• Owachomo Bridge

    Natural Bridges

    National Monument Utah

Inventory & Monitoring

photo: Scorpionweed (Phacelia crenulata)
Scorpionweed (Phacelia crenulata)
NPS Photo by Neal Herbert
 
To make sound management decisions, park managers need to know how and why natural systems change over time, and what amount of change is normal. National Park Service scientists monitor the “vital signs” of national park ecosystems—much like a physician measures a patient’s heartbeat and blood pressure to determine well-being and help diagnose problems.

The Northern Colorado Plateau Network (NCPN), which is part of the National Park Service’s Inventory & Monitoring Program, collects long-term data on a variety of natural resources. Ecologists then organize, analyze, and synthesize those data and provide the results to park staff. The information collected can provide early warning of ecosystem changes, allowing park managers to develop mitigation measures and reduce management costs.

At Canyonlands National Park, the network monitors air quality, big rivers, climate, land surface phenology, landbirds, landscape dynamics, springs and seeps, uplands, and water quality. To complete its work, the network collaborates with—and relies on help from—park staff as well as staff from other federal and state agencies, non-profit organizations, and universities. To learn more, visit the network’s web site or review Annual Reports of this and other research here.

Did You Know?

Common Raven

The common raven displays abilities to play and problem-solve rare among animals. This member of the crow family is also very vocal, using a variety of sounds for communication. Perhaps because of these qualities, ravens have achieved a certain stature in both European and Native American folklore.