced snow fall and earlier snow melt. The normal period of dry summer weather will likely extend longer and result in more frequent wildfires.

Several highly visible and ecologically important species of plants and animals at Craters of the Moon already exist on the edge of their range and could be reduced or extripated with rising temperatures. The American pika currently finds a refuge from high summer temperatures in the cracks and crevices among the lava flows. Winter snow cover also moderates the coldest winter temperatures. Whether this refuge will be sufficient to protect pika from hotter summer temperatures and reduced winter snow cover remains to be seen. Other species such as quaking aspen and limber pine could suffer more water stress as higher summer temperatures reduce the availability of water and increase their vulnerability to insects and disease. The wildlife that are dependent upon these plants, such as Clark’s nutcracker, would be reduced if limber pine decline.

This Action Plan identifies steps that the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve can undertake to reduce GHG emissions mitigate its impact on climate change.

Emissions Profile

GHG emissions result from the combustion of fossil fuels for transportation and energy (e.g., boilers, electricity generation), the decomposition of waste and other organic matter, and the volatilization or release of gases from various other sources (e.g., fertilizers and refrigerants).

In 2007, GHG emissions within Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve totaled 344 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E). This includes emissions from park and concessioner operations and visitor activities, including vehicle use within the park.

The largest emission sector for Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is transportation, totaling 189 MTCO2E . While the Preserve’s remote setting reduces the options available to reduce emissions in this sector it has recently invested in all-electric vehicles. When combined with electricity produced by the new photovoltaic solar panels, these vehicles are very close to zero emission. However, most transportation sector emissions (86%) come from sources other than park operations (mainly from visitors).

The graph below, taken from our Climate Action Plan, shows our baseline emissions in 2007 broken down into sectors, including visitor travel.

GHG Emissions

Goals

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve intends to:

  • Reduce GHG emissions from the park to 35% below 2007 levels by the year 2016 by implementing emission mitigation actions identified by the park.
  • Reduce park operations' energy use emissions to 40 percent below 2007 levels by 2016.
  • Reduce park operations' transportation emissions to 40 percent below 2007 levels by 2016.
  • Reduce park operations' waste emissions to 45 percent below 2007 levels by 2016 through waste diversion and reduction.
To read more about what we are doing at the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve about climate change, check out our Action Plan