• View from the Canyon Rim Trail. Photo by Jeff Kochevar

    Colorado

    National Monument Colorado

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Research

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NPS/David Thoma

Inventory and Monitoring

Much like a physician needs to know 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.

The Northern Colorado Plateau Network http://science.nature.nps.gov/im/units/ncpn/ helps park managers to make science-based decisions. Field crews collect data on a suite of natural resources, and then ecologists analyze and synthesize that data into reports for park managers. To perform this long-term monitoring, the network relies on help from park staff as well as other federal and state agencies, non-profit organizations, and universities. The information collected can provide early warning of ecosystem changes, allowing park managers to develop mitigation measures and reduce management costs.

At Colorado NM, the network monitors air quality, climate, invasive exotic plants, land surface phenology, landbirds, and landscape dynamics.

Did You Know?

climbers on Independence Monument

Each Independence Day, local climbers scale the iconic Independence Monument in Colorado National Monument and raise an American flag on top. This tradition dates back to early park promoter John Otto, whose route up Independence Monument climbers still follow.